Sunday, December 20, 2009

Things That Facilitate My Hyperorganization (aka Things I Use to Counteract My Poor Memory)

I looked at my desk the other night before I left school (I'm finally done for the semester--5 whole weeks of freedom!) and it was covered in lists and sticky notes for...everything. Refill the water pitcher sticky note, grocery list, packing list, to do list...etc etc. I went through a whole sticky note pad this semester. My memory is horrible, so my life pretty much runs on sticky notes, lists, and cell phone calendar reminders...

Things I Use to Counteract My Poor Memory
  1. Sticky notes: Best invention ever. They're all over my planner, desk, notebooks, everywhere. I have different sizes, colors and designs; I ran out of my blue pad of sticky notes with the letter "N" on them, and have now moved on to neon salmon (it's not exactly neon pink...). I also have one of those mini-post-it cubes.
  2. My hand: This was of more importance in high school when my individual days were more hectic, but I still use it to remind me of certain important things. In high school I tended to use it to remind me to talk to teachers, take books out of my locker, etc. The back of my hand was covered in pen every single day.
  3. Phone calendar reminders: I have so many reminders set that I keep having to go back and deleting old ones because my phone keeps running out of memory. I often have at least 2 a day--appointments, to-do's, everything.
  4. Planner: My school lifeline. Homework, due dates, exams, club meetings, Shabbat dinners. Frequently, I have these things written on sticky notes as well. And possibly on my phone calendar. And on my hand. I'm really forgetful.
  5. Tables and schedules I make in Word: For long-term to-do lists (like for long breaks), packing lists, and (more in high school) specific schedules, I make tables in Word. Seriously. This was my packing list for winter break. The things that look like bullet points are checkboxes...because I, of course, know those random tricks in Word. :)

  6. Folders: I have both real folders and ample on my computer. The real folders are pretty normal...plenty of students use folders to hold their school stuff, though I also keep lots of other random things in folders. I'm not quite as organized in that department as I wish I was. Honestly, the whole bottom drawer of my desk at school is filled with random papers I've thrown in there because I don't have enough folders. But I'm bringing folders back with me in January and I'm going to organize that drawer!
  7. Post-it tabs: I suppose I could have combined this with the rest of my post-its, but they serve a different purpose. These post-its mark things in books. Generally, I use them for school books for my comp lit/English classes always have tons of tabs sticking out of them. Too bad I don't have a picture of that. It's kind of funny. But it's very useful when it comes to writing essays.
So those are my main things. Anddd--here is a picture of my desk, just in case you didn't believe me:

Yeah. I'm that cool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Foods That Make My Whole Day Yummier

Last Sunday was a particularly yummy day because, not only did I get my regular giant pancake for brunch (and for the first time they weren't out of bananas to put in it!), but I got to make and eat crêpes AND I got free latkes and doughnuts (which, unfortunately, weren't very good...they were a bit hard. But it's the idea that counts). So in honor of that yumminess, here is a list of...

Foods That Make My Whole Day Yummier
  1. Pancakes: The giant pancakes in the dining hall are pretty good and definitely get props for being giant (and being on plates intended for Mongolian stir fry), but the hands-down best pancakes ever are my dad's. And to think, I used to not like pancakes! I don't really like syrup, so I tend to eat either chocolate chip pancakes, or pancakes with jam on them.
  2. Challah french toast: As you can see, I love breakfast foods. I eat breakfast at all times of the day. In fact, I have frequently eaten french toast for dinner. Challah french toast is the best of all french toasts; to me, there really is nothing else. When I was younger, I didn't even know there was such thing as non-Challah french toast. Made with regular sliced bread, it's flat and boring. Challah is fluffy and delicious. (Challah by itself is also quite superior to regular bread. I like Challah with melted cheese, cream cheese, honey...)
  3. Crêpes: Obviously I cannot leave out the crêpes (and yes, the circumflex on the e is a pain in the butt, but I speak French...). Crêpes are as yummy, if not sometimes yummier, than regular pancakes. I tend to put nutella and bananas in them, but they're also delicious with lemon and sugar. Making them thin enough is tricky; it took a couple years of French projects for my friend and I to be successful. (Oh, and if a certain guy who lives across the hall from me ever reads this, remember: crêpes are indeed French, not Greek.)
  4. Gummies and Starbursts: All right, done with the breakfast foods. Gummies are a staple in my diet. Gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy name it, I love it. Right now I have gummy Scooby Doos and Looney Tunes. Starbursts are also yummy. But I just finished my bag of them and will have to remember to buy another one at the beginning of next semester!
  5. Anything from Moosewood: Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY is the best best best restaurant. Every dish is delicious and vegetarian. I'm not too crazy about vegetables, but last time I was there I had a stew that had 3 different kinds of squash in it, and I still thought it was delicious. If you're ever in Ithaca, go. (That's an imperative.) If not, buy one of their cookbooks online. My family owns 3 of them.
  6. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and/or Fat Free Reddi-Whip: Hot chocolate makes every day warm and cozy. I go through tons of it when it's cold out. My hot chocolate is really not particularly flavorful because I normally make it with water, but then I pile on the marshmallows and whipped cream (5 calories/tablespoon...I don't care that it's completely fake; I inhale the stuff) and it's deeeelicious (hmm...need to find a new word).
  7. My dad's chocolate chip mini muffins: He sent me 2 bags of them for my birthday and my friend and I finished one of them in a week (we each had one a day...we didn't pig out on them). So yummy and well-proportioned.
  8. Thanksgiving sweet potatoes or candied yams: By "Thanksgiving sweet potatoes," I mean the kind with the marshmallows on top. As you can tell, I have quite the sweet tooth. It's unfortunate, but yummy (okay, I looked up synonyms for yummy/delicious and got: tasty, mouthwatering, scrumptious, delectable, luscious, and scrummy. So sugar is scrummy.) Pretty much the only thing I really love in our dining hall is their candied yams. They're sweet (of course), starchy (I'm a potato person in general), and pretty nutritious: yams are a good source of potassium, fiber, and various vitamins. And according to a website I found, they "contain folic acid and other B vitamins which help to detoxify estrogen," which is "especially beneficial in helping women improve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome." Good to know.
  9. Julie: Because she's starchy and scrummy as well, and filled with wise knowledge of the world.
I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. Had I written this post a few months ago, it would have included such foods as my dad's flank steak, filet mingon, and pulled bbq chicken. However, as of a little over a month ago, I am a vegetarian. I'll have to see how that goes over at home, where food is much tastier. In dining halls, it's all kind of gross, so it's more or less insignificant whether or not I'm eating meat. I did realize the other day, though, that Passover will be difficult, since I normally eat tons of meat at that time.

So, Bottom Line: Natanya is addicted to sugar. =/

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things I'm Glad I Brought With Me to College

After walking into a gross smelling bathroom yesterday, I realized how grateful I am for some of the little things I brought with me--both practical items, like my Febreze, and more sentimental objects, like pictures of my friends and family. So here we go, in no particular order:

Things I'm Glad I Brought With Me to College
  1. Febreze: Bathrooms are smelly.
  2. Clorox disinfecting wipes: At the beginning of the year, one of the guys across the hall kept using our toilet while drunk, and drunk guys evidently have very poor aim. The results were pretty gross. Fortunately, that stopped after a month or so.
  3. Earplugs: Dorms are notoriously loud, and mine particularly so. It doesn't help that I'm a light sleeper and have a roommate who goes to sleep anytime between 2:30 and 6am. Unfortunately, after a while earplugs become very uncomfortable, to the point of pain. But they were nice to have in the beginning.
  4. Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty (click!): This stuff is awesome. It's like silly putty, but in a larger quantity and more fun to play with. It's great for stress reduction, putty art, and making friends--if you play with it around people, they're bound to come over and ask what the heck you're doing. I brought one variety with me, Twilight (no relation to the books...), which changes from dark purple to light blue, and my dad sent me another for my birthday called Monster Mash, which is purple and sparkly and glows in the dark. I shouldn't be having this much fun with them, but I do. It's nice to feel like a kid again sometimes.
  5. Pictures of people I love: This is pretty much a given. College is a scary world. Sure, you make friends (hopefully), but there's a big difference between a friend you've known for 4 months and one you've known for 4 years. It's nice to have constant reminder that there are people back home who love you.
  6. Fleece throw blanket: Throw blankets serve many purposes. You can use them as an extra blanket if you're too cold at night (though in my case, it's the opposite--I boil at night), snuggle under them to watch a movie, or grab them while running out the door when the fire alarm goes off at 2am (because some idiot burnt popcorn).
  7. Stuffed animals: No one's too old for stuffed animals. Especially if you're used to having pets at home sleeping on your bed every night, you'll want some stuffed animals to at least remind you of your cat/dog/guinea pig back home, since most likely the only non-human beings allowed in your room are plants and fish (and, perhaps, mold). I'm not sure whether this applies to guys (I haven't seen any stuffed animals in their rooms), but I'm certainly glad I have them. My stuffed animals also have a lot of sentimental value: I've had my stuffed bear since I was 1, my sister made me a large stuffed cat (with different colored body parts to represent each of our 4 cats at home), my best friend made me a "lucky bunny," that same best friend sent me a stuffed animal version of her university's mascot, and I have a beanie baby frog to remind me of my (now deceased, but alive when I left him) African Dwarf Frog.
  8. My pop-bead necklace: This is one of those things entirely unique to me, but I'll try to broaden it to apply to other situations. Pop beads are little plastic beads that snap together and are typically used to make DNA strands in high school biology classes. I was pretty good friends with my 9th grade biology teacher, and he let me keep my necklace of pop beads. The story's more complicated than that, but I'll stop there. The moral: bring small items that bring back good memories.
Obviously there are a thousand more things I'm glad I have, but these are ones I could have forgotten but am glad I didn't. Feel free to let me know something I should have included. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A History of Listmaking

First off, I know "listmaking" should be a hyphenate ("list-making"), but in an effort to establish it as a real term, I am dropping the hyphen. This aggravates the grammar freak within me, but it makes life easier.

So, I don't actually know the history of listmaking. However, I do know that people have been making them for a very long time. Case in point: Sei Shonagan's Pillow Book, written during her time as court lady to Empress Teishi during the 990s and early 1000s in Heian Japan. Admittedly, I haven't actually read the whole book (blasphemy? Perhaps.), but I've read portions of it, as published in Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats. In fact, it was Ozeki's novel that gave me the idea of making this blog. Certainly, I've spent my whole life making lists and schedules for myself, but I figure spewing them out to the public will be a new challenge; a challenge to avoid making them boring and mundane. I'm not sure how well that will work out, but we'll see.

I suppose I should briefly introduce myself and my experience with listmaking. My name is Natanya, and I'm a college freshman (finishing up my first semester--I am in the midst of finals as I write this) planning to major in comparative literature and sociology (I really care about comp lit though; soc is more of an interest). As of now, I aspire to be either a lawyer (if I want to kill myself and possibly eventually like it) or a book editor (if I want to actually enjoy my job and not be tens of thousands of dollars in debt). But, given that I am just a freshman, I know this all could change. I consider myself very organized (at times hyper-organized), and make lists of practically everything I need to do. This is largely a result of my very poor memory--if I don't write something down, I'll never remember it. Even when I write things down I may forget to do them.

I love reading and analyzing literature (hence the comparative literature major). Lately I've spent a lot of time on the website goodreads. It's a great site. I often find myself surrounded with science majors, so it's nice to have a connection to the literature lovers of the world. I am also a Francophile, currently learning French and planning on studying abroad in France. I can't wait.

I could go on with more random things about myself, but if you're reading this (should anyone ever read this), you probably know me, so I will stop here. I can get a bit carried away when writing; I once wrote someone a 1200 word email.