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I need lists. I feel organized writing everything down in one place.

But looking at lists also gives me an incredible sense of dread- I never, ever get my to do list accomplished. Things will stay on my google task lists for months. And I see those tasks, everyday. It’s like they’re taunting me, saying “I’ll stay here forever! You’ll never finish me!”

There’s a nice sense of relief when I cross something off my list. But it’s overshadowed by everything else on the list.

Organization is necessary and hard for me. I get detracted by everything- twitter, email, facebook (omg- I haven’t looked at facebook in weeks) chats. I have yet to find a good organization method that works for me. I should spend time researching organization methods, but as soon as a have a few minutes to do something I decide other projects, like my web site, are more important to do right now.

Lists represent to me how unorganized things in my life are. They sit there, all filled out and ready to go, but nothing happens. And I’m constantly thinking about new things that should go on my list so I don’t forget to do them. But inevitably I’m driving or doing something else that prevents me from from writing them down. And then I forget. I’ll remember later that there was something I needed to add to the list, but I can’t remember what it was. Remembering there was something you needed to remember, but not what it is, is frustrating.

It’s just like the pile of mail that sits on my coffee table. I get the mail every few days, sort through the junk and open everything up. Then I put the non-junk mail in two piles: things that are interesting (like magazines) and things I need to take care of (like a bill from my doctor).

And then I put the two piles on the coffee table, on top of piles from previous days and weeks. I tell myself I’ll take care of the take-care-of pile as soon as I have a few free minutes. But then as soon as I do, the pile looks to big and overwhelming and full of things I don’t want to deal with, and I decide I should do something else. And then I get lost in twitter, because that’s easier than dealing with the mail and closer than the other thing I decided to do instead.

There are things I want to do everyday. I feel like I should do them. That I’ll be a more well-rounded, sane and relaxed person if I do. And I think if I were organized and motivated enough, they’d be no problem to accomplish everyday.
– get up early. like 6:30.
– work out
– do yoga
– read the news. Really read the news.
– cook
– learn something new in CS4
– write
– apply for jobs.
– read something for fun
– sing

So you can imagine the stress I put on myself when I don;t do these things. Which is practically never.

If I could find a way to organize my self, my thoughts and my priority list, I could get rid of this extra stress. Which no one needs.

Valley Metro’s new surface-street train system, Light Rail, spent quite a bit of time and design on adding PSAs to all of its stations and trains. 

Yet in the short month I’ve been riding, I’ve seen just about every single one broken. 

“Smoking and eating are prohibited. Beverages must be in an unbreakable, spill-proof container.” I’ve seen handfulls of people eating snacky food and drinking out of unapproved to-go coffee cups. And while I  haven’t actually come across anyone smoking on the train, there’s always those ridiculously addicted few who exhale on the train, and keep a hold on the snubbed cigarette until they can light up once they get off the train. Gross. 

“Please give up priority seats to the elderly and disabled.” It’s disgusting to see this one broken. If I notice someone older, handicapped, or pregnant without a seat, I’ll give up mine. I’m young and healthy- no harm in me standing. (Which I really, really wanted to say to a group of middle aged overly made-up Mary Kay conventionees who didn’t get up for a pregnant mom with a stroller: “No no, I’ll stand. I’m obviously young enough.”) 

“Soliciting is prohibited. Take note all you creepy creepers out there- this includes talking to women who DO NOT want to talk to you. 

“Do not hold reserve spots by placing parcels on seats.” Ok, guilty of this one. Sometimes it’s your only line of defense between you and said creeper who wants to sit next to you.  

BUT, the single most ridiculous case of this being broken happened just yesterday (and probably spurred the writing of this blog): one old man and his bike successfully held up five seats during the rush hour commute from downtown Phoenix to Tempe. Not only did he not have his bike in the main car instead of the bike rack, he had it leaning against three fold-down seats. He himself sat on the edge of a two-seat bench, blocking anyone from sitting next to him (although even if the seat were open, I would have remained standing- upon closer inspection, it was quite clear that he simply wasn’t right in the head). So, five seats, one man + bike, lots of people standing. I mean, seriously? 

(Although, personal confession: partially what annoys me so much about this particular experience is that I did not, or anyone else, tell him that there was in fact a spot on the train for his bike. Maybe he just adidn’t know.)

And my favorite: “Please allow passengers to exit before boarding.” It would be great, borderline fantastic, if this guideline were followed. But instead, every time the doors open to a busy platform there’s a few awkward moments of riders attempting to exit but are blocked by those trying to enter. I see the same thing on elevators every day. It’s comical that the entrants look at the exiters in a bizarre mess of confusion: “Why are they in my way? I’m trying to get on the train!” And it can be frustrating: you stand at the door of the train, waiting to leave, and when the doors open the newbies won’t wait for you to get out of the train. Oi. 

What Light Rail attempted to do with the PSAs was provide basic decency standards for riding the trains. Unfortunately, so many people apparently lack in their own lives even a modest understanding of decency when interacting with other human beings that it doesn’t matter how often the Light Rail makes their intentions known- some people are just too obtuse. 

I was live-blogging all election night- check it out at http://livelect.wordpress.com/.

Last semester I was managing editor for a magazine called Healing, a new publication to be collaborated on by students and faculty from the College of Design, Journalism, and Nursing departments.

It was my first experience creating a magazine, and I loved it.

(To see an online version of the biofeedback story, click here.)

 

Photo by Michelle Smythe

Photo by Michelle Smythe

I wrote two stories for Healing– one on a new biofeedback procedure ASU is developing to help stroke patients, and a long feature that looked at the increase of natural healing practices patients and doctors have begun turning to. The part I was looking forward to most was to have the magazine published. The though of seeing my name and work in print, and have two pieces for my portfolio, was exciting.

The magazine was supposed to be printed this past spring, but a series of unfortunate events have caused delays, and now massive budget cuts in the school have forced the magazine to be reduced in pages. Ergo, I do not yet have links for the full mag and my two pieces.

Sometime in November I should be able to post my pieces and have published copies.  Here’s hoping.