Category Archives: Organization

Where I’ve Been : Part 1

I made a mistake.

I should have been writing about my last few months.  It’s only now, coming out on the other side that I realize this mistake.  I guess that’s how mistakes work, right?  Maybe that’s just called wisdom?

Shortly after putting out my RPG ruleset in the last post, I had a flare up concerning my Post Concussive Syndrome.  The key point being it did not involve any kind of physical impact.  Instead, it involved a nasty combination of lack of sleep, stress and a cognition exercise.  One minute I was taking a cognition test to help out a graduate student in my department and the next I’m headed home with a massive migraine and concussion symptoms.  Once home, I slept for ten hours and felt marginally better afterwards.  It took days to really come all the way out of it.

post-concussion-300x300Needless to say, there was concern and so after consulting my doctor I was referred to a neurologist for the first time in over 12 years.  The referral took a long time and in that time there was a lot of other stressors, a battle with depression and, it so happened, a lot of other medical visits.  (I’d not had a primary care physician in a LONG time.)  With those weeks and months behind me, I can say I know exactly where my personal health stands (and then some!)  On top of that there was the constant barrage of work and family and this constant concern and stress that cognitively, I was getting worse.

Why I didn’t set myself down to write about this as I was going through it, I have no idea.  Maybe I was worried I would sound too whiny?   It could have also been the depression.  The sense that no one really cares anyway so why right about it?  (More on this in future posts, I hope.)  I’m not really sure why.  I just didn’t “feel” it and I didn’t feel like forcing myself.  Looking back, I realize I should have forced myself.  Remember, it’s only called wisdom if you learn from your mistakes!

The neurologist visit came along in early July.  It was actually a pretty simple visit.  No imaging needed.  After hearing my story and my history my doctor looked at me for a quiet second and said, “Alright, we’re going to have a long talk about this.”

“First of all, you have Post Concussive Syndrome.  It’s chronic.  It’s not going away and it’s not going to get better.  The problem is you know all of this but you’re not taking steps to take care of it.”  He assured me that my event in May was normal for an individual with PCS, mainly due to the lack of sleep prior to the event.  He asked if I thought I had migraines.  I played it off, he called me on it and I had to admit, “Yeah, I guess I’m having migraines.”

We talked about depression, anxiety, feeling exhausted at the end of the day, concern over waning executive  functions.  In the end, he made me feel better.  He also helped me get focused on the fact that I need to, immediately, begin taking care of it.  I have to simply face the fact and the truth that I have this issue.  It was likened to someone having a chronically sprained ankle and saying, “Oh, I can keep running.  It’s fine…” We talked strategies and I walked out of the office in a turbulent mix of “Whew, not as bad as I thought,” and “Crap, I really DO have a disability.”

This took me weeks to process.  One of the first things he recommended was quitting caffeine.  More on this later but I did it.  Make no mistake, it was hell.  However, last Friday was the first time in over 25 years I had awoken, felt good and didn’t have a craving for coffee.  I’ve also been following the holy triad of PCS; sleep, hydration and moderate exercise.  It’s taken weeks but I’m actually starting to notice a significant difference.

With all of this has been a slow and steady building of the desire to write again.  But it wasn’t quite time yet.  I kept thinking it was time but my digital trashcan was being continually filled up with rough drafts and half-baked ideas.  It was close but not yet.

There were a few more things I had to do first.

(To be continued)


Bullet Journals, Life and Me

What follows is a lengthy response to the question, “Why do I bullet journal?”  When I started this post I was assuming it would be about 200 words; nice and neat. As it sometimes happens when you journal it turned into something a bit more.  It became about my journey and about where I am now.

If you really don’t want to hear about the details, I’ll give you the quick version and you can keep moving.  Ready?

I bullet journal to keep my damaged brain working the way I want it to work.

There ya go.  Nothing more to read here!  Move along..

If you’d like to hear more then the path lies directly ahead.  😀

Read the rest of this entry

Bullet Journal – Monthly Setup

Remember that post a few weeks ago where I said my subjects were going to be a bit random? You do? Oh, good!

I’ve been working with organizational systems for almost ten years now.   I’ve been through a ton of them!  It’s been a quest of mine to find one flexible enough to work for all the different things I need, both with varied projects I work with and some of the struggles I have with my TBIs (traumatic brain injuries.)  I’ve found something which is working quite well and it’s called a Bullet Journal.

I’m writing up a longer post that goes into more detail as to the TBIs, other issues and why I Bullet Journal. However, that post has managed to be quite revealing, personal as well as cathartic and, of course, taking a bit more time than I thought it would. As part of it, I wanted to include my monthly bullet journal organization for March and talk a bit more about my current process. Time has once again slid by, it’s the first of March, and, instead of waiting, I’ve decided to just make two posts.

For now, here is my March monthly spread and some of the other pages that make up what I do each month.  I’ve picked all of these up from looking over Instagram, Facebook, blogs and websites.  I’ll put a few at the bottom of the post and a larger list on the other post coming out soon.

For each month, a regular bullet journal will have simply the page on the left for the calendar items, dates indexed down the left hand side. What I found, however, is that I needed to widen things out and create a separate spread for my work dates. After some playing around I opted to go this route to see how it works out. This way, when planning, I have my personal dates as well as my work dates all in one glance.

You could easily switch out something else for “Work” to adapt the system if you needed a secondary calendar of any sort. In addition, on the far right, I put a section for “future stuff” that might come up for April or May as well as general goals I might have for the month itself. The Future Items may be too small but we’ll see how it goes.

gratitudeNext up is something I began last month as a test and it has become a major player for daily improvement.  To be honest, I wasn’t quite ready for the subtle impact it would have on me.  The Gratitude Journal has two lines for each day which are filled out, hopefully, at the end of the day.  Gratitude journals sometimes have three, others have five.  Two seemed to be a perfect number for me and so I adopted it here.

Sitting down to focus on two things in gratitude from the day has helped me to shift a mindset that’s been stuck for several decades.  Some days I forget but when I go to do my daily review in the morning, I always go back and fill in the gap.  This takes no more than five minutes and the mental/emotional rewards are worth every second.

memoriesFinally, another investment I started near the end of February; a memories page.  Again, this was something I did as a test and within a week realized I loved it.  At the end of February I was quite pleased with my little page that summed up all the fun, memorable things which occurred during the month.  It also gives me a chance to make doodles, sketches and to flex my creative muscles a bit.

So, I’ve added it as well for March.

The rest of the journal is either old or new collections (pages marked specifically for different subjects or projects) or my daily pages which list what was needed to be done, what got done and other things about the day I might want to remember.

More to come and the larger bullet journal post is right around the corner!


There are a TON of resources, articles, images, Pins on Pinterest, etc if you want to spend numerous hours digesting all the ways you can modify the bullet journal.  Below is a handful, in my opinion, of the best!


Goals for 2013

Yeah, yeah, I’m behind on my resolutions.  As mentioned previously, the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 was not “normal” for us at the Yoteden.  Between a new job, holidays, blizzards, a funeral and rampaging flu I’ve been a bit busy.  What this means is that although I had time to think about my goals and resolutions I just didn’t have the time to get them written.  I’d like to correct it with this post.

So, below, I’ve listed a few things that have been on my mind and that I would like to pursue in the coming year.  This is not all of them but it does include the ones which seem to be front-loaded in my memory.

And to think, some actually have something to do with this blog!

Goals for 2013

  • Write at least a post a week on Yoteden.  Whether it be about gaming, family or nature, I plan to get in at least one good post a week.  I would like to do more but I also want to be realistic.
  • More physically fit.  Finish up my 100 pushups challenge and then completing the 100 sit-up challenge while restarting the 100 pushups challenge.  Wash/Rinse/Repeat
  • Start a sandbox solo RPG game world which I will feature here.
  • Start putting up more gaming posts featuring NPCs, Gaming aids and other related material for gaming.
  • More hiking.  More camping. More fishing –> with the kids.
  • At least three no-frills, light gear only, hikes/camp outs.
  • Be successful in lighting a bow drill fire from hand gathered materials.  (I have come SO close lately.)
  • Forage, build and use successfully a primitive fishing set from bush materials.
  • Pursue a historical project that I’ve been thinking about for the past year or so.  It will be featured here on the blog.
  • Write more fiction and get at least four items (short stories, more likely) submitted.
  • Work towards getting a better digital recorder for audio sessions.
  • Have my demo reel for audio work done by late summer.
  • Attend at least three training sessions for my new job and read at least 6 books on the subject.

One caveat to all of this.  I’m currently up in the middle of the night recovering from said rampaging flu.  I may look at this tomorrow morning and laugh and laugh.   Regardless, I’m going to be brave and put it up here for all to see.

Wrapping up 2012

You know, for a year toted as the “end of the world” this year actually turned out to be, overall, pretty good.  Usually I join in the overall chorus of “good riddance” at the end of things but this time, for me, I don’t think I can do it.  2012 will be one of those years I look back at with a fond memory.  I guess it’s because the year started out pretty rough for me and then sometime around late summer it started a slow, spiraling climb into the good stuff.  It was hard to tell at first but it was certainly happening.

The downside to all of this is that 2012, as good as it was, really did NOT stick the landing.  In the final days of the year my wife (and I) have been dealing with the loss of her father who passed last weekend after a long battle in the  hospital.  The final weeks of the year have proven to be a real test and a final, cold lesson about what is truly important in all of our lives.

This New Year’s Eve is being spent quietly at home, by holiday lights and in the warmth of a wood stove.  We’re watching movies, eating chili and Christmas candy and simply being with the ones we love.  We’re watching two movies tonight in my father-in-law’s honor which, funny enough, are also some of my favorites as well – The Quiet Man and the more recent True Grit.  At midnight we will run out into the snow, scream at the sky and bang on pots and pans to scare any evil spirits away before the new year begins.  We’ll also do it because it’s fun.

Even with the present sadness I’m having a hard time cursing the year.  Even my wife said earlier this evening, “No, overall, it was a pretty good year.”  Amazing words considering what she has been dealing with the last weeks of this year.

The year started out with me finally attaining my dream of getting my college diploma.  I was still unemployed though and my family and I were in rough financial shape.  It has ended with me employed because of that very diploma and hopefully, over the course of the next several years, being able to dig out of the financial hole we have found ourselves within.  There were other things as well.

I started this blog.  I carved out a short story.  I got a larger piece outlined and ready to start.   I managed to go to the NATF festival and meet some incredible people.  I cheered my wife on as she too finally achieved her dream of a college degree.  I also worked closely with her on an art exhibit, conducting interviews, and creating an audio landscape as a background to the art.  We moved out of the apartment which was draining us financially and by the grace of the Universe found an amazing rental in the country.  My children are healthy, intelligent and make me laugh every day.  Right now, writing this, there is so much I’m deeply and truly thankful for it’s hard to stay too focused on the sadness.  It’s been more than enough.

Life and family and friends are precious.  Hold them close.  Hold them dear.  Ultimately, it is all you will ever truly own.

May your evening this evening be wonderful, amazing and filled with all the love and companionship your heart can hold.

2013, here we come.