Author: jessimatts

Weekend Reflections: where I’m at in terms of my new twelve month plans.

**Disclaimer** I am not in the healthcare profession, if you are in need of medical (or mental) help—please see a licensed healthcare professional. The following are just my thoughts, feelings, and ways I think I can deal with my issues. Again—if you have issues, please see a licensed healthcare professional**.

Spent part of the weekend doing some serious reflection, and have come to the realization of several things:

            I need to get better at time management (especially on the weekends, when I really don’t have my day structured that much). I realize that I could have the traffic coming to the blog higher, if I actually got posts written and posted on a regular schedule—instead of the semi-regular, sporadic schedule I’ve been doing.

            Also having better time management, means that I could probably also be looking at different career tracks that are in the free-lancing and consulting areas (instead of looking for the just general nine-to-five jobs).

            I would also have the time to dedicate to crafts and other projects or things I want to get accomplished.

            I have also become my own worse enemy in terms of getting into the best shape of my life. I have allowed myself to use just about any excuse for not doing my workouts in the evenings, and before anyone comments that I could be doing them in the mornings—right now I’m barely getting my seven and a half hours of sleep, and therefore I’m not sacrificing that just to get a workout in first thing in the morning.

            This one is also tied into the time management need as well—there are only so many hours in the evening before heading to bed, that I probably could be making better use of them, then how I’ve been using them.

            I also need to find better ways of dealing with my stress and anxiety. I have found myself going to the little market on campus and buying several different sweets and candy bars (that will either last me the day, or a couple of days depending on my stress/anxiety levels).

            The stress and anxiety have been issues that I really should have been dealing with years ago. I have a pretty good idea where a lot of my anxiety issues (tests, driving, and to some extent social) have come from (childhood can suck at times), and the stress is due in part to internalizing how I feel instead of just letting it out (probably would have had more issues in school if I vocalized how I felt at times). So those two issues have probably lead to some health issues (indigestion and upset stomach) that I also need to find better ways of dealing with (then taking over the counter medications and trying to ignore them).

So how can I start to address and manage these issues (I won’t say overcome and get rid of—because I know that having that mindset can set me up for failure)?

In terms of time management—I need to ask myself what tasks/items am I doing (or can I be doing) that are (or can be considered) beneficial for the future me.

Also I probably should look into the different apps/web pages that allow you to block certain pages to help increase productivity (I know that I do spend way to much time on social media).

Also I should ask myself—what tasks am I doing during the day at work that are actually going to be helping me move forward (and not actually helping move someone else forward). This might be a little more problematic, as I’m sure that there are at least one or two people that won’t be happy if I start to figure out other things to do that I deem more important then they do. In other words—I really need to start working on my individualized development plan (or my reboot break/transition plan).

In terms of getting back on track in terms of fitness and nutrition—there are several things that I can do:

            Have my bedroom clean and the workout equipment off to the side. That way once I’m done with a few evening chores, I can put on my workout clothes, stream the workout program and get it done.

            Not compare myself to others. This has been a hard one for me (especially the last few years that I’ve gained the weight back and the negative mind set).

            If I need to take a walk at lunch (due to stress or anxiety), I will try to have my small digital camera on me so that I can practice my photography skills (instead of going to spend money on candy).

            Also when needed—take my journal and go for a walk; then find a quiet area where I can sit and reflect on what is potentially causing my anxiety or stress to occur. Sit and try to write for at least five to ten minutes and then head back to the lab. Hopefully this will help me get a handle on the stress and anxiety.

            Get back into the habit of trying to mediate for at least three to five minutes every night before reading.

            Try to pack my shakeology (and supplements) to take to work and have it as either part of lunch or a snack. This will help me work back up to having it as part of breakfast.

So I know what I need to do in order to get myself back on the correct trail—patch some things that weren’t working, and rework some other things. I’m now going to picture my journey moving forward in one of two ways: I’m hiking and I will need to look for things to help me on my way; or I’m on a boat at sea, and I need to find unique ways of patching little holes in the boat to ensure that I can make it to the next island/land formation.

No Comments fitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentspirituality

Photography Challenge Day 92: The backside of a rodent

Well, today’s post is going to be slightly on the short side–only because it is difficult to try to determine what type of mouse (or possibly rat) I saw from the back end.

I think I spotted a mouse…..

So while I was on my walk yesterday, I heard something rustling in the grass off to the side. I decided that I would wait and peek through the grass to see if I could spot anything.

I managed to get the back end of a smallish rodent. I’m going to say some type of large mouse, as I’m not sure if rats have the brownish streaks to them that I saw. I know that there are field mice up at Boomer Lake–I’ve seen them, but the problem has always been that means they’ve seen me and run into the brush before I can get a picture of them.

So this is another mini-goal added to my summer photography plans: try to get a good picture of some of the rodents that call Boomer Lake home.

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Photography Challenge Day 91: Random butterflies and moths

So today’s photographs are of some of the butterflies and moths that I was able to get today on my walk at Boomer Lake.

Well, you can tell it’s a butterfly……

So the first one I think is the state butterfly of Oklahoma: the black swallowtail butterfly. I think it is almost ironic, that both the state bird and state butterfly are only found in the state during a certain number of months. They’re both migratory species, that spend the spring through fall months in state.

I would have loved to get a closer picture–but it was flying through the trees and bushes a little too fast–and since it had just rained I didn’t want to be trudging through mud either. So hopefully sometime this summer I can get a good picture of one.

Yellow and black moth on the honeysuckle

Then as I was looking around to see if any of the rabbits were out and about, I noticed this little guy on the honeysuckle. I know its coloring–it was yellow and black, but I wasn’t able to get a closer picture (and by the time I pulled out my phone it flew off). It’s funny that when you google “yellow and black moths in Oklahoma”–over eighty percent of the pictures you get back are of butterflies. So it may take me all summer to try and figure out what species of moth this is.

Little blue butterfly

Then I saw this little light blue butterfly on the other side of the lake. This was about as close as I could get in terms of taking a picture and it having its wings open. I do know that it was a light blue in color, and there might have been a little black as well. I may actually spend a little longer time at the lake one day just trying to get some good butterfly and moth pictures.

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Photography Challenge Day 90: Two Sparrows at the lake

So today’s winner for the photography challenge were the two sparrows that I managed to get a picture of two weeks ago on an afternoon walk.

One sparrow decided it didn’t want to sit for the photo shoot.

Unfortunately, I can’t really tell which type of sparrow these two are. I know that there are several different types that call Stillwater home during spring to fall months, but I’ve never really been good at telling them apart.

It is even more difficult to tell them apart when you’re looking at their back ends (as the most distinguished marking are usually on the front & head). I do know that the sparrows like to sit and fly through the tall grasses and bushes along the edge of the lake, so hopefully this summer I will be able to get some other pictures and maybe even determine which sparrow species I’ve been photographing lately.

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May Full Moon Goals: The actual Scorpio Full Moon

So today marks the full moon for May, and it is actually passing through the Scorpio constellation. So I guess that I will be doing a double Scorpio goal period (since that is how I treated last month).

The questions that I would need to be answering are the same ones that I answered last month, but I think that my answers now are actually slightly different from what I had written last month.

So looking at the book “Moonlogy: Working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, for questions that one should be asking themselves during this time the questions would include:

Have I been jealous, vengeful, suspicious, or otherwise behaved toxically?

Have I been living out of fear rather than joy?

Have I been brooding and dark: focusing on the negative rather than the positive?

Have I been cruel or cunning?

Am I having the sex I need to feel good about myself? (Of course, some people need no sex at all!)

If I were to number the questions one to five, my answers would be:

  1. This depends on what how one defines toxic—towards other people or toward oneself. I don’t think that I’ve been acting toxically towards other people—I try to be polite and cordial at work and at home (yes, I probably have unfriendly thoughts towards others, but I try not to act on them). Have I been acting toxically towards myself—I’d have to say unfortunately yes I have been. I know that I should be eating better and working out more, but I haven’t been and I’ve been allowing myself to use really lame things as excuses for both bad behaviors.
  2. Depending on how you would define both terms—but yes, I have been living out of fear rather than joy quite often. I know that I should probably just quit my job so that I have more time to focus on job searching (namely networking and figuring out the exact path that I want to pursue), but I haven’t since most people usually try to have the replacement job lined up before they quit their current one.
  3. With the way the world is currently going, it is sometimes hard not to dwell on the negative. I do try to look for the positive daily, though sometimes this is hard to do (especially when one is in a job that is less than fulfilling).
  4. No I haven’t been cruel or cunning—that takes too much work and effort. Currently I’m more apathetic and at times I really don’t care too much about what is going on—I just try to get through the day without losing my temper or my cool. This answer hasn’t changed at all from last month.
  5. As the second statement says—Some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves. I’m in that boat currently—I have no time for a relationship (especially since I’m planning on leaving the state & I really don’t have the time to try to do a long distance relationship), and I’m not really the type for just having random hookups. Again, this answer hasn’t changed from last month either.

So this month marks the moon moving into Scorpio, and actually moving into my first house as well—this is our image zone. This is where one can reflect on both one’s personal and professional lives, and determine if there are things that could be worked on and changed. Getting to go through this zone “twice” is helpful, as I need the reminder that I should be trying to put myself first every so often, and that there really aren’t that many people looking out for my best interests (job wise and personal life wise).

So goals for this full moon period are going to be slightly similar to the ones from last month and include:

            Getting my fitness and nutrition routine back on track (I haven’t done a full week’s worth of workouts in over a month, and I need to start cutting back on the sweets, this will also help me save money as well), but also remember that I only need to try to be better than yesterday—progress over perfection. Hopefully I can figure out better ways of handling stress than buying sweets on campus, and since the cable/wifi problem has been fixed I should be able to stream my workouts in the evenings.

            Professionally I need to continue working on both my professional transition plan, and my “reboot break” plan. I’m also going to try to finish reading “The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life” by Margaret Lobensteine & “Designing Your Life: How to build a well-lived joyful life” by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. Having finished reading “Reboot Your Life: Energize your career & life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearge, Rita Foley, & Jaye Smith I’ve realized that taking a break is needed and needs to happen before the end of the calendar year.

            Continue trying to work on a daily meditation and tarot/oracle card reading. I’ve noticed that these do help with trying to wind down at the end of the day, and I sometimes sleep better after having done them.

So the goals are similar, but a little different from last month—sometimes the major difference is just acknowledging that we are in a self-destruction loop and trying to step off that track just a little to readjust ourselves and get back to the healthier habits.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsHealthmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Update on the April Full Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be entering it’s latest full moon stage tomorrow, and actually should be within the Scorpio constellation. I will admit that this year has totally confused me on which constellation the moon is in and when, since there have been a couple of times that it seems to have transitioned quickly back into the same constellation it was in the previous month. So it looks like I’m going to have another chance on working on my goals for a Scorpio full moon, as that is the constellation that it will be going through tomorrow. That means that it’s time to look back on the first round of Scorpio goals and see how I did with each one.

So goals for this full moon period are going to include:

            Getting my fitness and nutrition back on track.

            Working on my transition plan.

            Practicing gratitude/happiness/keeping a positive outlook daily.

So how did I do with each one?

            In terms of fitness and nutrition—this didn’t really happen, though I am trying not to buy as many sweets on campus. Now that our wifi/internet is hopefully back to it’s normal speed and not disappearing at the drop of a dime I will hopefully try to get back into doing a workout daily.

                        I’ve realized that at times I get bored with the workout because I’ve done it before and then I lose interest in the entire program. I’m thinking that I’m going to have to push myself to get through a program and try to lift a little heavier each week (if possible) in certain exercises and see if that can help propel me through various programs.

                        In terms of nutrition, I need to figure out a better way of dealing with stress and irritation—currently it’s going to buy some type of sweet/candy that I know I don’t need but I usually eat it anyway (or I save it for the weekend at home). If I can avoid getting the sweets (and the extra coffee) in the morning/during the day—besides losing some weight I will also be saving some money.

            In terms of working on my transition plan, so far the only book that I’ve finished reading so far has been: “Reboot your life: energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith. This book has shown me that its fine wanting to take a break from things, and that it’s even expected that people do that (I had no idea that companies like Google and Genetech actually support employees doing this).

                        So this is something that I’m seriously thinking of doing. I know that I have enough money saved (one nice thing about my current living arrangements), and that this is the perfect time for me to do so. Therefore sometime by the end of the year I’m going to embark on my own “reboot break”.

                        I’ve also joined another subgroup within a professional group I’m in—this one focusing on different aspects of scientific writing (but focused on non-academia areas). There are two other books that I’m currently reading (and hopefully will be finishing within the next full moon), and they are: “The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life” by Margaret Loensteine and “Next Gen PhD” by Melanie Sinche.

Listening to a teambeachbody podcast this week (and currently I forget which April one it was), but one thing that stuck with me was—working the personal development that I need to be working on for myself and not what others think (or I think I should do to be like others). Listening to some of the podcasts have been reminding me that I really haven’t been working on me for me; and that is another reason why I’m leaning towards doing a “reboot break”.

Finally in terms of trying to practice happiness/gratitude daily—this is a hit and miss. I realize that the part of my day that I’m currently at times the unhappiest is when I’m at work. One reason is that we’re getting into the nicer weather and I don’t like being stuck indoors all day. I think that I’d almost prefer a job that had flexible hours/schedule to where I could work from both an office and then from home (or a park or somewhere I could take a break and get outdoors). I’m trying to find things to be happy/grateful for daily, and it boosts my mood for a while—but if others are in a bad mood that seems to spread around everyone and it’s hard to stay upbeat. So that is yet another nudge I need for taking a “reboot break” so that I can figure out what the next stage of my career is going to be.

Things were hit and miss this last month, and I’m not sure if it was just because the semester was winding down or if I was going through another small bout of depression (or both). Since we’re going to be cycling back through Scorpio, I will have the chance to modify the goals and figure out the best plan for moving forward again—since the moon in Scorpio will also mark the start of the full moon going through all my houses (from the first).

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Development Challengestransition plan

Photography Challenge Day 89: Fishy Friday Edition. There are baby fish in the lake.

So today’s Fishy Friday post is going to be a short one. Mainly because I’m not one hundred percent certain on the type of fish that I saw in the lake on Sunday.

Some of the minnows swimming in the lake.

While I was on my walk Sunday, I go a certain way to see if I can spot any of the turtles sunbathing in the little cove next to the parking lot. In order to see them, you have to peek through the tall grass that is growing along the edge of the lake.

There is one little area that people have cleared, to where someone can stand and cast a fishing line out into the lake to fish. When I was standing there I looked down, and I saw probably about two dozen little fish swimming around. I’m calling the minnows, though they could be the young of some other fish in the lake.

It isn’t that often I see the little fish swimming around the lake–mainly because this is a muddy lake, and there are also numerous water snakes living in the lake (and I don’t want to cross the path of them–I don’t mind seeing them from a distance).

So it will be interesting to see how often I will be seeing small fish swimming in this area, or if they will move on and maybe I’ll start seeing some tadpoles swimming around soon.

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Photography challenge day 88: It’s either the orange sulfur or clouded sulfur butterfly.

So today’s post is going to be rather short, as I am not one hundred percent confident on the identification of the butterfly.

Pretty yellow butterfly.

Looking at pictures of butterflies that are found in Oklahoma at this time of the year, it is either the orange sulfur butterfly (also known as the alfalfa butterfly) or the clouded sulfur butterfly. Since I couldn’t get a picture of the butterfly with it’s wings out–I can’t say for certain which one it is.

So that is a goal for the summer–get more pictures of this pretty butterfly, but at the same time get a few pictures of it with it’s wings open so that I can hopefully determine which one it actually is.

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Photography Challenge Day 87: The Bald Eagle, our national emblem in flight

The winner of today’s photography challenge is our national emblem—the Bald Eagle. Truthfully, it wasn’t until I got home and put the pictures on the computer that I realized that I managed to get a fairly decent picture of one in flight.

The Bald Eagle soaring over Boomer Lake

I’m not a stranger to photographing Bald Eagles, when we would go up to northern Minnesota and stay at the family cabin, we’d usually see a Bald Eagle or two perched on the top of some of the trees.

Bald Eagle overlooking Lake Vermilion, St. Louis County Minnesota

While the eagle is in the raptor family, it is actually an opportunistic predator. It will hunt, though it does by either watching from a high perch and then swooping in to catch the prey unexpected or by cruising low over the water or land. It is known to be a scavenger feeding on dead carrion. It will also harass other fishing birds (such as Ospreys) and steal their food from them.

They usually have one or two young a year, though if it is a scarce year in terms of hunting only one of the young may actually survive (the strongest one to get to the food dropped in the nest). It is usually four or five years before the eagles will mate, and they may mate for life. They may also reuse the same nest, adding to it each year making it bigger and bigger. It isn’t unheard of Great Horned Owls stealing the nest of Bald Eagles.

What are some other cool facts about Bald Eagles?

It was almost beaten by the wild turkey for choice of the national emblem (that was the bird that Ben Franklin wanted chosen).

They have been observed to “play” with plastic bottles or other objects (such as sticks).

The largest nest on record is in St. Petersburg Florida and was measured to be 2.9 meters in diameter (or 9.5 feet) and 6.1 meters (or 20 feet) tall.

The young bald eagles (under the age of five) spend the time in nomadic exploration, and fly hundreds of miles.

They can have long life spans—the oldest recorded bird was ~38 years old. It had been hit and killed by a car in New York in 2015; it had also been banded in New York—but in 1977.

References: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/bald-eagle;  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bald_Eagle/overview#

As much as I would love to try to get a picture of their nest–I know that they’re probably not nesting around Boomer Lake, and therefore I won’t be trekking in to see if I can spot the young being fed. Now if I was up at Lake Vermilion–that would be another story (though I’d have to be extremely careful not to drop my camera into the lake).

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Photography Challenge Day 86: Cormorant taking flight

Today’s post is probably going to be a little on the short side–I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

So while I was on my walk Sunday, I noticed that there was still at least one cormorant that was still either hanging around, or passing through town.

So either there is a cormorant that has decided to stay in town, or one that is taking it’s merry time migrating.

Though if it’s passing through town, it’s taking its time migrating–since it is basically mid May already.

Obviously it was tired of getting it’s picture taken

This was one of the first times that I saw one starting to run across the water to gain the traction they need to launch into the air.

It almost looks like a gargoyle.

I wonder if people got ideas for gargoyles from watching certain birds take off from the water.

And then it flew off.

Will have to see if I can spot any at the lake this coming weekend, or if they’re migrated on already.

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