Category: odds and ends

Adding in the gaming factor: part one of the development plan

Okay.

I redrew my personal/professional growth game last week. I decided to remove a board, and condense certain topics down in order to have a ‘single’ board.

The ‘rules’:

  1. No longer than six weeks per turn
  2. Roll each set of dice three times. Then after all six rolls & determining what squares I’ve landed on–consolidate them down into a list.
    • I have two different colored sets of dice (and I only use six of the seven dice; these are basically the dice one uses for role playing games). After rolling all six dice:
    • Lowest to highest; and lowest number is ‘by itself’
    • Then start adding up the numbers
    • Also…it’s eighty-four squares back around to ‘start’
  3. Pick three to four items to complete. BUT list out everything, so that if something gest completed sooner than the six week period, I can go back and choose other items to complete.
  4. To keep myself accountable: Two blog posts: when starting & then after the six week period. Possibly then take a day or two off before rolling the dice again (that way it isn’t two back-to-back posts on the same day).
  5. Timing:
    • For reading: Fiction books (one week, including time to write & post reviews). For non-fiction books (no longer than three weeks per book)
    • For e-courses: it depends on the length of course. But aim for at least 30 minutes per afternoon working on a e-course
    • For refreshing/learning a foreign language: Minimum of 25 minutes/day. This is actually an ongoing task, regardless of whether or not I landed on the square
    • For crafts: this will also vary (depending on the craft project)
    • For reviewing ‘subject matters’:
      • Randomly choose a chapter
      • Word search (or crossword puzzle) of key terms
      • Infographic or poster
      • Minimum of 15-20 slides on key points
      • Quiz or test

Notes: The textbooks for development biology & genetics are either in the storage unit or garage currently. For the topics of oncology, small RNA biology, molecular cloning, and the ‘-omics-‘ items I don’t really have textbooks for those items (or at least not ones that are fully devoted to all aspects of the topic).

I rolled the dice this afternoon, and the following list was generated based off the squares I landed on:

Landed on multiple times:

Reading (seven times)

E-course (six times)

Review oncology (three times)

Squares I landed on twice:

  1. Landscape design
  2. Interior design
  3. Review cell biology
  4. Review biochemistry

Squares I landed on once:

  1. Learn about public health
  2. Review molecular biology
  3. Research an interesting person in history
  4. Review stats
  5. Small RNA biology
  6. Learn graphic design
  7. Learn about international law
  8. Content development
  9. Learn about economics
  10. Ancient South America
  11. Review molecular cloning
  12. Unplug for the night

What am I going to be focusing on first?

Reading:

I have numerous nonfiction books that I’ve started over the past few months. A goal is to finish at least three of those during the next six weeks. In addition to reading three fiction books (at least) and writing small book reviews over.

E-course:

I plan on working through at least three e-courses on Skillshare and/or Udemy. Bonus points if courses cover items listed further down on the ‘squares’ landed on (such as economics, graphic design, public health, or stats).

Review oncology:

I plan on continuing my oncology blog series on the science/health/medical blog. Over the next six weeks I plan on getting the blog posts for adenocarcinomas up (this is the first ‘carcinoma’ subtopic), and will actually be covering cell biology/anatomy as I talk more about the two major gland systems in the body in regards to how cancers can develop within them.

‘Fourth’ item:

The ‘fourth’ thing will actually be two different things: (a) unplugging for the night. I plan on ‘unplugging’ at least three to four nights per week. This means that I stay off of the computer after say 7pm, and then put the phone on do-not disturb/airplane mode for the same time period. This will allow me to either work on crafts, clean/organize, or read. (b) content development, as this is basically an on-going task (along with the refresh/learn a foreign language).

Those are the main four/five things I will be focusing on…if I feel the need to ‘add’ something in—I’ll add in interior design (as I’m working at trying to turn my bedroom into a ‘micro’ studio apartment (minus the kitchen & bathroom) by the end of fall).

A major goal of the next six weeks: time & project management. Figuring out how to balance out the different ‘projects’ for the different blogs, and other social media channels. In addition to rekindling the enjoyment of research & developing unique ways of sharing the information.

I’m not sure what type of ‘rewards’ I will be going with for the game…as I’m also trying to get the debt down, limit the amount of ‘stuff’ I buy, and am aiming at only buying things that I will actually use (i.e. limit the number of random knick knacks that I might decide to buy). 

I’m also working on the intentional movement/fitness board game—as I decided I wanted something a little more than just a circle with things written. Possibly a similar board game, but with specific exercises in different boxes (the ‘random’ aspect would be the amount of weights lifted and/or time spent on each exercise).

Check back in late July (July 29th to be exact) to find out how I did with the first round of the game…and to find out which books I finished reading, which e-courses I worked through, and how I did at getting the next series of oncology blog posts up on the science/health/medical blog.

How do you go about expanding your learning—by games? To-do lists (tied to goal lists)? Totally randomly, or what? Share your tips below.

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Progress, but stalling…then a little more progress–leads to some forward momentum.

Introduction:

Last month I ‘restarted’ my monthly accountability posts—also known as ‘months in review’. I’d been doing these posts on and off for a couple of years…but last year—I think I only did January…and then totally fell of the wagon in trying to do things (in part to the family medical issue). Will I be hitting 100% on all goals…probably not. Only because I’m still working on developing a good ‘fluid’ schedule for the day—one that allows me to focus on different tasks without feeling like I’m ‘ignoring’ the major task in favor of quicker, easier tasks to complete. 

At times I’ve realized I have ‘shiny squirrel’ syndrome…where I start a task, and then get easily distracted by something else…start in on that ‘task’…get distracted…and within a couple of hours totally forget what it was I was meaning to do earlier in the day. I have found that just setting say four to six major tasks per day does seem to be helping…though I’ve also found that I need to move the ‘learning’ (especially refreshing or learning an foreign language) closer to the top of the list…it seems it’s one of my more ‘difficult’ (would love to put off) tasks.

Since I did fairly well in April with the goals that I’d set…I added a few extra to May—and probably shouldn’t have done that. I’ve realized that sometime less is actually more. I can always have an ‘side’ list of goals—goals that I can pick from after majority of the other goals have been completed. So what were the goals that I’d set for May—well, they included:

  1. Read at least three non-fiction books
  2. Read at least four fiction books
  3. Complete at least another 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish outline & launch a YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on science, medical, or health papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Posting to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • Interviews with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us ‘toxic’ (interviews with the different creatures that house microbes that produce neurotoxins and other types of toxins)
    • Interviews with ‘ancient’ civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus possibly a few others)
    • Ancient civilizations: Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt
    • Micropaleontology
    • Plus the topics that I didn’t get to last month: the metabolism project & food that aren’t good for pets & why.
  11. Writing at least 30 minutes a day on two different projects
  12. Working on my needlepoint project
  13. Creating a rough draft of an coloring book from my black & white doodles

So how did I do with each of them?

Reading at least three non-fiction books: (completed, actually tripled the number–so 300% completed) I read the following books:

  1. Pagan Portals: Sekhet-Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra by Olivia Church
  2. Pagan Portals: Isis-Great of Magic, She of 10,000 Names by Olivia Church
  3. Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
  4. Just tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You have no idea what it is by Sara Kravitz
  5. Headstrong: 52 women who changed science & the world by Rachel Swaby
  6. Just do the Damn Thing by Reece Owens
  7. Authentic: How to be Yourself and Why it Matters by Stephen Joseph
  8. 365 Days of Walking the Red Road: The Native American Path to Leading a Spiritual Life Every Day by Terri Jean
  9. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
  10. unBuried-unMarked: the unTold Namibian Story of the Genocide of 1904-1908 by Jephta Nguherimo

Reading at least four fiction books: (completed, 100%), I read the following books:

  1. Wild Heart (Hearts of Swayer’s Bend #6) by Ivy Layne
  2. Stay Anyway (Kincaid brothers #7) by Kaylee Ryan
  3. State of Suspense (First Family #7) by Marie Force
  4. Last Minute Fiancé (The First Time/Cassidy Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan (This one I also wrote a book review over)

Complete at least one more 30-day challenge (Completed, 100%):

I’ve completed another 30-day Sudoku challenge. While I may not have gotten every Sudoku filled in correctly…I’ve at least attempted a Sudoku every day (with the exception of Memorial Day—no paper was delivered) for the month of May.

Start following the intentional movement (aka exercise) plan, (~10% completed)

I need to work the intentional movement (exercise) plan into my personal/professional board game. Maybe that way I’ll actually start doing things. Within my ‘fluid’ schedule—I’m going to be ‘putting in movement’ blocks—which may be something as simple as putting on a movie and marching in place for 20 minutes, or getting on the exercise bike and riding it for 10-20 minutes, or possibly both.

Finish outline & launch a YouTube Channel (~30% completed)

I have a mind-map of topics for the YouTube channel—things ranging from science, health, medical topics (similar to that blog) to current events, to crafts & hobbies, and other interests. I just need to decide which ‘hub’ to start with—and then draft that outline…and possibly record an ‘introduction’ video to post to the channel (which I already have…just need to change the name).

Blurbs on science, medical, or health papers (Still sitting around 5%)

I still haven’t finished polishing (and shortening) the one blurb that I’d started a couple months ago on the sea dragon genome paper. I’m not sure why I’m dragging my feet on this ‘task’…other than numerous papers sound interesting until I start to read them…and then I’m quickly reminded why I detest reading (and writing) academic papers.

Working/watching three e-courses (completed, 100%):

I watched three short courses on Skillshare this month:

Creative Journaling: Getting Started

I think I would give this course a 4 out of 5 stars. It basically was more along the lines of ‘creative’ bullet journaling (at least for me—since most journals I’m using for either planning or journaling happen to be dot journals (that are mainly used for planning)).

While I journal daily…I just haven’t been using washbi tapes or stickers for the most part…doing creative (or junk) journaling is actually on my 101 goals…I just haven’t started doing it, and am unsure how I’d track my ‘creative/junk’ journaling habits.

Growing Your Creativity

I actually not sure what I’d rate this course. I think my biggest ‘issue’ is that I do consider arts & crafts to creativity at a certain level…because you are creating something. Also I didn’t care too much for the instructor’s definitions of artists versus craftsmen. I do need to try to do the ‘assignment’ which actually had multiple parts: list of things that you truly care about, spend time/money/effort on, likes, hobbies, and so forth. Brainstorm 25 possible creative ideas for next project for this inspiration list, and then choose one for your next project. Currently I’m still working on my large needlepoint project (which is why I haven’t finished this ‘assignment’ yet).

Fictionalize Your Life: How to Keep A Writer’s Diary. 

I would this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars, only because I didn’t care for the tone of the instructor in some of his videos. Nor did I care for how he defined journal versus a diary. Both can be for practicing, and both can also be ‘private’ never to be shared. It’s literally all in the preference of the person sitting at the keyboard or who holds the pen (or pencil). I find the idea of trying to create ‘short’ glimpses of daily activity into a micro-scene of a short story intriguing and I may try them…and then see how they’d potentially merge into a larger story.

30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly (0% completed)

I’m not even sure if I logged into Mondly this month or not…but I do know that I need to move this task upwards on the ‘daily’ to-do tasks. Have it second on the list, after putting together the daily update on Gaza & the West Bank.

Post to each blog at least twice (100% completed for science/health/medical blog, and 200-300% completed for the creative blog):

I know that I’ve posted to the creative blog numerous times this month (new & full moon goals, two book reviews, and months in review). I also posted twice to the science/health/medical blog towards the beginning of the month. I know that blog is slowly taking off—towards the end of last month (or it was possibly early this month)—I got my first ‘trolling’ comment on the blog.

I need to get better at posting to the science/health/medical blog—I’m hoping that possibly creating a minimal content editorial calendar during June will help me post at least two to three times (an oncology post, a blurb on a science paper, and then possibly another blog post on something else).

Mind-maps & outlines (probably about 40% done):

For the four ‘creative/research’ projects—I’m probably about 40% done in terms of mind-maps and outlines for those projects. I’ve paused two projects for the science, health, & medical blog (metabolism series and why certain foods aren’t good for pets), and put learning more about micropaleontology on hold indefinitely. Below I’ve stated how far I’ve gotten with each of the projects..

Interviews with different dinosaurs & extinct animals (About 60% completed)

I have an ‘basic’ outline for “talking” with dinosaurs, and I need to try to modify it slight in order to make use of the outline with other extinct animals (such as sabertooth tiger, giant sloths, cave bears, woolly mammoths, and other extinct creatures). I also need to decide if I’m going to use research papers as the main ‘reference’ points, or if I’m also going to use books (which would require me then going back to any I’ve read—and skimming to get to areas to highlight important bits and pieces of information).

I also need to work on the ‘story’ outline aspect—the part that will be more ‘creative’ in respects to the how I’d flow from ‘question’ to ‘question’.

What makes us ‘toxic’ (interviews with the different creatures that house microbes that produce neurotoxins and other types of toxins) (About 35% complete)

I know the three main animals that I’m going to “interview” in terms of being toxic animals: the puffer fish, the blue-ringed octopus, and the roughed skin newt. In addition I’m thinking of “interviewing” the Gila monster, now need to find an ‘venomous’ fish & cephalopod to interview & have a “balanced” look between toxic and venomous animals.

I’m still working on the outline—especially since in terms of the ‘toxic’ animals—there really ins’t a agreed upon mode of ‘uptake’ that turns these animals toxic.

Interviews with ‘ancient’ civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus possibly a few others) (Still working on these ideas—so not that far into the project)

Ancient civilizations: Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt (probably about 60% done)

I have several books on ancient Mesopotamia already (part of an early book buying splurge)…I just need to see if they have anything in them on Queen Puabi of Ur, Queen Kubaba of Kish, or the goddess Ishtar.

I’d bought several non-fiction books on Nefertiti & Hatshepsut…and then went back and bought one on Sobekneferu (the very first female Egyptian Pharaoh). I haven’t gotten around to reading them though…one of the problems when you give into your impulsive book buying tendencies…you end up with dozens of new books over the past few weeks/months. I think my non-fiction/historical fiction list is probably closing in on 600 books—though I’ve read a handful (probably about 40 or so since 2022; the list is one that I started back in 2019…and I keep adding books to the list…so yeah—I probably buy about 100 nonfiction/historical fiction books a year).

Since these queens were from different centuries & cities within Mesopotamia, or eras of ancient Egyptian history (Hatshepsut was a few hundred before Nefertiti; and Sobekneferu was a few hundred years before Hatshepsut); I need to possibly also find a book (or two) about those general eras of ancient Egyptian history, as I’m hoping the books I have on Mesopotamia can fill in those ‘dots’ for me there. But I’m thinking that I may do a interview series in the ‘spirit’ of the one I’d done in college (when I was ‘interviewing’ different gods or religious figures for the survey of Eastern Civilization course).

Micropaleontology (This topic is on ‘hold’ indefinitely)

The study of micro fossils. Fossils of pollen and other microorganisms. It sounds extremely cool…but as much as I’d love to become a micropaleontologist—I’ need to get the debt down first. Then I can possibly get a textbook or two on the subject (though who knows if I’d ever be able to afford the type of microscope one really needs to see these guys).

Plus the topics that I didn’t get to last month: the metabolism project & food that aren’t good for pets & why. Okay, the metabolism project is on hold..I want to get the ‘what is a microbe’ series launched first. Also I’m not 100% certain how I want that (the metabolism) series to flow and which direction I want to go in.  Food that isn’t good for pets & why—also on hold. In part because it’s tied to the metabolism project.

Writing at least thirty minutes a day on different projects (~10-30%??)

I know since not quite mid-month I’ve been ‘writing’ daily…and actually ‘writing’ daily well before that. But—I don’t know if the ‘projects’ (with the exception of the daily updates on Gaza) have been within the half-hour range. I know the Gaza one should be within that range, only due to the time it also takes to read the news and then determine what little ‘blurb’ I’m going to be writing on it. 

Working on the needlepoint project (100% effort on this one):

I’m not done with my current needlepoint project. This is currently the largest one I’ve attempted, and it’s totally abstract and original. Will I be finished with by July 17th (300 day check-in on my 101 goals in 1001 days) or July 20 (on my 5th check-in on my 44 things before 44)? Maybe…since I still have six and a half weeks—but I do know I should have it finished by my birthday in September. The picture (below) was taken last night (May 30) to highlight the progress that I’ve made during the month-compared to how it was at the end of April (compared to early Feb).

Showcasing different status pictures of latest abstract needlepoint project

Create a rough draft of a coloring book from black & white doodles (~15-30%)

Okay I have a very rough draft of a collection of PDFs of the different doodles…they’re just not totally ‘straight’ (you can see some of the bedroom in the background). So I need to place the sketchpad on a surface (that isn’t my lap) and stand above them to take a picture (and hopefully have it ‘straight’ enough that I can crop out the background of the desk or table). 

I need to also see how many different black and white doodles I have—and I may need to take some time over the summer to draw/doodle some more pictures to flesh out the coloring book. In addition—figure out how to copyright (so what would the business name be—or would I just do things in my own name), pricing, and how would I collect (Venmo, PayPal, or what)…so yeah—I have several things I need to figure out still.

Conclusions:

Well, I made progress on all but three of the goals (refreshing/learning a foreign language, the science/health/medical paper blurbs, and following an intentional movement plan). The YouTube channel at least has a mind-map drawn, and now I just need to decide which ‘direction’ to go in to start (science/health/medical blurbs/news, crafts/hobbies, personal/professional growth, or current events), the direction will also let me know how many ‘videos’ I’d be trying to do a week/month. While some progress wasn’t great…the amount of progress is actually really good—considering the fact that last week was the year anniversary of my mother’s death, and I’d been sitting in procrastination corner a lot this month. 

I’ve also realized that In need to schedule the time for Mondly (and actually working out—or the ‘main’ workout time) for the morning, and preferably as soon in the morning as possible. While I have no problem watching an short e-course (or trying to start a longer one) in the afternoon, I don’t feel like trying to learn an language that late in the day. So, yea! I’ve figure out part of the schedule needed; in addition I should probably ‘schedule’ my oracle card drawings/sharing to the oracle card Instagram channel for the morning as well. Both of these may before my Gaza updates on Instagram (or at least they’ll bracket it—Mondly before, and then oracle card afterwards).

The coloring book is still an extremely rough draft, especially since I have various ‘business’ questions/tasks that I’d need to get settled before I could ‘sell’ the book. The business questions/tasks are something I’ll be working on tackling this summer. Because selling digital items (coloring books, prints, or whatever) may be one the quickest ways of earning a little cash.

I’ll probably have roughly the same number of goals for June—with actually the final goal, being checking in with the goal list periodically to ensure that I’m actually working on things I’ve stated I want to work on. Therefore the goals for June will include:

  1. Read at least three more non-fiction books
  2. Read at least four more fiction books
  3. Complete at least one (if not two) 30-day challenges
  4. Improve intentional movement game & make time during the day for intentional movement
  5. Launch the YouTube channel (outline, schedule & intro video)
  6. Two blurbs on science, health, and/or medical papers
  7. Watch/work through at least another three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly (after breakfast probably)
  9. Posting consistently on the oracle card channel (after Gaza update probably)
  10. Post to each blog each least twice
  11. Finish up the outlines for the three large creative research projects:
    • Interviews with dinosaurs and other extinct animals
    • Interviews with toxic and venomous animals
    • Interviews with various citizens/leaders of various ancient civilizations
  12. Continue working on the needlepoint project
  13. Check in with this list every few days to ensure that I’m making progress.

Conclusions, part II: In regards to June goals:

Twelve goals, well thirteen—but the last one is literally a reminder to myself to check in with the list (either opening this document or looking at the journal where I will have it written out). Similar goals to the past two months…mainly that is how one builds habits—repetitive actions. Reading is an enjoyment…I read more non-fiction this month than fiction, but that was because I’ve got the goal of 44 non-fiction/historical fiction before my birthday, and I felt like I was slightly behind schedule & wanted to catch up.

The rest of the things…will require that I work on silencing the inner critic/imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I know what I want to do with my life—not only help improve how various topics are communicated to the public…but education overall…in addition to finding a way to make a partial living as an crafter/artist—as I’m starting to think about branching out and teaching myself other crafts—crochet (I knew how to do this years ago), making jewelry (I’ve got enough beads & charms), resin, mosaics, and wood-burning. I don’t need to make millions…I just need to make enough to ensure that my bills are paid, I have a roof over my head, and food on my table. Travel really isn’t even that big of a necessity currently (mainly due to the state of the world).

I want to become a better global citizen…which means decolonizing my mind and ‘relearning’ things about various parts of the world. It means learning an language (or two)—as English isn’t spoken everywhere. It means figuring out how to live with less…so to help cut back on the demand/need for vital elements that are fueling genocides and conflicts throughout the African continent. 

Progress…good, and done is better than ‘perfect, and never published’…because perfectionism is a myth…a myth of white supremacy that I’m going to jump up and down on until it’s grounded back into dust. What is one thing you’ll do to help break down the barriers around the world? 

How are you coming along on your yearly goals?

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Check-in time on the 44 goals before 44…take four

4th check-in on my ’44 goals before turning 44’ project; & realizing that I’m four months away from my 44th birthday. It’s been a seesaw in terms of productivity…some days I’m productive…other days I’m sitting in procrastination corner. If it were a perfect world & I was totally on top of my game—I’d be two-thirds of the way through the list (having 29 or 30 goals checked off).

It isn’t a perfect world though…I have gotten several goals accomplished, and there are others that are either halfway done or I consider on-going goals (so can’t consider them ‘completed’ until my birthday).

So what goals are completed? Halfway? On-going, or just not started yet? Images for the drawings, paintings, and needlepoint projects are after the list.

Well here are the 44 goals that I wrote out on the evening of my 43rd birthday last year:

  1. Starting my freelance science, health, medical communications business. In progress–I have the website, and I’m slowly getting blog posts up. I’m still in the progress of creating a portfolio to have on the site as well to highlight the types of communication pieces I would enjoy creating for customers. The site: jessicamatts(dot)com
  2. Transition into a remote science/health/medical comms position. Need to have a portfolio (possibly) and need to start looking to see what companies are hiring remote comms workers. I really don’t want to have an hybrid or in-person job.
  3. Launching a YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel…I just need to ‘rename/rebrand’ it, and figure out what the hell I’m going to talk about on it (whether it’s a mix of science and things or strictly a science/health/medical channel).
  4. Launch a podcast. Need to launch the YouTube channel first…so I’m not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  5. Complete at least ten different Udemy courses: I’ve watched three; a minimum of seven more
    • Gods and Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia & Arabia
    • Beginners guide to SEO for medical writers
    • Writing an Effective & Successful Business Plan
  6. Complete at least twelve different Skillshare courses: I’ve watched seven; a minimum of five more to go
    • Creating Your Dream Career: Uncovering & Apply Your Creative Strengths
    • Productivity Habits that Stick, Using Time Theming
    • Goal Setting for Creatives: play to your strengths & tap into flow
    • The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success
    • Creative business plan for artists: creative a thriving business
    • Creative journaling: getting started
    • Growing your creativity
  7. Read at least 44 non-fiction/historical fiction books: I’m a little over 2/3 of the way done with this one. I’ve read 30 & only have 14 more to go.
    • Monarchs of the Sea (The extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
    • Conquering your burnout: an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
    • Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to being happy, confident and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
    • Unfuck your brain: Using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, & triggers by Faith Harper
    • Things no one will tell fat girls: A handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
    • Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Body Positive Power: Because life is already happening and you don’t need flat abs to live it by Megan Jayne Crabbe
    • Flying Snakes & Griffin Claws: and other classical myths, historical oddities, and scientific curiosities by Adrienne Mayor
    • Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell
    • White Women: everything you already know about your own racism & how to be better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
    • Healthy at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight by Linda Bacon, PhD
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson
    • I’m Not Yelling: A Black Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Workplace by Elizabeth Leiba
    • Pantesdrunk by Misha Rantanen
    • Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky
    • Bust Your Fears (Rebel Diva #4): Three tools to help conquer fear by Tikiri Herath
    • Top 10 Most Interesting Dinosaurs by Daniel Boszo
    • What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
    • 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries from the Golden Age of Dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
    • Waking up in the Winter: In Search of What Really matters at midlife by Cheryl Richardson
    • Becoming What you are: A concise guide to awakening the light within by Two Workers
    • B*tch don’t kill my vibe: How to stop worrying, end negative thinking, cultivate positive thoughts, & start living your best life (self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Pagan Portals: Sekhmet: Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra by Olivia Church
    • Pagan Portals: Isis: Great of Magic, She of 10,000 Names by Olivia Church
    • Things You Might Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
    • Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What it is by Sara Kravitz
    • Headstrong: 52 women who changed science & the world by Rachel Swaby
    • Just do the damn thing: how to sit your @ss down long enough to exert willpower, develop self discipline, stop procrastination, increase productivity…sh!t done (Self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Authentic: How to be yourself & Why it Matters by Stephen Joseph
  8. Become fluent in Spanish. I need to stick with a daily time to get onto Mondly to work on this and #9 as well
  9. Become proficient in Arabic. See above
  10. Learn to say hello in ten different languages. See #8
  11. Learn to say thank you in ten different languages. See #8
  12. Complete a 365-day photography challenge. Nope. Need to create a ‘schedule’/outline and add this to my 45 things before 45 list
  13. Monthly editorial calendars, weekly/daily to-do lists. This is an ongoing goal, and one I’ve been improving with over the past two or three months compared to the first few months last year.
  14. What is my definition of success? Finished:
    • Being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive & aware that not everyday is going to be rainbows & unicorns…sometimes they’re going to be thunderstorms & disasters.
    • Success is more than money, influence & power. It’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to.
    • It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in “competition” with the me I was yesterday.
  15. Create a vision board based on that definition. Still collecting ‘images/words/phrases’ to place on the vision board.
  16. Learn basic sign language. I think I bought an e-course on this topic.
  17. Get debt down by a quarter to half (based on where it is now). Not sure how well I’m doing..since I’m still in the planning stages of my businesses
  18. Continue getting into the best shape of my life. I do need to figure out what some metrics will be to aim for (heavy lifting or something…because currently its a little too vague still)
  19. Learning about body confidence. Ongoing–have read several book on the subject (see above)
  20. Create a happiness plan. Need to set this up during the next two months
  21. Daily mediation on-going
  22. Stretch daily on-going
  23. Hold a 90-second plank. Need to get on this one
  24. Develop & stick with a consistent exercise schedule. On the agenda for the week.
  25. Make some mosaic art
  26. Make some resin art. Semi-completed. I made a small ‘container’
  27. Draw/doodle, color & frame an original drawing. Completed. See below for the pictures
  28. Draw/doodle, paint & frame original drawings. Completed. Again, see below for the pictures
  29. Start making jewelry. Semi-started. Attempted to make an resin pendant
  30. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects. In progress-I have one finished, and am currently working on a second large one. Not sure if I’ll get four smaller ones done or not before my birthday.
  31. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs. Debating on whether to do a 2025 or try to make a planner for 2026 with my own photographs
  32. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art. Haven’t tried yet. I have the kit…just haven’t worked up the nerve to try yet.
  33. Monthly full & new moon goals. I’ve only missed Oct 2023 full moon posting. This is on-going
  34. Daily oracle card drawings. This is on-going. I need to determine the best time to actually also post them to the oracel card channel that I started on instagram
  35. Learn to make sushi. I have a sushi making ‘kit’ and cookbook in my amazon cart to order.
  36. Get a haircut. Since there is starting to be a spike in SARS-CoV2 cases again…not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  37. Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings. I just need to retake a bunch of photographs (to ensure that that pictures are ‘centered’) so kinda in progress
  38. Complete a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily (a minimum of 60-day challenge). Currently about two-thirds of the way through the 60-day Sudoku challenge…may have also hit that mark (not sure if I started that on March 20 or not). Almost finished
  39. Complete at least five 30-day challenges. So far have completed at least 30 days of the Sudoku challenge. on-going.
  40. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) banned books. Halfway done:
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  41. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) classics
  42. Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series. Finished. Have read at least five to seven this year.
    • Lost & Found series by Catherine Cowles (five books–series is done)
    • Cottonwood Cove series by Laura Pavlov (five books–series is done)
    • Lakeshore U by L.A. Cotton (four books, not sure if there are more yet)
    • Kincaid Brothers by Kaylee Ryan (six books, plus another two to finish)
    • Playing to Win by Bella Matthews (three books, plus one more to finish)
    • The Defiant Kings by Bella Matthews (five books–series is done)
    • The Kings of Kroydon Hills by Bella Matthews (four books–series is done)
  43. Finish creating an inspiring work/crafts area
  44. Write a letter to my future self (again). Wrote one for me to read/open on either 12/31/2025 or 01/01/2026

The three pictures that I drew and colored with either colored pencils or markers.

Two of the four paintings that I’ve done. I did two watercolors & two acrylics (one of each for two different sizes–the 9×12 seen here & then 8×10).

The finished needlepoint project on the left & the progress of the other large one on the right.

But, since it isn’t a perfect world—I’ve ‘completed’ a few goals: doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least one original drawing (I did three); doodling/drawing, painting & framing at least one original piece of art (I’ve done four); reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy (I’ve read at least two—truthfully probably closer to five now), determining what my definition of success is (still need to make the vision board), and writing a letter to my future self.

That’s five goals finished…and technically there are three others that are halfway finished (reading at least two banned books, doing at least a two-month challenge of attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle each morning & creating some resin art). This means I’ve accomplished almost 11.5% of my goals (and if I add in the three halfway completed goals—I’m a little over 18.2% of the way). 

Several of the goals are ongoing goals—meaning I won’t consider them ‘finished’ until I hit my birthday (there are seven which accounts for almost 16% of the goals). So—that means there are 30 to 31 goals that I should still aim at trying to finish over the next four months). Though in all honesty I probably won’t become fluent in Spanish or proficient in Arabic in four months…these goals will possibly also be added to my 45 goals before 45 list, along with the new 365-day photography challenge.

In terms of reading goals: I’ve finished one (reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy or longer series; I think I have like five to seven actually listed above), I’m halfway done with another (reading at least two ‘new’ banned books), and I’m almost two-thirds of the way through the nonfiction/historical fiction challenge (I’ve read 30 books, which means only 14 more to go). I still need to read another ‘new’ banned book & two ‘new’ classics.

In terms of the continuously learning (aka e-courses), I increased the total number of courses for both Udemy & Skillshare—I’m now stating I will finish at least ten Udemy courses (I’ve done three—so I’m also a third of the way there); and I will finish at least twelve Skillshare courses (I’ve done seven—so I’m a little over halfway done ‘watching’ these courses).

Progress is measured in the baby-steps forward, the tasks being checked off the list—and an new goal list is being brainstormed to come into being on the eve of my 44th birthday. I’ll check in later (possibly next week) with the goal list that I’m aiming to accomplish before July 20.

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Progress on the 44 things to do before turning 44 project

Okay…I realized last night as I was working on the latest update to this ‘project’–I never got around to posting the original 44 things to do before turning 44, nor either of the previous two updates. The original post, and both previous updates I think I posted to Instagram, and I think LinkedIn.

I’ve posted the third update to Instagram this morning, and until LinkedIn allows me back onto my account–obviously I can’t post it there. So I’m posting it here, and will probably post it over to Facebook this afternoon sometime. So, this ’44 things to do before turning 44′ is an update/continuation to the previous ‘birthday’ challenge (43 things to do before turning 43) and the ‘goals’ have been taken from the new 101 goals in 1001-days challenge that I’d also started back the day after my 43rd birthday.

Today marks the third update (March 20), and the half-way point between my birthdays. Now, if it was a perfect world–I’d be halfway done with the goals (in theory knocking out 22 goals in six months)…but it isn’t a perfect world, and I’ll admit that I’d fallen into procrastination canyon for awhile last fall. I’m slowly getting better at getting things done, and who knows I may actually get a decent number of the goals totally completed by my birthday in six months.

So what is on the 44 things to do before turning 44?

Well these goals include:

The daily oracle/tarot card readings are an ‘365-day’ challenge…so obviously I’m not going to be checking this one off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been consistent at doing an oracle card drawing daily, and am even thinking of starting an new Instagram account for sharing those ‘readings’.

I’m learning about body confidence (I’ve read several books on the subject–so check out the list a little further down the challenge list). I’ve got an idea for creating a consistent exercise routine (hopefully by the next check-in, I can say that I’ve managed at least 30-days of consistent intentional movement).

The daily mediation goal is another one that I won’t be ‘checking’ off until basically my birthday in six months. I have been sitting ‘quietly’ for a few minutes every evening, and am still working on trying to introducing some ‘quiet’ (aka meditative) time in the morning. Getting into the best shape of my life will slowly start happening once I’ve developed that intentional movement plan that I will (hopefully) be able to stick with.

I have an idea for the name of a YouTube channel, and ideas for what I would be wanting to talk about…I just need to ‘record’ a practice video and see how it looks/sounds before actually ‘launching’ the channel. Then hopefully by the end of the summer I will have ‘launched’ it as a podcast as well–or at least have a outline/schedule for launching it as a podcast.

Working on the happiness plan, and slowly working on getting the debt down (starting to keep track [more or less] of purchases and such).

Again, the stretching daily won’t be ‘checked’ off until my birthday–and I’ve been stretching in the morning & before bed. The monthly editorial calendars have been getting made (and more or less followed). The others are still works in progress.

Okay…something checked off: My definition of success.

I’m defining success as any of the following:

I have my credit card debt paid off…and have canceled a credit card…and the others are paid off monthly

I have started saving money again, and adding to my retirement account

My yearly earnings are in the upper five figure to low six figures

My stress levels have ‘leveled’ out

I’m committed to a fitness routine that I’ve tailored to my likes and dislikes…I’m in the progress of getting into the best shape of my life

I’m meditating twice a day

I’m spending time out in nature

I’m writing and researching things of interest

I have two successful blogs….two successful freelance businesses

I have a podcast…a YouTube channel…that I do for fun…and to educate and entertain others…earning money from them is secondary…

I have an online store for selling my crafts…

I’ve developed an “working relationship” with my ‘imposter syndrome/inner critic’…

I have developed and embraced my vision of minimalism…

I am staying up-to date on world events…

I have created numerous online courses that not only cover science topics, but history, social sciences, and current events.

Basically…Success to me is being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive, and aware that not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns…sometimes they’re thunderstorms and disasters…Success is more than money, influence, and power…it’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to. It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in ‘competition’ with the me I was yesterday.

The next step is to create a vision board based on the above statements.

I’m making progress on the non-fiction reading:

I’ve been averaging about five books every two months (so roughly two and a half books a month). While I’ve read more non-fiction books this time around compared to the list for the 43 before 43 challenge–I’m hoping to still ‘finish’ this challenge. That means I need to try to read at least one non-fiction book a week for the next six months. One thing I need to do–is to go back and write at least four to five mini-book reviews over various books that I’ve finished.

Okay two more things have been totally checked off, and I’m halfway done with the challenge of reading two banned books.

Both of the above series are romance series that are based around a group of siblings. The ‘Lost & Found’ series has aspects of suspense woven throughout all the books, while the ‘Cottonwood Cove’ series has various other ‘tropes’ (such as brother’s best-friend [though so does the ‘Lost & Found’], enemy-to-friends, and friends-to-lovers). I give both series five out of five stars, and am planning on going back and writing reviews for each of the series (haven’t decided if it will be five individual reviews or a combo-five reviews over the entire series).

The other goal checked off that page: Doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least two original drawings. I decided that for this goal I was going to do large drawings/doodles instead of the smaller ones I’d been doing last spring/summer and early fall.

Here are the three that I’d completed last fall:

In addition last fall, I also finished up the first really large needlepoint project:

I’m currently working on a needlepoint project that is even larger than this one. Though I should possibly do a couple of small ones as well–just to make sure that I hit the goal of completing at least three needlepoint projects. I’m also thinking of launching an etsy store to sell abstract needlepoint projects, digital coloring books, downloadable prints of my colored doodles, and other crafts–so stay tuned to hear about when I decide to launch that project.

I may get several of the above goals finished over the next few days/weeks. I have numerous black and white doodles that I can use to create a coloring book. I just need to have really good pictures of them to upload into a program to then print off (or upload) as a pdf booklet. I’m thinking of possibly trying to complete the draw/doodle & paint goal this upcoming weekend along with starting to possibly play with some resin or make some charm bracelets & necklaces.

Okay. In terms of the photography challenge–I need to try to develop a plan–am I going to do various 30-day challenges, random times with the cell-phone camera or what. The last time I did a photography challenge was back in 2018/2019 and I managed about six to seven months before I called quits (mainly because I felt like I was constantly ‘repeating’ the subject matter).

In terms of new & full moon goals–I’ve only missed one so far, and that was setting full moon goals in Oct 2023. I wasn’t dealing with Oct very well (as that was the start of the ongoing genocide in Gaza), and the one thing that really fell by the wayside was the full moon goals at the end of the month.

I’ve finished three Udemy courses and two Skillshare courses so far:

I now have a couple of ideas of sites to use when trying to do SEO research for writing (both on this blog & the science, health, medical blog), and I have a better idea of what goes into a business plan.

I’ll be doing one of those exercises again that allows me to figure out my values at this stage of life, and then figure out how to combine those with my strengths to determine how to create my ‘dream career’. Time theming is something I’m attempting this week…and I’ve realized so far that I need to pair the ‘theming’ with other productivity ‘tools’ such as using a timer, logging out of social media sites, and so forth to ensure that I’m not getting overly distracted from what I’m wanting to get accomplished.

The final two goals:

The sudoku & crossword puzzle challenge is an way of keeping the brain active. I use to do the sudoku puzzle almost daily, but when things really started to go south late 2022…I quit doing them–now I’m going to try to get back into doing them. The crossword puzzles are just for fun, actually they both are. I don’t expect to ‘win’ at the sudoku puzzle every day–especially the harder levels towards the end of the week, and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be finishing every crossword puzzle either.

Learning basic sign language is another ‘refresher’ in a way. When I was younger I could sign the entire alphabet using sign language, but as with many things–since it wasn’t ‘related’ to school…I quit practicing and have forgotten most of what I’d learned. It similar with wanting to become fluent in Spanish–I took a year of Spanish in high school (my freshman year) before switching to German. I didn’t take any foreign languages in college–though, I did take a class that had a class trip to Honduras (so I brushed up on my Spanish a little). I want to become fluent in Spanish to where I could travel to Spain and hopefully not have to rely on a guidebook. I’m hoping to become proficient in Arabic…because why not?

But there you have it. If you’ve read this far (or scrolled) I’ve managed to complete 3 out of the 44 goals currently–that’s not quite 7% (it’s actually 6.8%) of the goals met. Some of the goals are just a matter of deciding that the evening craft time will be spent drawing, painting, playing with beads/charms, threads, or resin instead of knitting (which has been my major project for the past couple of weeks–trying to finish my latest afghan).

So what am I going to try to accomplish over the next two months?

I’m going to work on accomplishing the following:

  1. Create a vision board based on my definition(s) of success
  2. Launch a YouTube channel
  3. Complete at least two 30-day challenges
  4. Read at least another eight non-fiction books
  5. Read another ‘banned’ book & at least one ‘classic’
  6. Finish at least one small needlepoint project
  7. Draw/doodle & paint an original piece of art
  8. Create a workout plan
  9. Write a letter to my future self
  10. Complete another four Udemy courses
  11. Complete another five Skillshare courses

Have you ever made a list of goals based on how old you’re going to be the next year? If so–were you able to accomplish all the goals, or were there some goals that were left unaccomplished?

I’m hoping to put a little progress into all the goals–regardless of whether or not I land a remote position (I want to have at least applied to say half a dozen remote science/health/medical communications positions), as some goals are on-going (getting debt down, getting into the best shape of my life), while others can be marked as ‘done’ once the birthday rolls around (since they’re ‘on-going’ but only for this particular birthday year–currently).

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Looking back at the dumpster fire that was 2023

Okay…It’s Monday…and January…and 2024…I didn’t opened the letter last night that I wrote to myself the previous year…because I knew that nothing within that letter was able to happen last year…2023 was a shit-show…but life seems to be shit-show after shit-show..especially since the SARS-CoV2 virus showed up in 2020…

While I’ve gravitated towards the career pivot—building a freelance career that encompasses not science, health, and medical literacy/education—but crafts/hobbies and various aspects of personal/professional growth (health/wellness, finances, spirituality, and developing my own vision of not only minimalism but success)…a good portion of the world seems to have lost its damn mind…

2020 was when the SARS-CoV2 virus made it around the world…and created a pandemic that lasted for a few years. If we had competent leaders in 2020…I don’t think it would have swelled into such a problem…and was the initial spark for pivoting towards science/health/med comms.

I wanted to improve how findings/results and such were relied to the public…because public health should NEVER be politicized…when it becomes a ‘political’ issue…it means lives are lost…and it started the spiral. Everyone either lost a family member or friend, or knows of someone who lost someone to the pandemic…

Fall 2021…when we took our young boxer mix in for another allergy shot…and shortly thereafter found out she developed a rare side effect—hemolytic anemia. Jump forward to spring 2022—she’d been getting weaned from the immunosuppressant meds, her allergies kicked in…and we lost her to a relapse of the anemia…

Fall 2022…mom went into the hospital. She’d finally scared herself enough that she was finally willing to get an medical evaluation…what we thought was only going to be a few days—stretched into nine months…then two and half weeks in a skilled nursing facility getting a little more rehab; being home for less than a day before heading back into the hospital…only for her to pass in emergency surgery the following week (May 2023)…

June 2023…saw the loss of two animals (Pye and Boozer), and the adoption of Apep, our black-mouth cur mix dog. He’s somewhere between 60 and 75 pounds, way too smart for our own good, and lovable goof. He gets along with Chaos, and harasses the hell out of the cats.

September 2023…I’ve had better birthdays…we lost Waffles (our Russian Blue cat) on my birthday last year…which meant we’re currently down to one (Pancakes—my black cat), whose health is bouncing around okay and not great.

Then we come to October 2023…the month when the world lost it’s mind. Yes…whatever the hell happened on Oct 7th was horrible. BUT what has happened since has been nothing but GENOCIDE. Israel is systemically trying to wipe out (or drive out) the Palestinian people from both Gaza and the West Bank. As of today (Jan 1 2024) over 30,000 Palestinians are either dead or missing in Gaza, and over 57,000 are wounded. Hundreds have been killed in the West Bank, thousands injured, and thousands more ‘detained’ for questioning. 

While majority of the world has been demanding a ceasefire for the past two months…thanks to the US’s blind backing of Israel—the US ambassadors to the UN have vetoed any resolution within the Security Council that calls for an outright ceasefire. They abstained from voting on a extremely watered down humanitarian aid resolution last month.

We’re entering 2024 with numerous genocides being carried out around the world—and one being documented daily, but not stopped or condemned..and I wonder if it’s because the genocide isn’t happening on European soils this time??

When did ‘Never Again’ become ‘Everyday’, and ‘Never Again’ BUT only for ‘selected’ groups of individuals?

Since late October…I’ve realized that there are aspects of history that have been left out of books..whether they’re world history books (such as the Nakba of 1948), or state history books (such as the Tulsa Race Massacre or the Osage murders)…and now I have a goal of becoming a better informed global citizen. Which means I will probably be doing more current event posts within this blog–possibly a weekly recap of the news that I’m sharing daily on LinkedIn and Facebook.

One thing I had quit doing early last year—was my monthly reviews of the previous months. This was in part due to dealing with various things related to my mom being in the hospital, trying to keep my mental health on an even-keel and dealing with a thousand and one other things as well. I’m hoping to get back into do those reviews this year, as I managed to get back into do the new moon & full moon goals towards the end of the year. 

So what are some of the things I managed to get accomplish last year (even with everyone else losing their damn minds)? Well…I managed to read a good number of both fiction and non-fiction books:

Non-fiction:

  1. Madly, Deeply the diaries of Alan Rickman by Alan Rickman
  2. Creativity: A short & cheerful guide by John Cleese
  3. Innercise: The new science to unlock your brain’s hidden power by John Assaraf
  4. It’s okay that you’re not okay by Megan Devine
  5. Oracle Cards 101 by Sunny Johnson
  6. Survivors: The Animals & Plants that time left behind by Richard Foley
  7. Unfuck your brain: using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, and triggers by Faith Harper
  8. Monarchs of the Sea (The Extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
  9. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  10. How to GRASP Confidence and own your power by Tara LaFon Gooch
  11. Conquering your burnout-an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
  12. Beyond Beautiful: A practical guide to being happy, confidence, and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
  13. Things No One will tell Fat Girls: an handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
  14. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundation of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Fiction:

  1. State of Bliss (First Family #6) by Marie Force
  2. Offside Hearts by Nikki Lawson
  3. Born to be Badger (Honey Badger Chronicles #5) by Shelly Laurenston
  4. Iced Out (Heston U #1) by Veronica Eden
  5. The Enforcer (Lakeside University Hockey #1) by Avery Keenan
  6. Jackson (Mercy Ring #1) by Nyssa Kathryn
  7. Declan (Mercy Ring #2) by Nyssa Kathryn
  8. Cole (Mercy Ring #3) by Nyssa Kathryn
  9. Ryker (Mercy Ring #4) by Nyssa Kathryn
  10. The Devil You Know by Veronica Eden
  11. Chase: and the girl who came back by Amber Davis
  12. Mine to Have (Southern Wedding #1) by Natasha Madison
  13. Mine to Hold (Southern Wedding #2) by Natasha Madison
  14. Mine to Cherish (Southern Wedding #3) by Natasha Madison
  15. Mine to Love (Southern Wedding #4) by Natasha Madison 
  16. Mine to Take (Southern Wedding #5) by Natasha Madison
  17. Mine to Promise (Southern Wedding #6) by Natasha Madison
  18. Mine to Honor (Southern Wedding #7) by Natasha Madison
  19. Someone to Love (Wild Widows #3) by Marie Force
  20. Spymaster (Dragon Knights #18) by Bianca D’Arc
  21. Too Close to Home by Abbie Zanders
  22. Where We Belong (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #8) by Claudia Burgoa
  23. The Comeback Pact (Warner University Bullldogs #1) by E.M. Moore
  24. Varsity Series Box Set by Ginger Scott
  25. The Broken Vows by Catharina Maura
  26. Rules of the Game (Rule Breakers #2) by J. Wilder
  27. Rule Number Five (Rule Breakers #1) by J. Wilder
  28. The Temporary Wife by Catharina Maura
  29. The Wrong Bride by Catharina Maura
  30. The Unwanted Marriage by Catharina Maura
  31. Rule Breaker (Wild Card #1) by Nikki Hall
  32. State of Denial (First Family #5) by Marie Force
  33. Wicked Hearts (The Hearts of Swayers Bend #5) by Ivy Layne
  34. Billionaire Unreachable—Wyatt (California Billionaires #5) by J.S. Scott
  35. Finally Found You (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #7) by Claudia Burgoa
  36. One Too Many (Truth in Lies #1) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  37. Two Secrets Kept (Truth in Lies #2) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  38. Three Outs (Truth in Lies #3) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  39. Four Seconds Gone (Truth in Lies #4) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  40. Five Goodbyes (Truth in Lies #5) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  41. Jasmine’s Homecoming (Anderson Heirs #3) by Melody Anne
  42. Forever Goals: Rixon High Epilogue by L.A. Cotton
  43. Hurricane After Dark (Gansett Island #26) by Marie Force
  44. Meant for Me (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
  45. How Much I Need (Miami Nights #5) by Marie Force
  46. Jacob’s Challenge (Anderson Heirs #2) by Melody Anne
  47. The Way of Us (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  48. The Long & Winding Road (Butler VT #9) by Marie Force
  49. Truly You (Luna Harbor #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  50. Finding the Road to Us (Wilder Brothers #6) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  51. Best Friend Temptation (Montgomery Ink Legacy #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  52. Stay Here with Me (Wilder Brothers #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  53. Longtime Crush (Montgomery Ink Legacy #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  54. Love Under Two Rebels (Lusty, Texas #47) by Cara Covington
  55. Coming Home to Us (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  56. Happily Ever Never (Montgomery Ink Legacy Novella) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  57. At First Meet (Montgomery Ink Legacy #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  58. Sweet Noel (Anderson Heirs #1) by Melody Anne

Yes…all fifty-eight of these books are romance (of some sub-genera)…but these are my go-to genera when I’m in a off mood, feeling blue, down, or whatever…and 2023 had more of the ‘negative’ emotions than it did of the ‘happy/positive’ emotions.

Fifty-eight fiction books read…and that number is a very small percent of the number of books that I bought last year, in addition to the number I downloaded on the ‘load your kindle with free books’ days…also fourteen non-fiction book read…also a very small percentage of my non-fiction book list (which grew by probably by a hundred books or so last year). A goal for 2024—not to add any books to the non-fiction list, and to read at least 24 of them; and not to randomly buy fiction books…work my way through the ones I have (plus the pre-orders). I know that there are a handful of authors that I’ll buy books from when they announce publication dates.

I know I worked through possibly a half a dozen e-courses (between Jan-March & then again in September)…I just didn’t really write down that those courses were (I think I downloaded a certificate or two of completion)…

I worked on crafts….finished several—including drawing/doodling, coloring and framing several large drawings:

Large colored & framed doodle…under the sea…my vision

Under the sea…version #2

Mix of dragon eyes and abstract faces

A large needlepoint:

Currently the largest abstract needlepoint project that I’ve finished.

Plus numerous doodles. I’ve also started working on a new afghan–and am hoping to have that project finished by summer.

Going into 2024 I have one REALLY BIG & SCARY GOAL:

Launching the freelance businesses (science/health/med comms/education; and the craft/hobby), and possibly setting up an Etsy store (or other online store) for selling crafts. 

It’s time to start getting serious on the writing for science/health/med comms & health, and figuring out how to earn money via freelance, crafts, and who knows what other side hustle.

Other goals for 2024 include:

  1. Reading at least 24 non-fiction books and reading at least 60 fiction books (with writing at least twenty mini-book reviews)
  2. Continue working on mending my relationship with food & movement; and continue working on improving/healing my mental/emotional/spiritual health as well.
  3. Pick a ‘non-science’ topic and develop ‘niche’ knowledge on it
  4. Write/research/post to each blog at least twice a month…it will probably be more on the creative/hobby/reflective blog—but for the science/health/med one I’m starting ‘slow’.
  5. Write 52 mini-reviews/blurbs on different research papers/topics (basically review one science/health/medical paper a week).
  6. Plus other goals from my 101 goals in 1001 days challenge.

2024 is going to be an extremely scary year…between the powder-keg that West Asia has become and the fact that it is election year here in the states…while I can’t control everything–I’m going pave my path…writing more science, health, medical pieces. Writing more personal/professional growth pieces, creative/hobby pieces, more time on crafts & hobbies..and work at also becoming a better global citizen.

What is your BIG & SCARY goal for 2024?

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Another attempt on 101 goals in 1001-days, with 44 things to do before turning 44

I’ve tried several time since 2018 in doing a 101 goals in 1001-day challenge. I’ve even tried to expand it to 100+ goals in 2002-days. My problem has always been the same: I make the list, and then I only occasionally look at it again to see how I’m doing in terms of the goals—and some of the goals never seemed to feel like ‘mine’. They felt like goals I should put down because they’re ones that ‘society’ deems acceptable.

Last year I also tried to a ’43 things to do before turning 43’ list of goals. The problem: I made that list/goal idea during a really rough time—my mother was still in the hospital, and I thought making a ‘smaller’ list of goals and a ‘tighter’ window would result in the goals being accomplished.

I did manage to accomplish about 44% of the goals that I set last year—as I counted even semi-accomplished (or started) goals in the ‘check’ category. Ones I did start or attempt were considered ‘not done’.

So, I’m three weeks and a few days late in posting this particular post—it is a combination of a new 101 goals in 1001 days list, and a ’44 things to do before turning 44’ goal list.

What’s the difference: I’ve actually picked a handful of 101 goals to try to get accomplished (or at least a good head start on) by my birthday next year. In addition, there are several additional goals at the end of the list that are on my ‘44 things to do’ list that aren’t on (or fit with) the 101 goals in 1001 days.

So what is what? The long list is basically the 101 goals that I’m aiming to accomplish in 1001 days. Items that are bolded are from the 44 things to do before turning 44 list. I’ve determined that I’m going to be having ‘scheduled’ updates—every two months for the 44 things before 44 list, and every 100 days for the 101-goals (plus yearly updates around my birthday).

The areas that I’m focusing on for both lists: career/professional growth; personal growth (including areas of health/wellness, spirituality, and personal finances); and crafts/hobbies (tied with career). Why these areas? Because, they’re the ones that if I focus on will also have the most impact in other areas of life (such as social life, friends/family, contributions/donations and physical environment).

So what are the goals? They include:

  1. Start my freelance science/health/medical communications business
  2. Transition to a remote science/health/medical communications position
  3. Monetize blogs and set up an Etsy store for the crafts and so-forth
  4. Launch a YouTube channel
  5. Launch a podcast
  6. Increase blog/website(s) traffic (aim for 500+ views/day)
  7. Social media following of 500+ across different channels
  8. Launch at least one online course
  9. Hit 10K (and then 12.5K, 15K, 20+K) followers on LinkedIn
  10. Go to at least one scientific conference
  11. Present at least one scientific conference
  12. Renew professional memberships (ASBMB, ASCB; at least once)
  13. More interaction on LinkedIn
  14. Go to at least two professional networking events
  15. Attend at least one blogging conference
  16. Attend at least one author-reader conference
  17. Develop a passive income stream
  18. Complete at least 18 different e-courses
    • Finish at least two CSA advanced programs
    • Finish at least four Udemy courses
    • Finish at least six Skillshare courses
  19. Read at leaet 100 different nonfiction/historical fiction books
    • Read at least 44 nonfiction/historical books before Sept 20, 2024
  20. Become fluent in Spanish
  21. Become fluent in German
  22. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish
    • Learn to say hello and thank you in ten different languages
  23. Complete at least one 365-day photography challenge
  24. Editorial calendars, to-be accomplished lists for both blogs and various social media accounts
  25. Learn python coding
  26. Create a physical vision board and update it regularly
    • Based on my vision/definition of success
  27. Learn basic sign language
  28. Get out of debt
  29. Increase my savings account 500x
  30. Increase my retirement account 500x
  31. No spend challenges
  32. Finish at least one personal finance book and e-course
  33. Get into the best shape of my life
    • Learn about body confidence
    • Create a happiness plan
  34. Daily mediation (work up to twice a day)
  35. Stretch daily
  36. Hold a 90-second plank
  37. Develop (and stick with) a consistent exercise schedule
  38. Make a candle (or two, or three, or more)
  39. Make some mosaic art & resin art
  40. Make some soap
  41. Make some tie-dye clothes/accessories
  42. Draw/doodle, color, and frame a original drawing
  43. Draw/doodle, paint, and frame a original piece of art
  44. Sew something I’d wear
  45. Start my own jewelry line
  46. Make a memorial quilt
  47. Start another afghan (or make some scarfs to donate)
  48. Upload/update photography pages (namely bird pages) on creative/hobby blog
  49. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects
  50. Create my own coffee-table photography book
  51. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs
  52. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art
  53. Monthly new & full moon goals
  54. Daily oracle card drawings
  55. Create my own Wicca/pagan altar & update throughout the seasons
  56. See a coral reef
  57. Tour a vineyard
  58. See the Northern Lights
  59. Go to a Renaissance Festival
  60. Visit at least three countries
  61. Visit at least one ‘new’ national and/or state park
  62. Visit at least one ‘new’ national and/or state monument
  63. Visit at least one ‘new’ zoo
  64. Visit at least one ‘new’ aquarium
  65. Visit at least one ‘new’ state
  66. Visit at least one ‘new’ city
  67. Fly out and/or land at three ‘new’ airports
  68. Make fresh pasta
  69. Learn to make sushi
  70. Learn glass etching
  71. Get a haircut and highlights (light purple, blue, and/or green)
  72. Various top ten author/book series lists (creative blog)
  73. Keep at least three plants alive
  74. Start a succulent garden in a pot
  75. Design a science-based board game
  76. Declutter and downsize
  77. Create a minimal wardrobe
  78. Swim with whale sharks
  79. Put in at least one flower garden around the house
  80. Become better informed in regards to politics
  81. Become better informed in regards to economics
  82. Pick a non-science topic and develop ‘niche’ knowledge on it
  83. Research 30 prominent women throughout history
  84. Write a minimum of 101 mini-book reviews
  85. Write a minimum of 100 blurbs/reviews on different research papers/topics
  86. Start a junk journal
  87. Listen to a different podcast everyday (30-120 day challenge)
  88. Yoga for a minimum of 30 days
  89. 30+ days of iPhone photography
  90. 30+ days of doodling
    • Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings
  91. 30-days of coloring in coloring books
  92. Solo dance parties (minimum of four to five songs)
  93. 30-days of making rubbings of interesting surfaces and textures (leaves, flowers, tree bark, so forth)
  94. Film progress of one (or more) 30-day challenge
  95. Learn a new country (or fact) a day
  96. Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily
  97. Jumping jack/squat challenge
  98. Watch a different TedTalk each day (30-120 day challenge); plus a 100-200 word summary
  99. Create my own cookbook
  100. Ten minutes on the exercise bike (work up to a 5+ mile bike ride)
  101. 30+ days of mind-maps

The last few things from the 44 things to do before turning 44 list:

Complete at least five 30-day challenges (some of which are listed above)

Read at least two ‘new’ banned books

Read at least two ‘new’ classic books

Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series

Finish creating a inspiring work/craft area

Write a letter to my future self (again)

So that is my combined 101 goals and 44 things list…technically could call it a 107 goals in 1001 days…but splitting things up may help me actually complete more of the goals. In terms of updating the lists: I’ll be updating my progress on the bolded items every 60 days (basically the 20th of every other month) and the first update will be Nov 20 2023. In terms of the 101 goals–updates will be every 100 days, with yearly updates on my birthday (so there will a 365 day and 730 day update in addition to all the other updates). The first update for the 101 goals will be Dec 30 2023.

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Check-in on the 150+ goal challenge. 100 days in, & only 1902 days left.

So I’m 100 days into this challenge, and there are sixty-six days left in 2020. We’re also just about a week away from the presidential election as well (fingers crossed it goes the way I’m hoping).

I decided a couple of weeks ago, that I should probably look at the list again, and see if there were any goals that I wanted to remove (for whatever reason), and possibly any goals I wanted to add—but also to see where I was in terms of the different goals.

There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. I will probably continue to shelter in place at least until March of 2021 (when hopefully a possible vaccine is available). I’m still working on trying to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.

As I stated in a previous post, I’m also thinking of replacing the list on the odds and end bucket list with this list—so that change may be occurring soon as well.

So how are things progressing?

Professional development and career:  On-going

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)—going to go with python to begin with.

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack Removed, currently going through the modules but trying to tailor to my needs (program is best for those wanting to get into high level manager type roles—not the greatest for someone switching from research to industry and who also hasn’t been in a manager type role).

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

            10. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #11; though I have started doing my own posts—mainly photographs and quotes; need to start working more on the other 2 (especially the giving/asking for recommendations).

                        11. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

            15. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals—trying to get better at the editorial or to-do-list calendars.

            16. Renew professional memberships—Need to pick just one or two currently to renew; can’t do all at once.

Both Personal and Professional Development—still working on all of these

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books; this will include books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

            22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies—started a few, but need to also start in on others as well

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photographyHave been doing this; started a new challenge (though I haven’t been totally consistent with daily postings) and updating/adding pages

                        27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine—On hold; seems getting a sewing machine there is a 50/50 risk that the machine will have problems winding the bobbin

                        32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans

            35. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

            38. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances—still working on these, since I’m taking time off there isn’t a steady paycheck coming in yet.

            42. Create monthly budgets—currently this is just paying off the bills.

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—some are high, but that is due to buying a couple of personal/professional development courses that were rather expensive.

            44. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)—this will be tied in with #44, #46, and any other ways of trying to earn a little extra cash.

            46. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health—On going

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)—Finished my first round on 9/15/2020

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt (should be done mid-Nov)

                                    54. 10 Rounds—Will be starting this mid-Nov & done by Christmas.

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4 (have already done this program once); 2nd round will be done mid-Nov (combined this with Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt)

                                    58. 22-Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)

                                    68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

                                    73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

                                    76. 80-Day Obsession

                                    77. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnivale

                                    78. Shift Shop: Proving Grounds

                                    79. P90

            Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.

            80. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            81. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            82.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            83.  Hold a 90 second plank

            84.  Meditate nightly

            85.  Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73

            86.  60-80 oz of water a day

            87.  Stretch daily

            88. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            89. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)—on my way; I’ve managed to hit all month goals (and surpass slightly).

Blog and Social Media–Ongoing

            90.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            91.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            92.  Finish blog to biz course

            93.  Launch a YouTube channel

            94. Launch an online course

            95. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            96. Rebrand myself (?)

            97. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            98. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            99. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            100. Publish at least two blog series

            101.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        102. Blog

                        103. Instagram

                        104. Facebook pages

                        105. Twitter

                        106. Pintrest

            107. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            108. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            109. Various top 10 author lists

            110. Various top 10 book series lists

            111. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            112. Full/New Moon Goals

            113. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            114. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings

            115. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; probably on hold now until spring—fall/winter mornings are usually somewhere between the 30s and 50s (if it’s closer to the higher end—maybe).

Others–ongoing

            116. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            117. Design a science based board game

            118. Create and update digital vision board

            119. Reorganize my storage unit

            120. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            121. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            122. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            123. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

                        One challenge will be 100 days of iPhone Photography.

            124. Start downsizing rest of my things./ as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) wherever I move for the next job.

TV shows to binge watch—Haven’t felt like sitting and watching anything lately

            125. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            126. Grimm

            127. The Librarians

            128. Once Upon A Time

            129. Blacklist

            130. Numbers

            131. Agents of SHIELD

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            132. Re-pierce my ears

133. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        134. Present at a scientific conference

            135. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            136. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

            137. Visit at least 3 new countries

            138. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            139. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            140. Visit at least one new zoo

            141. Visit at least one new aquarium

            142. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            143. Visit at least one new city

            144. Visit at least one new state

            145. See the northern lights

            146. Attend at least one blogging conference

            147. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            148. Swim with whale sharks

            149. Parasailing

            150. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #85)

Once I move:

            151. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            152. New couch & chair for living room

            153. New dresser for bedroom

            154. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            155. New TV & stand

            156. New desk/craft workstation

So in terms of the goals:

So I’ve removed one goal (finish the Dream Job Hack program), though I’m still going to work through a little that I think is relevant to what I need to be doing. I did find the program helpful, but it is geared more towards people who have been (or are in) management type positions—while I would like to get there, I know that I probably need to start a step or two below.

I’m making some headway with others—I’ve finished the data science syndicate program from the Cheeky Scientist Association (will be writing a post on late shortly), and am looking forward to trying to learn python and then start building a data science portfolio.

I’m working my way through the medical writers organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program), and am hoping to have that finished by mid-November, and again start working on building up a writing portfolio.

Currently I’m thinking of going in the freelance/online/remote direction for work (namely because of the pandemic and not really wanting to figure out the whole headache of trying to move two animals, all of my stuff, and myself to a different state currently). So in that case, I’m also thinking of possibly rebranding the blog (I have a couple of different names bouncing around, a decision will be made probably early next year sometime).

I’m still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list hybrid that works for me. I’ve realized that I swing between two extremes: I get over-ambitious and try to cram way to stuff in everyday, or I don’t get anything really accomplished.

I’m trying to work on that by possibly going to larger bullet journals that I can paperclip in my to-be-accomplished lists (which would then be discarded once everything as accomplished) instead of having to write out the lists constantly.

I’m also working on a schedule that will let me bounce back and forth between different things. I just finished reading “ How to be everything: A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up” by Emilie Wapnick.

I will be posting a review on the book soon (hopefully this week)—but it was nice to see that I’m not the only one who has felt drawn in different directions and not having a clue how to handle things. I was pleased to find that I’m a mixed-style multipotentialite—someone who goes between having quite a few different projects going on at once to only having one or two projects going on at once.

So that has definitely been a major breakthrough during the last few weeks—now it is a matter of me fully embracing that aspect of myself and figuring how the best ways of working that way—without triggering massive anxiety attacks (stay tuned).

I also removed the “number” of workouts from my fitness goals—the main reason I was starting to get tired. Everyone needs a rest day, and I’ve shown myself that I can still push play on Monday morning even if I take the weekend off (as told by the workout schedule).

So I am slowly making progress on the first ~124 (or I guess 123) goals; the last twenty-odd goals still require the pandemic to be brought under control and for me then to be willing to slowly start leaving the house and going to places that will actually have other people present as well.

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Heading into week 3 of self-quarantining during the SARS-CoV2 pandemic

So we’re now entering week three of the self-quarantine period, and this self-quarantining may last until the end of April, the end of May or it could even go longer. That is the problem with a novel pathogen—we don’t know that much about it. Everyone is hoping that when warmer weather comes it will get rid of the virus. Only problem with that scenario—the southern hemisphere (which is in their summer months) has also been hit by the virus (with some countries having over 4K cases).

Therefore, it is extremely important that we all more or less stay in the house for the foreseeable future. I’ve realized that my only problem during this time period is actually getting things done—I have plenty of things to do, and I will probably cycle through things so that I don’t get overly bored with any particular item/project.

So what did I manage to get accomplished last week while staying at home?

~ Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

            This task has been started; I had ordered a small bookcase and shelving unit—only to realize that I needed an additional shelving unit. That will be coming in hopefully mid-month (as it isn’t considered an essential item). While I’m waiting for that to show (to house the last few books/workout DVDs), I’m still going to try to rearrange things to have a dedicated meditation spot.

            So it is safe to say that his particular task is going to be an ongoing task for the next few weeks.

Filing my taxes—yes, there has been an extension, but if you’re going to get money back—why wait longer than you already have?

            I mailed these off on Tuesday last week. Hopefully within six-to-eight weeks I should have both tax returns in my checking account.

~ Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

            This task has been started. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how many pictures I have on my computer (I think the amount of space/memory for them is somewhere in the ballpark of 95Gb—so I think that some of the pictures will be getting deleted).

Continue working on my afghan

            Once I plan/write out the last portion of the afghan so that I can keep track of the rows, I will be finishing it up over the next couple of weeks.

~ Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

            I’m continuing with Morning Meltdown 100—and trying not to take that many days off (so far it’s been three days off—the 20th, 21st, and 27th). Hopefully should be finishing this program early June.

~ Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

~ Reading

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

~ Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

Ask two or three people what they think my top five skills are

            So I’ve asked several people what they thought my top skills are, and while is helping me fill in a few blanks in terms of what I possibly want to do with my life—there are also other questions I should put out there and ask people what they think.

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

            Again, this is something that I’m finding a little difficult to do—mainly because the weather is getting nice, and I would rather be sitting outside than being inside on the computer.

            This is something that I’m going to need to work on still over the next couple of weeks.

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

            This is something that I’m still working on. I’m trying to figure out what type of things I wouldn’t mind doing on a daily basis (more or less), plus looking to see if there are any types of videos of the numerous different industry jobs.

So that was a recap of what I managed to get accomplished last week. This week I’m going to focus on more or less the same areas (cleaning/decluttering, personal/professional development, health/fitness, and craft time). With that being said, I’m going to be doing the following:

Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

Continue working on my afghan

Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

Reading

Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

Post a question on either Facebook or Linkedin asking people what is the one word they would use to describe me and why—to help me figure out what my personal/professional brand is.

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

I will then end with a few reminders: It’s okay not to be super productive during this time; Progress over Perfection; and also in our rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal we really want to rush back to.

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Realizations and reflections

Well today’s post is going to be somewhat brief, and I will have a catch-up photography challenge post tomorrow. I just realized that over the past two months (and probably longer than that), my posts have been almost all photography posts, with a few others sporadically posted throughout the month.

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I had figured it would be a way of keeping myself accountable in two different areas–personal and professional development (as I job searched), and also a way of sharing different interests (photography, fitness, books, and so forth). One thing I haven’t gotten the hang of totally yet is sitting down and trying to write numerous different posts ahead of time and then scheduling when I would post them on line.

I’ve been better this year at doing my bi-monthly moon goal posts, and my month in review–but that is still only about five additional posts added in to my photography challenge. The photography challenge is also starting to become difficult, because I feel like I’m almost taking the same pictures every week. At least I know where I can start making small daily changes.

I’ve also realized that I’m falling into an almost predictable mood swing pattern–I work on different areas and feel good about myself one month, and then the next I fall prey to that nasty inner voice that has me questioning everything I did the month before. It takes me a week or two to silence the inner critic, but then I have to build back the momentum that I lost–and then I repeat the cycle. I’ve realized that to break this cycle–I need to work on countering the inner critic voice (work on getting out of my own way), and also doing more journaling and getting the thoughts to paper and acknowledging the emotions (instead of ignoring them).

As we head into the second half of 2019, I realize that I’m going to have to make some big decisions about certain things (like when exactly am I going to be doing my “reboot break”), and that while I can’t see all the stairs in front of me–I need to take those first few steps and actually get myself unstuck in order to start really moving forward.

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National Jewel Day & Photography Challenge Day 24 (a day late….)

Well, better late than deciding not to post at all. I thought I had the draft saved last night–but I guess with the high winds and internet/modem problems it didn’t save.

So yesterday (March 13) marks a unique day—it was national jewel day. So the origins of the celebrating jewels on March 13 are unknown (as it isn’t an official holiday)—but there are several different ways of celebrating the day:

You can go out and buy yourself a new piece of jewelry

You can make some new jewelry

Exchange jewelry gifts with friends

Learn about jewels from different cultures

Some of the jewels that can be celebrated include the different birthstones:

Garnet (for those born in January)

Amethyst (for those born in February)

Aquamarine (for those born in March)

Diamond (for those born in April)

Emerald (for those born in May)

Pearl (for those born in June)

Ruby (for those born in July)

Peridot (for those born in August)

Sapphire (for those born in September)

Opal (for those born in October)

Citrine, Yellow Topaz (for those born in November)

Tanzanite, Zircon, Blue Topaz (for those born in December).

I’m a September baby—which means that I really like my sapphires, though I’m also partial to emeralds, yellow topaz, and blue topaz as well. Though jewelry doesn’t necessarily have to have jewels in it to make it fashionable.

Lately I’ve been getting into wearing more sterling silver necklaces (I don’t wear rings or bracelets that often due to being in research position, and at times needing to wear gloves), that have a more old world (pagan) vibe. When I do wear rings, they also fall into that category as well.

A couple of cat pendents that I got online……Ancient Celtic & Egyptian…

I also like my costume jewelry (especially for Halloween), or jewelry that is based off of movies (such as the Harry Potter series).

Harry Potter necklaces: the time turner and then the golden snitch

I do have a couple of bracelets that I don’t wear all that often (again mainly due to working in the lab and not wanting things to tear the gloves when I’m wearing those.

Charm bracelets…

One of the bracelets was a gift from my niece, and the other is one that I wear around Halloween time (depending on the costume).

One of these days I’m planning on getting my ears re-pierced, as there are so many cool earrings out there now. I had my ears pierced twice when I was younger, but have allowed the holes to heal back over. So we will have to see if I manage to get my ears re-pierced in the near future, I’m pretty sure that I’ve saved most of my old ear rings (they’re with the rest of my jewelry in storage), so I’d probably have some “vintage” pairs to share pictures of on the next national jewel day.

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