Category: Updates

Accipitridae family section complete: Mississippi Kite & Sharp-shinned Hawk pages are live

So currently the last two Accipitridae family pages have been uploaded today.

Mississippi Kites sitting atop some cedar trees at Boomer Lake

Both of the birds are seasonal visitors to Stillwater. The Mississippi kites are here from late spring through early/mid autumn. At least one pair nests around Boomer Lake, I’m sure that there are other pairs also at the lake, but possibly back in the wooded areas or closer to the golf course.

They easy to spot during the summer time, especially in the mornings, sometimes in the afternoon, and then again in the evenings.

Possible young female sharp-shinned hawk

The sharp-shinned hawks are our winter guests, staying from probably late fall/early winter until mid-spring, when they probably start migrating back up north to their breeding territories.

I will admit that there are times when I almost trip over the bird before I see it–and that was how this one was–which is why only one out of the four pictures turned out decently. I’m thinking that when I do manage to start walking at Boomer Lake in the mornings, I’m going to try to keep my eye out for the hawks–especially the ones that sit still in the trees waiting for a meal to either dart out across the field or fly past.

So, these two pages currently round out the members of the Accipitridae family that I’ve seen in the wild.

There are twenty-two species that can be seen within the US, Canada, and Mexico–and currently I have pictures of five of them (or 22%). I have seen a couple of the other hawks–I just don’t have pictures of them. When I do manage to get pictures of them, they will be added to the Accipitridae section.

Therefore to finish off the Accipitriformes order, I will be adding in the family and species pages for the osprey next. Then it will be order and family pages for the ruby-throated hummingbird. After those four pages, I will start working down a long list of birds that I’ve managed to get pictures of over the years.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyScienceUpdates

Thoughts after completing first round of Muscle Burns Fat

So last week marked the end of my first round of Muscle Burns Fat.

This was a three-week program that Beachbody released last year–I started it right after I finished my first round of 10 Rounds, and am currently going through the follow-up program Muscle Burns Fat Advance (review coming early Feb).

So, as I mentioned on the page for Muscle Burns Fat that I posted under the fitness tab–I came to enjoy the program towards the end.

I’ve realized that I really do enjoy lifting weights and strength training–though some exercises (such as triceps pushups or dips)–are no-go’s due to my arm bone structure (I have slightly curved arms).

I’m still working on trying to do a ‘normal’ lunge without weights–I have no idea when I will be able to hold weights and do a lunge–but it is something I’m working on.

The main downsides that I felt with the program were the BOD ropes–I hate them (even with going into the next program), it just doesn’t feel like I’m getting my heart rate up with them, and also I get tired of occasionally hitting myself in the leg or arm with them.

Also I didn’t like how ‘static lunges’ were called ‘split-squats’. A lunge is a lunge; if you split a squat in half–you’re doing a damn lunge.

I did get use to the format of the program–it was filmed during the pandemic, so all the cast were working out via Zoom, so it was getting little peaks into people’s lives and homes. I just found it strange and a little distracting at first when a second screen would pop-up at the top of the video.

While it has been awhile since I’ve done 21-Day Fix (and I’m actually going to be doing the live version come March–after I finish both MBFA and then Barre Blend), the formats of the two programs were different.

21-Day Fix has two days of active recovery–Pilates and yoga (days 4 and 7, if I’m remembering correctly), Muscle Burns Fat only has one day of active recovery and that is day 7 (Sunday).

Another difference is that while both have modifiers, 21-Day Fix also had someone working out with the resistant band on a few of the days–muscle burns fat was straight dumbbells.

I did start to enjoy the program towards the end–though I will probably always detest the EMOM (every minute on the minute) workouts, hopefully when I do a second round of the program, I’m either lifting heavier or able to do all the push-ups.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthReflectionsUpdates

Disruptions this week lead to way-laid plans.

So things have been slightly crazy the past week or so, and such I’m behind on my writing/editing/imaging/posting schedule.

I’ve realized a couple of things this week–while I don’t have a normal 9-5 job, what routine I have, I don’t like disturbed. There were several disruptions over the past two weeks (and they’re not finished for a few days), to the point that the only thing I managed to really accomplish on those days were my workouts.

While I knew that I could get a few things done while waiting for my brother to show up–I didn’t because a) I wasn’t sure how long the tasks would last (reading/taking notes/posting articles to twitter and LinkedIn); and b) we weren’t entirely sure of his arrival time.

I also know that in theory I can get things done in the evenings (and for the most part I do)–but I can get more done if I also make use of some of the time before dinner (instead of reading or doing a color-by-number picture).

I also need to dedicate just a little bit of time daily on the task of organizing files on my computer–I spent an entire morning this week after my workout trying to clear out files and I only made a very small dent. While it was a small accomplishment, I felt afterwards like I could have used some of the time for another small project (such as reading articles and sharing them).

Therefore:

It is looking like the science recap could be a biweekly occurrence (at least for January).

In addition, I’m hoping for a Wednesday (probably biweekly) post over a research paper, and this may start next Wednesday (January 27th).

I’m hoping to start adding more to the hawk/eagles/kites group under the birding section over the next week as well.

So I know that there is a problem–the solutions?

Waking up early (at least twice a week)–this will be possibly the most difficult solution to try, mainly because the pup is still getting me up once a night (usually somewhere between 11 and 3), and it takes me awhile to fall back to sleep. But a goal will be to see if I can get up before seven without an alarm this week.

Use time-management apps to block access to different sites, so I don’t spend a good chunk of my day aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. While I should probably add LinkedIn to the list–I do need to try to be more active on it (but in all honesty–I should be saying that for the other sites as well).

Limit the amount of time I’m spending on the color-by-number picture app on my kindle. I know that I manage to color at least three to five pictures a day–and if you account for the time per picture–it’s probably 3-4 hours total throughout the day (an hour is fine–but how far in excess I am–I need to change that).

Have a very short and specific to-do (or to-be-accomplished) list for the day and a slightly longer one for the week.

Also be semi-specific in terms of what I’m going to do when I take my mini-breaks (instead of wandering, grabbing some chocolate, and heading back to the computer).

So to sum up–I don’t like having my routine (such as it is) disrupted continuously. Also I know that having unstructured time is important in the day (we really shouldn’t be trying to be busy all day)–having too much is just as bad as trying to accomplish too much in the day. I seem to be going back and forth between the extremes. Hopefully over the next few weeks I can find a good balance between the two. Also I think that the ‘first’ day of 2021 is probably going to be the 21st of the month.

No Comments ReflectionsUpdates

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.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesodds and endsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravelUpdates

Update on site: Check out the birds!

So the website will be getting updated periodically (hopefully weekly, but definitely biweekly). I realized that I have several pages within the blog that I don’t add to consistently, and I’m hoping to change that fact.

First up—I decided to add a new page called Birds, birds, and birds. The topic of the pages associated with it is specific—birds. Since I enjoy doing bird photography, I decided that I would dedicate a page to the topic. I’m hoping that each week I can add a new page to the series.

Currently the only additional page that is listed is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I will also be updating the Travel page as well—and it may be alternating weeks with the bird page.

I will still be posting photography photos on the blog (and the photography page), but decided to also give certain subjects home pages as well.

In terms of the other pages—Fitness will have three additional pages added to it before the end of the year, and I will probably have several blog posts as well throughout the rest of the year.

Adding to the All Things Science page will be a little more sporadic (I’m hoping to add a page once a month, as it will be a fairly in-depth coverage of a subject), but also adding in some blog posts as well.

I’m also thinking of redesigning/renaming the Odds & Ends Bucket List—to the 150+ Challenge in 2002 days, and have both pages and maybe even blog posts associated with it as well.

In addition, I’m thinking of adding in a spirituality page that will cover my rediscovery journey to being a wiccan/pagan.

Finally, I’m hoping to get into a consistent mode where I’m adding to the site weekly (probably different topics), but at the same time helping to improve science education/communications; educate, and just help others who may also feel like they don’t really fit the mold of the current society.

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