Tag: crafts

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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First quarter is done…onwards into the second quarter of 2024

So, the moon is going to be heading into it’s latest new moon phase this coming Monday, April 8—also marking a solar eclipse at the same time. There is a chance that Stillwater will at least have a partial eclipse during the early afternoon—so I’ve ordered some eclipse glasses to hopefully observe the eclipse this year (if I remember to head outside around the correct time—and it isn’t overcast—which it is currently forecasted as). But before looking ahead to the Aries new moon, it’s time to look back at the goals that I’d set for the Pisces new moon and see how I did with each of the goals.

The goals that I included for the Pisces new moon included:

  1. Continuing to work on the afghan
  2. Determine which ‘goals’ from the 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001 days will be added to the second quarter BINGO card and/or just listed out in the journal
  3. Brainstorm ideas for an intentional movement board game (include resistance training, yoga, cardio, dancing, walking and so forth).
  4. Start brainstorming different ideas (creative writing projects & science/health/med topics) to then expand via mind-mapping.
  5. Work on setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar that doesn’t become a catchall for craft supplies (namely threads for needlepoint projects).

So how did I do with each of these goals?

Working on the afghan:

Well I’m a little over 60% done with the afghan. Last week I had to knit a small piece to finish up the third large column (somehow it was a little too short—not sure how that happened), and last night I started working on the first of the four border pieces. I’m hoping to have the afghan totally finished by the end of the month…though it could be possibly mid-May before I’m totally done with it. The below pictures highlight the afghan…once it’s totally complete, I’ll place it on a larger bed to be able to get a good picture of it.

The ‘main’ portion of my latest afghan, which is a flame motif (which is extremely difficult to currently see). Once finished this afghan will probably fit nicely on a queen size bed.

Selecting ‘goals’ from the combined ’44 things to do before turning 44’ and 101 goals in 1001-days to work on during this second quarter of 2024:

Below are the selected goals that I’m focusing on during the second quarter of 2024, along with possibly other goals once some of these have been completed:

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

Plus there are other things I can attempt to work into my schedule—like figuring out how to create a calendar (then figure out do I offer it just online or what); crafts, and then there is a bunch of other things that I just need to become better disciplined at doing (like creating and publishing all the different bird pages) things.

Brainstorming ideas for an intentional movement board game:

I have a rough draft of a basic board game drawn out (see below):

Rough draft of an intentional movement board game
First draft of my intentional movement board game

What I need to do now is develop the ‘rules’ for the game, making tracking sheets (mainly for the weights), and finally just start ‘playing’ with the game. Reminder to self: put on tennis shoes & socks…most of these ‘intentional movement’ shouldn’t be done while wearing slippers.  

Brainstorm ideas for different projects (creative writing projects & science/health/med topics): 

I have several different ideas for creative writing projects. There is going to be an ‘dinosaur and other ‘ancient’ creatures’ piece. ‘Interviews’ with various goddesses & gods; and several other ideas. The only one that is semi-fleshed out (in terms of a rough draft of an outline is part of the dinosaur portion of that project)—all other ideas are just the ‘broad’ ideas currently.

I have at least three ‘large’ blog project ideas down on paper for the science, health, medical blog: oncology (which I’ve already started), a cell biology series, and then possibly going into metabolism & why certain supplements aren’t worth one’s time or money.

Setting up an ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan altar

This is still a semi-work in progress goal. I have an area where I have several goddess statues and other crystals, but currently it’s a little ‘crowded’. A goal is to get a shelf near by that can hold the ‘overflow’ from the altar—basically have an ‘Wiccan/pagan’ corner of the room, where I can read oracle cards (either in the morning or the evening).

Conclusions:

So I’d set five goals for the Pisces new moon—two I’d considered to be ‘finish-able’ projects: working on the afghan & setting up the Wiccan/pagan altar, in addition to making the list of goals from the combined 44 things before 44 & 101 goals in 1001-days. In terms of these three projects I’d say I managed about 75% (the goals are listed; the ‘dedicated’ Wiccan/pagan corner is coming along; and I should be finished with the afghan by the end of April or mid-May at the latest).

The brainstorming goals I wasn’t sure if I’d “finish” (aka get anything down onto paper) or not. The intentional movement game has been ‘brainstormed’—I just need to make the rules, tracking sheets & just start up a routine. The various writing projects have been brainstormed (kinda, more or less—at least in part for the science, health, medical blog). So I’d say I was 85% productive with the brainstorming sessions (I’m not making a total 100% since I didn’t really mind map that many of the projects further).

So—basically managed about 80% of the goals listed for the Pisces new moon. Do I know what ‘side-tracked’ some of the progress. Yes—in terms of the afghan, I was ‘dog-sitting’ for several nights, and had to switch up my craft project for those few nights—which put me behind schedule. But, I started working on the border pieces last night, and should possibly be done with the first border piece by the upcoming weekend.

Setting up the Wiccan/pagan corner is taking time—because I need to clean/purge at the same time—it’s not fun/easy when you’re trying to have a bedroom be multiple things: sleep space, work space, craft space, meditation/spiritual, and if possible workout/fitness space as well. 

I’ll take the 80% success rate for the Pisces new moon..and aim to hit at least 85-to-90% of the goals for the upcoming Aries New Moon (and total solar eclipse).  The other thing I’m going to keep reminding myself of: progress over perfection—since perfection is a myth, and everyone has a different idea of what it looks like.

What did you manage to get done during the Pisces new moon?

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Review of Pisces Goals: Procrastination Habits Acknowledged & Progress on Projects

So the moon will be entering its full moon for September tomorrow night, which means I should look back at the goals that I set for the August Super Blue Moon (since it had two). This also means that we’re basically down to the last quarter of 2023.

So what goals did I make for the Pisces Super Blue Moon? They included:

  1. Troubleshooting my weekly ‘schedule’—making notes of what blocks of periods work, what doesn’t work; am I trying to cram too much stuff in on any particular day; are there days that may be better served as ‘brainstorming’/‘learning’ days?
  2. Spend at least fifteen to thirty minutes a day on some type of craft project
  3. Working on both blogs—getting the second blog up and ‘running’ (having the home page & about me pages written, and having the ‘blog’ portion live with at least one post by the end of September); working on editorial calendars, and so forth.
  4. Work through at least part of one personal/professional e-course.

So how did I do with each of them?

Troubleshooting my weekly schedule:

I had hopes that I would be done ‘troubleshooting’ my weekly schedule this week and could commit to a schedule come October. Well—what I’ve found is that my evening block is best spent doing crafts and relaxing, and I’d rather flip and move around times for doing chores and cooking instead of blocking those off in the late afternoon.

I also think that on Wednesdays, I will be dedicating more time to brainstorming and/or e-courses in addition to the chores for the day. I also need to get better at actually doing things on the weekends. Usually I’ve managed to get about sixty percent of things I want done during the week done…goal for the last quarter is to get that percentage up to eighty percent.

Spending at least fifteen minutes to a half hour on crafts:

I’m starting to spend more time in the evenings working on my large needlepoint project (and hopefully will have it done by Thanksgiving weekend if not by Halloween). One thing I’d realized over the past week, is that unless I’m doing crafts (and taking progress photos) there isn’t a lot of new photographs to share (since I was going to try to do a 365-day photography challenge). But that is something again to work on during the fourth quarter of the year.

Working on both blogs:

Well, I have the second blog/website (the science/health/medical) up and ‘running’. Basically other than the blog and portfolio pages, the rest are all visible. I had planned on getting a blog post up last week, but stuff happened (we unexpectedly lost one of our cats) and that blog post never happened. But it is on the schedule for October. 

I have also posted at least four times to this blog, while I had a bigger goal in mind (say weekly)—I’ll take being at least consistent in being sporadic in posting. Again, becoming more consistent is on the schedule for October.

Working through another e-course:

I worked through/watched ‘The Ten Steps for Getting Your Point Across in Writing’ on Udemy. The main thing I got from this course—I don’t spend enough time on the planning and editing stages of writing. That will change (especially for the science/health/medical site) moving forward.

Progress is being made in terms of both time and project management. The fourth goal (which was the only ‘yes/no’ in terms of total completion) was completed, and progress on the other three were made. Scheduling (or time blocking) is the aspect of time/project management that I need to get better at during the next few months. 

I know that I switch things up at the last minute because I feel I will either get bored or not get the task completed to my ‘liking’ (aka fear of failure and my inner critic is rearing it’s ugly head again). How will I work with my inner critic? Well, I could offer it an unlimited supply of cookies and brownies…which means focusing more on baking than content creation. So—maybe (at least every so often). Basically, I need to dedicate a good chunk of time to the planning stage of projects (outlines, determining what style(s) of communication I can get out of said outline; and then making (and sticking) with a reasonable deadline schedule). This means that to begin with I may only have a blog post monthly on the new site, and once I get enough outlines/mind maps made it could move to biweekly, and then weekly.

It is better to start at a slow jog, than to try to sprint my way to a ‘finish’ line that may or may not be the one for me.

The two phrases I need to keep in mind as I move forward with various endeavors: ‘progress over perfection’ and ‘done is better than perfect, because perfect never gets done’.

As the moon moves into Aries, it is time to take a look at things and figure out where I’ve been stalling in goals…and that is the subject of the next Full Moon Goals post.

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Crafts, reading, e-learning, and walking: April goals in review

So, we’ve entered May—that means there are only eight months left in 2022. Hopefully things may start to ‘mellow’ and ‘level out’, but I’m not holding my breath. While the ‘reset’ hasn’t quite happened yet—I’m going to head into the second ‘third’ of the year focusing on just a few things: creativity (writing, crafts, photography, and reading), curiosity (research, writing, and networking), and moving forward with the goal of landing a remote communications position within the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or agricultural sectors.

I mentioned last month how I felt like the first quarter has been a ‘testing’ quarter for different things (setting a schedule and so forth)—April was hit and miss on keeping the schedule and other things. While I did mange to get several things accomplished, I will also admit that I fell short on quite a few other things. One reason: I’m still not handling the possibility of a greater global conflict very well—when I get super stressed or down, I have the terrible habit of spending money. That means I now need to head into the second month of the second quarter of the year with a more solid plan for personal/professional development, writing, networking, crafts, and just life in general.

So, it looks like the SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay. There are only a few places in the world that are currently ‘virus-free’, and that ‘label’ will come and go as more people get back to traveling.

While it may look like I’m against traveling—I’m not, I’m just advocating for safe travels (wearing masks, carrying hand sanitizer, and social distancing). I may start traveling again next year, but will be weighing the pros and cons of any trip (especially any possible international trip), by asking myself if the trip will be worth the slight chance of catching the virus.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘March in Review’ on April 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 81.7 million cases and now as of May 1st —we have reached a little over 83.0 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.3 million cases). Numbers are going down, but is it due to the people vaccinating or just not going and getting tested??

Before trying to set my goals for May, I should look back at the goals I set for April and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for April included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least five minutes of intentional movement each day (aiming to lift weights, cardio, walking, and so forth)
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
  9. Writing, writing, and some more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps; I managed to 165,500 steps for the month of April. Since we’re into the spring weather, I managed to do a nature walk at Boomer Lake almost weekly (I think I only missed the last weekend of the month). I haven’t walk Chaos as much as I should, but that is due to the fact that cement/pavement is quite a bit warmer than the air, and while the neighborhood has trees—there aren’t that many that shade the streets.
  2. At least five minutes of intentional movement; weight lifting and so forth—I have the weight lifting tracking sheets in the journal. I managed two days of lifting—but then concentrated on walking/chores/moving, because I had to give my elbows time to heal. Yes, you read that right—I had to let my elbows heal. I had only been using 2-to-12 pound weights over those two days (the 2-pound weights were for the reverse fly, and the 12-pound weights were for the chest press). I’d used 8-pound weights for the bicep curls, and while I felt fine the rest of the day, and part of the next day by the day after that—I could barely move my arms, my elbows hurt that much. Needless to say, I’m fine—I just forget at times that due to having multiple hereditary osteochondroma (basically benign tumors at the end of all my long bones), I’m bow-legged and bow-armed (my arms aren’t straight). Which means, I have trouble doing lunges, push-ups, and obviously can’t start with eight-pound weights for bicep curls.
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books:
    • The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness through the power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
    • Lagom: Not too little, not too much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books: I usually have no troubles reading fiction books (well, with the exception of trying to expand the genera that I read), and managed to read nine books this month:
    1. One Way Back to Me (The Wilder Brothers #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    2. Falling Embers (Tatter & Torn Series #2) by Catherine Cowles
    3. My Favorite Night (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #0.5) by Claudia Buroga
    4. Until Next Time (Against All Odds: The St. James Family #1) by Claudia Buroga
    5. Something Like Love (Against All Odds: The St. James Family #2) by Claudia Buroga
    6. Wrong Text, Right Love (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #1) by Claudia Buroga
    7. Didn’t Expect You (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #2) by Claudia Buroga
    8. Love Like Her (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #3) by Claudia Buroga
    9. Fated in Winter (Redwood Pack/Talon Pack Crossover) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge: Umm, I think I managed maybe one percent of the month…so next goal please…
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings: Other than the time outdoors, I’ve been bouncing back and forth on doing the other three on a consistent daily basis. Since I haven’t had a entire month of doing oracle card readings, I’ll be using one of the decks from earlier this year (I have four to choose from)—I may actually try to see if I can manage the next four months of doing a card reading each day.
  7. Craft time: I managed several days of photography and have made a little bit of progress on the cross-stitch project.
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course:
    1. Freelance Medical Writing as a Career Choice (on Udemy)
    2. How to create a portfolio to get into medical writing (on Udemy)
    3. Getting started with Canva for beginners: CANVA BASICS #1 (on Skillshare)
    4. A free five-day email LinkedIn training course (and I then bought and am currently working through the more in-depth LinkedIn training course)
  9. Writing, writing, and some more writing: In terms of writing—I got the usual posts (March in Review, March New Moon Goals in Review, March Full Moon Goals in Review, April New Moon Goals, April Full Moon Goals, April New Moon Goals in Review, and the Taurus New moon goals; plus a book review) written. In addition, I also got my 626-Day check-in for the 100+ goals written and published—and that managed to skyrocket the views on the blog for a couple of days (I mean I actually got over 1,000 views in a single day). So—now I have something to work towards repeating (and on a more consistent schedule).

So, in terms of how I did overall—I managed to meet the step goal, the reading goals, and working through some personal/professional development e-courses. I fell short (as usually) on the intentional movement, limited spending, and the mental/spiritual health aspects of the goals.

But—I acknowledge and aim to do better (I’m actually reading a book on the brain right now—so maybe I can figure out how to tame my mental gorilla).

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I was going to focus on: creativity (writing, crafts, photography, and reading), curiosity (research, writing, and networking), and moving forward with the goal of landing a remote communications position within the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or agricultural sectors. I want to also add in spirituality to both the curious and creative aspects of doing things. I may spend money here and there (hopefully not to the extent I’ve done so far this year), and I know the best way to avoid it is to delete the silly games on the kindle.

So what are my goals for May? They’re going to include:

  1. At least 130-155,000 steps
  2. Starting to lift weights, do more cardio, yoga, walking, and so forth
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (have mini book reviews written for at least two of them)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge–delete the one damn game on the kindle
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working though at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
  9. Writing, writing and more writing

I’ll add in working on improving my time and project management skills as well (they’re not bolded—because they can be considered a part of each and every goal that is listed above).

In terms of the writing projects—I have several that are bouncing around in my head (I actually have a ‘rough’ draft going for one of them); I just need to try to finish at least one of them (and decide how many ‘blog posts’ I can get out of it). Therefore, I may also start posting some science posts, history posts, art history posts and so far—so there may be a little more variety to the site.

I’m also working on figuring out my ‘brand’ as well. While I think I have the ‘statement’ down, I’m also working on choosing the colors and fonts—I took a couple of quizzes and got the results of mystical and serene. Just need to figure out how to blend them—or I may just go with the serene (works a little better with the ‘science/medical/health communications aspect that I’m thinking of starting with). Therefore the theme of the blog may be changing as well at some point.

Happy thoughts/good vibes are continuing to be sent to the people of Ukraine who are fighting to keep their country intact.

Therefore, just as a reminder: if you follow me on other social media sites—I will probably have some political and/or religious posts/statements. I won’t apologize for my views (I believe in science, education for all, healthcare for all, women’s right to choose, people’s right to marry who they want, people identifying as they choose, and the separation of church and state—I’m a mix of pagan, wiccan, and atheist).

I will say this again—if my post is ‘upsetting’—ask yourself why you find it upsetting. I don’t share things to offend, but I do share to help try to educate in addition to showing my stance on various topics.

Therefore on the eve of this new moon, I send healing thoughts and vibes to the people of Ukraine and Russia. Nothing is gained through the loss of lives…

Namaste…

What is your top goal for May?

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

Pisces New Moon in Review: Reflections and a Writing Goal

So the moon has transitioned into its fourth new moon phase last night—so I’m going to be a day or so late in posting the April New Moon goals. I talked about how the first quarter of the year was my ‘testing’ quarter—hopefully will get back into some type of consistent posting this month.

But before I look ahead to the April new moon, I should look back at the goals I had set for the Pisces new moon, and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Pisces new moon goals?

Well, they included:

  1. Work on indulging in more creative work during the day
  2. Spend at least part of the day mind-mapping different ideas (creative writing projects plus expanding the writing portfolio)
  3. Create an intentional movement board game (include weight lifting, yoga, Pilates, cardio, dancing, walking, and so forth)
  4. Continue with an evening meditation routine and also try to meditate in the morning as well.

So, how did I do with each of them?

I would like to state, that only two (creating mind maps and the board game) are ‘one-and-done’ goals, while the other two are ‘continuous’ goals.

Therefore, I would say that the only two that I was semi-consistent were the evening ‘meditation’ (which is currently just sitting quietly for a few minutes at night), and managing some photography throughout the month (though it wasn’t on a day-to-day basis).

While I like my personal/professional development board game, I decided that trying to d a fitness one wasn’t really going to work. I couldn’t decide on how many squares—did I do one for each type of lifting workout, how spaced should they be (one square, three, or more?), and how many of the other workouts (yoga, Pilates, cardio, walking, and say dancing) should be added?

Therefore, I decided I’d copy down (and modify) the tracking sheets from a fitness program I’ve done a couple of times (leaving off the pushups and lunges). I could dedicate several pages within the journal to the tracking sheets, and then I’ll make a list of different cardio, yoga, Pilates workouts that I can choose from for the non-lifting days.

Then I will simply charge the iPod, put it on shuffle and do a workout each day (also taking into account rest days and ‘active’ recovery days [yoga and Pilates]).

I have at least one mind-map completed for a rather large ‘omic’ writing project that I’m going to start on this coming month—in addition to the other large writing project that I’m toying with (melding the ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ with the topics of GMOs, biofuels, and vaccines).

I’m still debating on the oncology topic(s) that I’m going to write on (currently I’m thinking focusing on pathways that are ‘disregulated’ by different cancers), and work on the mind map for those topics.

So, I can possibly say I ‘managed’ possibly half the goals? There was time sitting quietly, and there was some craft time, and some mind mapping—just not always constantly or consistently.

As I mentioned last night in my ‘March in Review’ post—I’d let my inner critic/imposter syndrome drive the ‘fear’ train during the first quarter of the year. Changing directions is difficult, and when you live in the ‘analytical’ side of your head for years—its slightly difficult to move into the ‘creative’ side and get things up and going (such as writing, photography, crafts, and learning).

One thing I’m going to do is write everyday. Whether or not I ‘publish’ what I write daily—well, that is a whole other question (and will depend on what I’m writing). But currently I’m thinking of at least a biweekly (possibly weekly) photography page with its accompany blog post (currently would be focused on birds), and then possibly a biweekly travel page with its accompany blog post (currently would be focused on ‘throwback’ vacations, though may add in ‘wish list’ travel blog posts [places I’d like to travel to and things I’d like to see]).

When it comes to my ‘why’—I think I’ve figured them out: I want to help improve science communications between the general public and the science community, I want to help improve science education (show that it isn’t boring or dull), and share my story as I’m rediscovering my enjoyment of learning, writing, and sharing it with others.

So, I will be also be starting a weekly science series within the next few weeks—I just need to make sure that I have enough written ‘before’ hitting ‘publish’. The current two ‘large’ series I’ve already mentioned above (the ‘omic’ project and the molecular cloning/GMO/biofuel/vaccine project).

So, I digressed a little on the topic—but that is the ‘joy’ of free flow writing—you just write, and possibly go back and edit out what doesn’t make sense. Since this is a post on goals and reflections—I think I’ll leave the few meandering paragraphs on how I’m going to work on improving things.

Therefore, I can say that I’ve been embracing the phrase ‘progress over perfection’.

The Pisces ‘new moon season’ has come to an end, and it is now time to embrace the Aries season–which is also the ‘start’ of the astrological year. This means, that I can ‘reset’ my long-term, yearly, monthly, and weekly goals to match the ‘new future’.

What is that future: A future where I’m a both a content creator and a copywriter all rolled into one.

What are some of your tricks for dealing with your inner critic when it gets totally out of hand?

Namaste….

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Some craft time and planning–now on to creating the various calendars: Leo Full Moon in Review

So, we’re going to be heading into the third full moon of the year either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world). That means we’re a little over two and a half months into 2022. But, before I look ahead to the Virgo full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Leo full moon, and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Leo full moon goals?

They included:

  1. Develop an intentional movement calendar (weight lifting, cardio, yoga, and walking). Remembering that this is my health journey and no one else’s—therefore the intentional movement should be things that I enjoy doing.
  2. Develop a schedule for working through various courses and assignments to move forward with the goal of transitioning to a remote writing/data analysis position and hopefully setting up a freelance writing/blogging business.
  3. Spend time working on crafts (start a new cross-stitch project, doodle, color, make jewelry, and when the weather warms up—photography time up at Boomer Lake)
  4. Evening oracle card reading, straighten up my meditation altar, and designing a new meditation ‘area’ (one that can be easily setup and dismantled each evening).

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of the intentional movement calendar—I’m breaking it down into steps:

  1. Creating a table to keep track of the weights I’m lifting and see how I’m progressing (based off the weight tracking sheets for LIIFT4)
  2. Determining what type of exercises to put together for HIIT workouts (possibly taking moves from various workout programs)
  3. Debating on whether to order yoga and/or Pilates workouts or finding decent YouTube workouts
  4. Then working in shadow-boxing and other cardio-based exercises as well (in addition to walking, and possibly biking)

Then my weekly workouts will be ‘planned’ around the weather, since as it gets nice out I may want to try to do a walk or two at Boomer Lake. Though even on the days that I do weight lifting (or other workouts), I may still take my dog for a walk through the neighborhood (depending on the temps).

In terms of the ‘educational’ schedule—this really hasn’t happened yet. It isn’t so much not wanting to learn, but my currently ‘unchecked’ need to be checking on the news every hour or so to keep up to date with what is happening with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I’m slowly starting to spend some more time on crafts. I’m starting a new cross-stitch project, will probably finish the other (it will become more doodle inspired and abstract), and managed to get some photography time in up at Boomer Lake.

I’m continuing with my evening oracle card reading (have only missed one or two nights over the past month), have straightened up my meditation altar, and am still working on designing the meditation area.

I know that I can fold blankets and use those as the ‘mat’ for meditating (I just will need to pick them up afterwards), but I’m also want an area for candles (and the current candle area is across the room from where I’d be meditating)—so I’m thinking of ‘creating’ a small table to house the candles near the meditation area as well.

So, I could say that I met possibly a quarter of my goals—possibly up to a third. The online learning has become slightly stagnant again because of the need to keep up to date on the issues of the world (even though my blood pressure and mental health would probably thank me if I stayed away from the news/social media more than what I’ve been doing).

I’ve also realized that at times I’m trying to fit the ‘wrong’ goals into the month. While the ‘house/zone’ is only present for a few days (since the moon does rotate at a good pace)—I should have one or two for that ‘house/zone’ and another one or two that are more ‘general’.

Going forward this year—I’m going to try to embrace and my sisu or inner grit/determination (I’m looking into my cultural heritage more for ideas/inspiration for improving my mental, emotional, and spiritual health).

How do you try to improve/strengthen your inner strength/determination?

Finally, I’d like to send happy vibes, thoughts and prayers to the citizens of Ukraine who are still fighting to keep their country free.

Namaste.

No Comments AstrologyCraftsFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Review of the start of the fourth quarter.

There are now only sixty days left in 2021. The summer seemed to have flown by, and fall is seemingly racing into winter. October became a whirlwind of issues—spotty Wi-Fi (a decade old+ router and modem are going to be getting replaced hopefully sometime early November), vet appointments, and just general craziness.

We’re also heading into the holiday season, which means for most people—even more craziness. Luckily, we’re fairly low-key for the holidays (mainly Thanksgiving and Christmas). Everyone may get a single present at Christmas, and turkey day is treated like almost any other day (with the exception of snacks being laid out).

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was approved for boosters—so at some point, I’ll be heading to a pharmacy (or possibly waiting for another city-wide clinic) to get my booster (and possibly flu vaccine). Though, I’ll still be self-isolating through the winter and early spring.

I’m still staying away from the media as much as possible this fall/winter—mainly because I’m trying to control my stress/anxiety levels and focus on figuring out what to start writing about to showcase as part of a portfolio for freelance/remote/contract work. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus in the US, when I published ‘September in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 44.3 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 46.8 million cases (so we had just a little over 2.5 million cases last month; the numbers are slowly starting—that could be due in part to companies starting to mandate vaccines for workers. The Pfizer vaccine was approved for kids five to eleven, so hopefully things are going to start leveling out, and we’ll be at less than 50,000 cases per month).

So, the only age group that currently isn’t eligible for the vaccine is kids under the age of five (and I’m not sure if that clinical study is going on or not). But everyone else is eligible for the shot—so please, if you want things to be somewhat ‘normal’, get the damn shot (and booster), and if you have kids over the age of five—get them vaccinated. (End rant)

Since I was having Wi-Fi issues throughout last month, I’m still working on finishing up the ‘reorganization’ of the pages/tabs for the website. In terms of the ‘photography’ section—it currently all resides under ‘birding photography’, with all ‘non-bird’ photography launching off of the ‘everything else photography’ page at the bottom of the ‘bird photography’ section.

For the other three ‘areas’ (science/medical education and communication; personal/professional development, and health and wellness), I’m going to be putting examples of ‘large’ and ‘small’ projects in the sections, but also then doing blog series—but haven’t decided on the frequency for each area. This will also be still interspersed with the other topics (crafts, photography, travel, book reviews, and so forth) that I’ve been doing for the past couple of years.

But before jumping into November (and lets not forget that if you’re in the US—this coming weekend, set the clocks back an hour), I need to look back at the goals I set for October and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for October included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Starting my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Working on the writing/editing assignments for the MWO and finishing the sixth module
  4. Reading one to two non-fiction books
  5. Reading two to five fiction books (and having small book reviews written and published on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (finish the third cross-stitch project; possibly start a fourth or maybe make some jewelry)
  9. Work on updating the blog/website
  10. Work through at least one personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. 130-155,000 steps; I managed to meet and slightly surpass the step goal. I managed to get 160,753 steps for the month. There were two walks at Boomer Lake, and a couple of walks through the neighborhood with Chaos.
  2. Start my second round of morning meltdown 100—I started the program, but until we get the Wi-Fi issue taken care of, I’m probably putting the program on ‘hold’ and restarting it once we have reliable Wi-Fi (as there is nothing worse than a constantly buffering workout).
  3. Work on the writing/editing assignments for the MWO and finish the sixth module; While I’m slowly working on the assignments, I didn’t finish the sixth module yet, because of said Wi-Fi issues.
  4. Reading one-to-two non-fiction books; While I’ve been reading, I haven’t finished any non-fiction books
  5. Reading two-to-five fiction books; I managed to read the following during the month of October:
    • Inked Kingdom by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review published on the blog and various other sites)
    • Inked Devotion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review published on the blog and other various sites)
    • Temptation after Dark (Gansett Island #24) by Marie Force (book review hopefully coming within the next week to the blog and various other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month–I did okay, and the spending will once again be broken down in my next installment of my limited spending challenge check-in
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries; There was time spent outdoors, though as the temperatures slowly start easing down into the winter range (highs only in the 30s-50s), I probably won’t be out for long extended periods of time. I’ve been doing well with at least sitting quietly for a few minutes every night, and the daily gratitude journal entries.
  8. Craft time (finish the third cross-stitch project; possibly start a fourth or maybe make some jewelry); I finished my third cross-stitch project early in the month and have started a fourth. The fourth one isn’t finished yet, because instead of going with a totally abstract design—I’m trying a slightly abstract but nature based design (hopefully finish it up during November).
  9. Work on updating the blog/website; So this is something that was slightly ‘stagnant’ during October. The main reason—our Wi-Fi has been problematic (putting it nicely), and I’ve been staying off the computer more often than not. I have a rough outline for a science topic (‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’) drafted, and I’m slowly deciding on how to break it down into a blog series, though the larger full-length piece will be linked to the science/medical education/communication section when it is finished.For the other two areas (personal/professional development and health/wellness) I’m still thinking on what the one or two subtopics that I want to start with are going to be.
  10. Work through at least one personal/professional development course. I watched the short skill share course: Crappy Copy: 8 digital copywriting mistakes you should avoid

While I put in my ‘application’ for another freelance writing position with the one company that I’m doing ‘volunteer’ writing for—I wasn’t selected (possibly due to my pricing). I think that they had a price and if you overshoot it, you’re taken out of the running (there doesn’t seem to be any type of negotiation for cost).

I’ve created a rough draft of an outline for one writing project I’ve been thinking of trying to tackle (troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning), and now need to figure out the timeline for posting (I’m thinking that each section may be at least one-to-two blog posts). I’m then going to work on the timelines/outlines for the other personal ‘writing’ projects that I have bouncing around in my head.

While I’d hoped that October was going to be a little more smooth sailing than September, and it was on one front (the one dog is at least ‘stable’ in terms of her anemia), it became hectic due to sporadic Wi-Fi issues. Therefore, I didn’t focus nearly as much as I should have on the professional front.

So, as we head into the last two months of 2021 and then into 2022, I hope that people will get their kids their SARS-CoV2 vaccine (and get it themselves if need be), if they’ve gotten their vaccine—when it’s their turn, go and get their booster shot. We’re heading into the second year of this pandemic—and my hope is that by the end of 2022, it may just be ‘epidemic’ (sporadically at that) in various countries in 2023 and beyond.

So my goals for November will include:

  1. 130-150,000 steps
  2. Restart Morning Meltdown 100 (hopefully a new modem/router will help with the ‘buffering’ issues)
  3. Work through the LinkedIn Mastery Ring program from the Cheeky Scientist Association; plus continue working on the writing assignments for the MWO (and finish the sixth module)
  4. Read at least one non-fiction book
  5. Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (finish the fourth cross-stitch project)
  9. Continue working on updating the blog/website (hopefully start at least one blog series and/or have a medium size piece linked to one [if not all three] main areas)
  10. Work through at least one other personal/professional development course

With cooler weather approaching, there will be more time spent indoors. Which means more time for crafts, reading (though this usually has never been a problem even with warmer weather), and dedicating time to both on-line learning and work. I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that the age of our modem and router have been part of our problem (we tend to use things until they ‘die’) and both the router and modem are at least fourteen years old. Shock of all shocks—was learning that technically people replace them every two-to-five years.

The modem and router have been replaced (now just need to get the phone problem fixed), so I should hopefully be able to be doing more computer work without losing my temper. I’ve also realized that once I move, I will be needing to get a desktop computer—so I’ll have a ‘hub’ for the WiFi (though I didn’t do that in Boston—but I forgot what I’d done out there for this issue).

It is also becoming the season of sipping hot chocolate in front of the fire place, starting a new knitting project (though that will require the purchase of yarn), and slowly counting down the days until it both warms back up and stays light longer.

Which season do you prefer—spring, summer, fall, or winter?

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Completing crafts & updating webpages: reflections on Pisces Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering its latest full moon stage either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world—here in the US, it will be tomorrow night). That means after this full moon—there are only two full moons left in 2021, it also means that there are only 73 days left in 2021. So before looking ahead to the Aries full moon, I should look back at the goals I set for the Pisces full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I set for the Pisces full moon included:

  1. Continue working on my third cross-stitch project, and then also start working on creating some jewelry (bracelets and necklaces to start, but maybe also some earrings).
  2. Start reworking various pages/tabs on the website. I have a general idea of the direction(s) I want to go in, and some of the pages will be combined, others will stay the same, and the others will be renamed and/or reworked.
  3. Personal/professional development and self-reflection

So how did I do with each of the goals?

In terms of the crafting goals, I finished my third cross-stitch project and have started a fourth.

Third cross-stitch project completed.

The third one followed in the direction of the other two–more abstract in both design and color.

My first three cross-stitch projects

The fourth one that I’ve started will also be semi-abstract but nature based (I figured cactus should be a somewaht easy botany subject to mimic with thread).

I’ve got a couple of ideas in terms of jewelry—I just haven’t tried to sit down to design them yet. I also realized that I need something to put the necklaces, bracelets, or earrings on to showcase them.

In terms of reworking various pages on the website:

I’ve started reworking the blog/website over the past few weeks. I’ve combined the birding photography tab with the normal photography tab. The ‘normal’ photography tab is a sub-tab within the birding section. While most would have done the opposite (birding a sub-tab within the normal), due to the number of pages I already have created—you couldn’t see the individual bird pages that way when scrolling down through everything. I’ve also renamed the fitness tab—health and wellness, with the fitness tab being a new ‘sub-tab’ of this section. I’ve kept the travel tab, added a personal development tab, and still need to ‘rework’ a couple of the main tabs.

For personal/professional development and self-reflection:

I’ve been doing self-reflection and working through some different personal and professional development courses. The one major thing that I know I need to work on is creating a daily schedule that allows me to focus on different things without feeling like I did not get anything accomplished at the end of the day.

With only setting a few goals for the last full moon, I was able to full meet one of them (finished my third cross-stitch project), start in on one of them (reworking various pages/tabs for the website), and the personal/professional development with reflection is always going to be an ongoing, never totally finished goal.

One of the things that I learned in a personal development course earlier this year—is that it is perfectly fine to ‘slow down’ and take things easy every so often. Though this goes against the ‘hard-working, hustling, mindset’ that is getting pushed more often these days. That is what I’m trying to do—slow down so that the anxiety remains under control and I can be actually get something accomplished during the day/week/month and not feel like I’m also not heading into an anxiety attack.

Small steps are what lead to continuous progress—as long as one has more ‘forward’ than ‘backwards’ steps—it doesn’t matter how slow or small they are—just keep moving forward.

How are you ensuring that you’re moving forward toward your goals?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Working on crafts, & updating the website: Goals for the Pisces Full Moon

So the moon will be entering its latest full moon stage either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world). This full moon is also falling on my birthday, marking there are only ten days left in September, and then only three months left in 2021 (slowly peaking around the corner to see what may be coming towards us in 2022).

So if I looked to the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, I’d see that there are five questions that one can ask themselves during this time:

Have I been dreamy to the point of not getting enough done and making silly errors?

Have I been overly sensitive and too easily hurt?

Have I been acting like a martyr? Or too easily led?

Have I been meditating every day, and if not, why not?

Have I been in touch with my intuitive side? Following my dreams and hunches?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follow:

  1. Well, I haven’t been too dreamy—I’ve been at times too distracted, too upset, semi-depressed, and totally irritated to the point of not getting enough done. But then again—the idea/concept of being super busy, productive, and always getting things done—that can be a determent to ones mental health. Therefore, while I may have been slightly less productive the past month (in terms of trying to get my freelance business up and running), I have been more productive in terms of managing my mental health.
  2. No, I haven’t been overly sensitive and too easily hurt. But then again—we’re still in the pandemic and I haven’t been interacting with a lot of people outside of family (and what other interactions I have had have been online, and its easy to block the trolls and haters).
  3. Nope.
  4. I’ve been getting better at meditating, or at least sitting quietly for a few minutes every night. Now the goal or challenge will be trying to introduce meditation/sitting quietly to the morning and possibly early afternoon routines as well.
  5. I’m trying to get better at this—I’m good at being in touch with my ‘analytical’ side, but had spent years ‘ignoring’ my intuitive side. That is something I’ve been working on correcting over the past year or so. In terms of trying to follow my dreams and hunches—I’m slowly working on moving away from the bench, and towards a more independent ‘career’ of freelance/remote/contract writing/data analysis/project and/or product management style career. This is because due to the pandemic—I think it is more important to have a career that is location independent, and semi-company independent as well.

So in addition to the self-reflection questions, one should also check to see what house or zone the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Pisces full moon is moving through my 5th house (according to my rising sign), which is also known as the “kids, romance, and creativity zone”.

All of the zones are still a ‘challenge’ this year due in part to the fact that the pandemic is still going and I’m still self-isolating (even though I got my J&J shot back in April—I’m a little petrified of the delta variant). Though, even if everything had gotten under control and we weren’t in the middle of the pandemic—I still don’t have the time for romance.

As I stated last year, I’m still trying to figure out my life, and part of that is determining where I may be moving (with at least one dog), and I don’t feel like trying to start a relationship with someone knowing that I’d possibly be moving at some point in the near future. Currently I’m not around ‘human kids’ (my niece is out in California, and I haven’t gotten together with any friends that have kids in well over a year), but I am surrounded by ‘furry kids’ (three dogs and three cats) daily. Though one of those furry kids is currently at the vet’s getting numerous tests done to determine what caused her to develop hemolytic anemia. Therefore I’m going to focus on the ‘creativity’ part of the fifth house.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately doing cross-stitching, as this is a nice activity that doesn’t require me to concentrate that much on it (as I’m doing more abstract designs than following a pattern) and it doesn’t cause my hands to cramp as much as knitting does.

I’m still working on stretching my crafting comfort zone (which usually encompasses photography, knitting, reading, and when I have a working sewing machine-quilting), and now can add cross-stitching to that list. Next craft that I will hopefully find as enjoyable will be jewelry design/creation.

So what are my goals going to be for the Pisces Full Moon?

  1. Continue working on my third cross-stitch project, and then also start working on creating some jewelry (bracelets and necklaces to start but maybe also some ear-rings).
  2. Start reworking various pages/tabs on the website. I have a general idea of the direction(s) I want to go in, and some pages will be combined, others will stay the same, and one or two will be renamed and/or reworked.
  3. Personal/professional development and self-reflection

There are only a few goals for this full moon period—mainly because I know that I’m going to be a little distracted (at least emotionally) until we have a ‘proper’ diagnosis and treatment plan for our one dog (who developed hemolytic anemia earlier this month). My game plan is to be productive, but at the same time realize that there may be a day or two of doing nothing but creative work—and that is fine.

I’m also going to keep the following quote at the forefront: ‘progress over perfection’, and knowing that I’m slowly starting the next chapter of my life (as I’m done re-reading the last one), in addition to limiting the influence of others in terms of what I decide to do with my future.

Question time: what are some of your favorite crafts?

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Heading into Fall: Reviewing the ‘dog days of summer’ goals

So, we’re on to the last third of the year—there are now only 122 days left in 2021. While it feels like time is starting to speed back up again, I’m wondering when things are going to totally go to hell. The vaccination rate is still on a steady decline (though there are days when the number of shots given is high), and the delta variant is still running rampant through the country. Luckily, I’ll be able to get the J&J booster shot sometime between October and December (they state that it is most effective six to eight months after the initial shot). So, it looks like I’ll be staying in self-isolation throughout the fall and winter (with the occasional walk to get the paper on the weekend, and possibly a walk once a month at Boomer Lake).

The world is still crumbling at a decent clip, and I’m talking about everything from the issues in Central Asia (Afghanistan) to the fact that while Greenland lost a huge amount of ice—they also got a huge amount of rainfall (for like the third time in recorded history). Therefore, I’m limiting my news intake to morning/night and the occasional lunchtime checks on Facebook. When I published ‘July in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 35.7 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 40.1 million cases (so it was an increase of not quite 4.5 million cases last month—all due to the delta variant and fewer people getting vaccinated).

So the numbers are going back up, and less than 0.5% of the hospitalized cases are vaccinated individuals (break-through cases). That means over 99% of the people in the hospital for SARS-CoV2, haven’t gotten the vaccine (and a good number now are children under the age of 12 that currently aren’t eligible for the vaccine). I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)

Staying in self-isolation will give me the time to really start focusing on trying to get a freelance/remote/contract career started (focusing first on writing, crafts, and possibly project/product management, then stretching to data analysis, and possibly educational consulting).

Before looking ahead to September (the start of the last third of the year, and a semi-modified new set of goals, and continuing to work on my time and project management skills), I should look at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

  1. 135-155,000 steps
  2. Restart LIIFT4 (mainly following the lifting schedule, not necessarily streaming the program)
  3. Finish up the writing/editing assignments for MWO, the MWO course, and roll the dice to figure out the next advancedcheeky scientist program to start
  4. Finish reading two to three non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews over at least one of them)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (Continue working on the cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

So how did I do with each of them?

135-155,000 steps: I managed to get in 154,591 steps this past month. Mostly through wandering around the house and yard, though I did manage to get a walk in at Boomer Lake earlier in the month. I’m thinking that for September–most of the steps will be from wandering around the house/yard, walking through the neighborhood (early mornings, so I can wear my mask), and possibly a walk at Boomer Lake.

Restarting LIIFT4: I’m still giving my wrist a little more time to heal (I semi-sprained or did something to my right wrist last month), and therefore didn’t do any lifting this past month. As I mentioned in another post (400 day update), I have until basically the end of September to decide if I’m keeping my beachbody-on-demand subscription or not. I’m trying to limit my ‘screen time’ (or as much as one can when they’re thinking of freelance/remote/contract writing as a career option). Therefore I’m thinking of working out away from the screen (lifting weights and doing other things), and doing ‘screen time’ for mainly yoga.

Finishing up the MWO program & deciding on new one: I’ve finished the editing assignments for the program, and am still working on the writing assignments. I have one module left to go through (though I may not get the certificate until I complete the writing assignments), and then would be ‘done’ with the program. I did roll the dice and decided that I’d be working through the following programs over the next several months (regardless of when I finish the MWO): User Experience Squad, Project Management Consortium, Regulatory Affairs Council, Business Development Federation, and Product Management Group.

Finish reading two to three non-fiction books: I managed to read the following non-fiction books:

I Want to Do All the Things: Finding Balance as a Polymath, Multipotentialite, and Renaissance Soul by Arcadia Page

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker

Though I haven’t written mini book reviews over either of them yet.

Read two to four fiction books (and hopefully write small reviews on at least one of them): The fiction books Imanaged to read during the month of August included:

Vortex: A FBI Thriller (#25) by Catherine Coulter (review posted to blog)

Dawn Unearthed (Ravenwood Coven #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review posted to blog)

Wiretaps & Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday (review posted to blog)

Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday (review coming soon)

My Next Play (On My Own #3; advanced reader copy) by Carrie Ann Ryan (review coming soon)

Three out of the five books have reviews posted to the blog, and the other two books are books that I just finished within the past few days, so those reviews should hopefully be getting posted to the blog (and other sites) by the weekend.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month:

There have been a couple of books bought, one (or two) large amazon orders–but truthfully, nothing more than usual. The breakdown for this will be in the next installment of the limited spending challenge check-in.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries:

I’ve been able to spend time outdoors this month–though there was only one walk at Boomer Lake (due to combination of temperatures and the delta variant). I am very grateful that my parents have a decent size backyard that one can be out in during this period of time. I’ve been doing my evening meditations/sitting quietly moments for at least a few minutes (hoping to add this to the morning routine as well).

In term of the daily gratitude entries–I’ve been pretty good with these, even if they’ve been something along the line of being grateful that I don’t have kids and therefore I don’t have to worry/stress about navigating things with the pandemic still raging.

Craft time (continue working on the cross-stitch project):

I actually finished my first small abstract cross-stitch project the other day. Instead of trying to find a pattern, I’m sticking with abstract made up on the spot designs. The reason: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and trying to write letters on the fabric was giving me a headache, though I do know that with practice I’d be getting better at both of them).

My first cross-stitch project completed

I should be getting in my glue gun by the end of the week, and will be gluing some of the fabric to the backside of the framefor a more completed look.

I’m starting on a second and larger cross-stitch project, and am finding it therapeutic stabbing the fabric over and over again with teh needle and thread. It seems that the amount of time spent on the project is directly correlated to how irritated I am with the world.

Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course:

I started two different short e-courses this past month, and finished one of them:

Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence on Udemy

With the way the world is going today (especially in terms of the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers), this is something that a lot of people seem to be lacking. Out of the five main concepts (self-awareness, self-control, social skills, empathy, and self motivation)—I feel like everyone needs a good dose of empathy.

While I may be getting tired of being in self-isolation (more or less) daily, at least I know that I’m doing my part not to spread the virus. Just like I know that wearing a mask in public, helps slow the spread of the virus (even though I shouldn’t be carrying it—it would still help protect me from catching it).

Everyone that is screaming ‘it’s their right’ on whether or not to wear a mask, or get vaccinated, or whatever—yes it is your right, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. We’re a global society, and we really should be looking out for each other (instead of being of the ‘me-and-mine’ mindset).

After taking the course, I’ve realized that I need to work on the self-motivation (keeping the inner critic/imposter syndrome in check) the most, with maybe self-awareness coming in second. I’m usually aware of my emotions, and while I try not to let them get the better of me, sometimes I don’t always control my facial features as much as I should.

Another thing I did last month (and actually at the very end of the month)—I submitted a ‘application’ for paying freelance writing gig. The opportunity came from the company that I’m doing the volunteer writing for (one of the editors wants the pages on another site rewritten), so I sent a response with links to both the blog and my LinkedIn profile (as my portfolio) to the editor I work with and we’ll see what happens.

Even if I don’t get the job—I managed to quiet my inner critic long enough to ask some questions in one of the medical writing Facebook groups I’m in, and put together a response and emailed it back in the afternoon. This is a really big step for me, since I’m more likely to try to let the inner critic/imposter syndrome win and not try to go for things.

I decided earlier in the month that I was going to be keeping the website url, and running tagline for the blog. I will be updating the site over the next few months (especially with a ‘portfolio’ section to highlight various science/medical writing styles/topics, and other writing examples).

I’m not going to change up my ‘goals’ that much, though I will be trying to put a little more time into the other ‘writing’ projects that I’ve got on my plate.

The other goals for September will include:

  1. 130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month, in addition to maybe one or two walks through the neighborhood in the mornings (when I shouldn’t run into anyone who could be potentially ‘anti-mask’)
  2. Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, yoga/stretching)
  3. Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for the MWO and finish the sixth module of the MWO program
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  5. Read two to four fiction books (have small book reviews written and published)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (continue working on the new cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development e-course

I’m keeping the goals similar to the ones for August—though I’m changing up the fitness/intentional movement goal. Instead of streaming workouts (though I might do that for the yoga), I’m going to just put on music and either lift weights (focusing on certain muscles) or shadow box. This way I’ll be getting in my fitness/intentional movement for the day, but at the same time will be having some ‘screen free’ time as well.

I’ll also be trying to figure out what other types of writing I’d like to be doing, so there may be a variety of blog posts (or pages) popping up throughout the month as I try my hand covering different topics.

While I’ve semi rewritten the ‘work with me’ page, that page and the welcome page may get updated throughout the fall as I slowly make my way into the freelancing world of writing, editing, proofreading, and crafting.

So, while time is starting to ‘speed’ up, I hope that everyone is getting their vaccination shot(s) against the virus, and if you have kids—they’re getting theirs as well. As that (along with masks and social distancing when needed) is really the only way we’re going to be able to get to a ‘new’ normal.

While I’d asked this question last month on what types of posts people would like to see more of (science/educational, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, book reviews, or thoughts on different career paths), I decided that I will continue forward with a mixture of all (as that fits my personality and my top two strengths: learner and intellection).

I’m going to share the words I chose for 2021 again— growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What are you most excited for this fall?

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