Tag: reading

Nico & Sofia’s Story: How Much I Want; Miami Nights #4

‘How Much I Want’, is bringing us back to Miami and the Giordino family and friends.

‘How Much I Want’ can be seen as a continuation of Nochebuena (the Miami Nights holiday story)—though you don’t necessarily have to read it before starting ‘How Much I Want’.

This is Nico & Sofia’s story.

Sofia and her son Mateo were introduced in the first book of the series ‘How Much I Feel’, and have been spotted throughout the other books as well.

Nico is the older brother to Maria, Dee, and Milo and cousin to Carmen, Domenic Jr. and others.

Nico had the reputation of a player, but was working on changing after meeting Sofia when she started working at his family’s restaurant.

Sofia has her plate full—working, taking care of her son, and finalizing her divorce.

Image (c) Wildfire Marketing Solutions

She’s noticed Nico, but at the same time has ‘sworn’ off relationships.

What happens when the relationship-shy Sofia decides to give Nico a chance?

Mix in the possibly dangerous ex, ‘lost’ family, and the rest of the Giordino family—and you have ‘How Much I Want’.

So pull up a seat, a cool beverage, and a fan; then sit back and enjoy ‘How Much I Want’. I loved the latest trip down to Miami, and I may decide to binge read the series again on the next stormy, rainy day that I’m stuck inside.

I give ‘How Much I Want’ five out five stars, and I totally loved Nico and Sofia’s story. I look forward to the next story in the series, and can’t wait to see how the family grows.

Another winner by Marie Force.

This is an ARC review and all images have been supplied by Wildfire Marketing Solutions

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Content challenge and development plans: Scorpio Full Moon Goals

So we’re heading into May’s full moon tonight, and it will also be a lunar eclipse as well—so now I need to decide if I’m staying up ‘late’ to head outside to try to see the eclipse or not.

Anyway, back to the May full moon and moving forward trying to find/define both my new ‘normal’ and what it is going to be looking like (mainly because the SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay and that now means making rational decisions in terms of future travels).

The May full moon is going to be transitioning through Scorpio constellation. Therefore if one looks to ‘Moonology’ there are several questions that one can reflect on during the next few days, and they are:

  1. Have I been jealous, vengeful, suspicious, or otherwise behaved toxically?
  2. Have I been living out of fear rather than joy?
  3. Have I been brooding and dark: focusing on the negative rather than the positive?
  4. Have I been cruel and cunning?
  5. Am I having the sex I need to feel good about myself (of course some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves)?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as follows:

  1. I don’t think I’ve been acting jealous, vengeful or suspicious towards others (I mean we’re still dealing with the pandemic, and I’m hardly around anyone who isn’t family). I’m still working on ‘fixing’ internally focused ‘toxic’ habits (mainly letting my imposter syndrome/inner critic have the wheel and not realize it).
  2. Am I afraid of failure? Yes. Am I afraid of attempting something new (and possibly failing)? Yes. This is in part to the inner critic/imposter syndrome, but also in part to how I was raised—I was raised to ‘be better than average’ (though I know my parents meant only academically)—and it is a mindset that I’m working letting go.
  3. Have you seen the world lately?? I mean with all the damn problems going on—yes, I probably have been focusing a little too much on the negative rather than the positive (especially when I can’t control the events of the world). Therefore, I need to focus on what I can control, and what will hopefully bring more positive and less negative vibes to my life.
  4. No, I have not been cruel or cunning to others or myself.
  5. Again, the answer is no—mainly because 1) we’re still in the midst of the global pandemic, 2) therefore it really isn’t in good form trying to go out and meet new people, and 3) I’m still trying to figure out my life, which may (or may not) include at least one move in the near future. Therefore I’m not in the mindset/mood to deal with another person’s opinions/thoughts on my future right now.

The moon then also moved through my first house (or my Image zone), as I usually work with my rising sign (which happens to be Scorpio; my sun sign is Virgo & my moon sign is Pisces). This house/sign is focused on yourself (personal &/or professional life).

So I’m still going through ‘cycles’ of productivity—the past month or so, has been a so-so cycle of productivity, while the month before that was a little more productive. I realize that everything is cyclic in nature—what goes up, must come down—but I also know that I can ‘minimize’ the downward trend, and try to keep those ‘dips’ rather sharp, instead of a nice steep decline, and a slow incline. As I stated last year: ‘I will still avoid doing things I know I should be doing in order to move closer to certain goals. In other words—I’m still letting the inner critic/imposter syndrome keep me in the comfort zone more often than I try to venture out into the stretch or risk zones’.

So what are a few goals that I can work on over the next few weeks to help bring myself back towards all my other goals?

  1. Continue working on my 90-day content challenge plan (goal is to do some type of research & writing daily, in addition to a craft (photography, cross-stitching, or possibly designing some jewelry).
  2. Finish setting up my 12-month plan, and the rough draft for my personal/professional development plan
  3. Continue to try to meditate daily/nightly

And above all remember—Aim for progress and not for perfection.

What is one of your Scorpio goals?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

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

Time to make plans, read, and write: Taurus New Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be transitioning through the Taurus constellation this weekend (either tonight or tomorrow night—depending on where you are in the world), bringing us our fifth new moon of the year, and either the second new moon of April or the May new moon. We will more or less be a third of the way through 2022. It seems each year, the ‘roller coaster’ ride of life is getting a little more ‘insane’—I’m personally ready for things to settle down, but I’m pretty sure that it won’t be happening anytime soon.

Looking back over the past year or two—I didn’t set any goals for the Taurus new moon during 2020 (I was in an angry haze due to the pandemic and the anti-science/vaccine movements), and I set them last year (when I had my hopes that everything was turning around).

Are things turning around? In terms of the pandemic—slightly, there are vaccines but there are also new variants that may be able to escape the immune system. So, I’m afraid that we’re going to be living in a world where one will have to make the decision on whether or not traveling; working in an office, and so forth is worth the risk (however slight) of contracting the virus.

Looking to the book ‘Moonology’, there are several things that one can focus on during the Taurus new moon, and they include:

  1. Make a financial plan
  2. Love yourself (i.e. Make a list of your values and ask yourself if you’re living your life in a way that allows you to honor those values. If the answer is no–figure out a new plan to allow yourself to honor those values)
  3. Be sensual (i.e. Ask yourself ‘What would/could make my life better?’)
  4. Character check (Ask yourself–Am I being too stubborn or too lazy?)
  5. Persevere–remember that there is more to life than racing ahead, there is also the journey that should be enjoyed as well (or as much as possible). Slow and steady will win the day.

In addition, the new moon in Taurus is also moving through my seventh house, or my “love zone”. This zone can also be referred to as the relationship zone as well. So what are some of the things that one can do during this time in regards to the seventh house?

  1. Go through old love letters and get rid of at least some of them
  2. If you’re single and feeling brave, try online dating
  3. Ask your parents about their ideas on how to make love (aka a relationship) work
  4. Recommit to your partner
  5. If you hurt a past lover, admit you were wrong and apologize to them
  6. Make a list of the qualities you look for in a partner

Since we’re still in a pandemic (I don’t care of states and countries are opening back up, when there are still over half a million (plus) new cases worldwide a day—it’s still a pandemic), I’m going to focus more on the financial/personal development aspects of things. While most would say it isn’t good to totally ignore the current house—I’m not ignoring it per say—I’m just not putting all my focus on it.

I like what I wrote last year, and therefore am going to ‘recycle’ it:

Yes—there is online dating, but that isn’t something I want to be focusing on right now, instead I’m going to focus on improving myself and then worry about possible dating issues. Also, I don’t have the time or energy to put into the dating scene and finding someone. In terms of relationships and being with someone—I seem to be one of the odd ones that doesn’t mind being alone and unattached. I also know that I still have other things to work out on my own before even attempting to stick my toes into the dating pool.

So my goals for the Taurus new moon include:

            Making a financial plan. I’ve been on a reboot break for over two years now, and the savings account has dwindled down to almost nothing. I still have a couple of ‘high’ credit cards that I need to pay down—therefore, the financial plan will have a ‘role’ in my personal/professional development plan I’m also going to be putting together.

            Start writing daily—I have the ‘hobby’ areas of the blog (photography, travel, and crafts), plus the ‘areas’ that I’m thinking of branching out into for remote writing: scientific, medical, and health communications and copywriting. This means I need to start developing a ‘portfolio’ of different types of pieces (basically—have a ‘landing’ page on the topic & these posts linked to them).

            The topics I’m thinking of writing/learning about: oncology (clinical trials, drug development, pathways—specifically for breast cancer, brain cancer, and liver or pancreas cancer), antibiotic resistance (diseases and how bacteria can obtain resistance), microbiomes (specifically gut and vaginal), and then some basics—molecular cloning, the cell, biofuels, GMOs, and vaccines.

            Continue reading various personal/professional development books.

            Go through the clothes and box up t-shirts that no longer fit well and figure out where to donate them.

            Continue with daily intentional movement, and getting back into a meditation routine.

While the goals seem to be on a repetitive loop from year to year (new moon to new moon; or full moon to full moon)—there is progress that is made, steps that are so small they may not be noticeable to the stranger’s eye. When I started this blog almost five years ago, it was with the intention of self-accountability on this journey of rediscovery—so while others may not notice the progress, trust me when I say progress has been made—and sometimes that progress is to admit that I’ve fallen off ‘track’ and am working my way back onto the track.

What are your goals for the Taurus New Moon?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesHealthmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Setting the goals: now to create the personal/professional development plan: Review of Aries New Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering its latest new moon phase some point this weekend (either Saturday night, or Sunday night—depending on where you are in the world)—therefore it could either be the second new moon of April, or the May new moon. But before looking ahead to the Taurus new moon, I should look back at the goals I set for the Aries new moon and determine how much of each I’d managed to accomplish.

So what were my goals for the Aries new moon? They included:

  1. Making a 12-month plan. I know what I want to be focusing on in terms of my career transition (remote writing and/or freelance writing/copywriting), and I have my other focal points (personal development, health, and hobbies) to also focus on—now I just need to turn those points into a yearly plan, and then break it down to quarterly, and then weekly and daily goals.
  2. Start with my intentional movement program (weight lifting four days a week, cardio once to twice a week, with a walk and possibly yoga or Pilates thrown in there as well).
  3. Start having yogurt with fruits and nuts for breakfast again, and possibly have some more veggies throughout the week as well
  4. Read a book on positive thinking, positive psychology, relaxation, or mindset
  5. Continue to meditate nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

I will fully admit that I’ve fallen off the mediation wagon again. This is in large part due to not having a fully working daily schedule. I’m still in a tug-of-war with my inner critic/imposter syndrome throughout the day and week when it comes to getting things done in a timely manner. So at night, I feel like I need to possibly be writing in the journal instead of sitting quietly for a few minutes to end the day.

Aside from improving my mental health—the biggest tug-of-war has been trying to figure out what topics within the huge scientific, medical, and health fields to ‘niche’ down into for writing.

I realize part of my ‘fear’ is that I’ll get bored with the subjects—but I think I can keep that ‘fear’ at bay if I have say three subjects (or niches) that I’m exploring. I can explore them and have a ‘cycle’ in the writing, where one week is scientific (say cell cycle/signal transduction), next week is medical (signal transduction in cancer), and the third is health (microbiomes), and cycle that way.

I also haven’t really been eating yogurt with fruits and nuts for breakfast either—this is in part due to allergies (the thought of yogurt or something else ‘soft’ just doesn’t sit well with my stomach in the morning). But I do need to do better than a blueberry muffin or part of a piece of tiramisu.

But for the other goals I did a little better:

I did finish a couple of books on ‘positive’ thinking/mindset and they were:

  1. The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness through the Power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
  2. Lagom: Not too Little, Not too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark

I’m realizing (slowly), that I’ve ‘outgrown’ certain aspects/views of life. I’m putting more thought into items that I buy (though as far as I’m concerned—you can’t have too many tarot/oracle card decks or books). I’m slowly developing my own vision of minimalism, and one aspect is to investigate my cultural heritage.

I had started my intuitive movement workout program this month—and realized one important thing—when it comes to starting to do bicep curls again, I have to stick with five-pound weights. The reason—I keep forgetting about my abnormal bone structure, and the past two times I’ve done these workouts (chest/triceps and then back/biceps), I’ve managed to put a little too much strain on the elbows.

So, when I start the calendar again—it will be five-pound weights for the curls (no matter how much I want to go up in weight), and possibly stick with the five and eight-pound weights for the different triceps exercises as well.

In terms of the 12-month plan, I have my ‘broad’ idea of what I would like to accomplish in terms of personal development (finances, continuous learning, and developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism), health/fitness, and hobbies. I have a ‘broad’ idea for my career and professional development (I just need to do more research into possible companies looking to hire remote writers).

I now need to break these broader ideas down into three, six, and nine month, and then ‘end-point’ (twelve-month) goals. I’d mentioned earlier—this is where I usually ‘fall’ off the planning stage. I usually get a little too ambitious on the goal setting and trying to get everything done at one. Breaking them down into ‘quarterly’ goals will also help me in creating a personal/professional development plan as well.

So, I guess I could say that I managed about half the goals (I drafted my 12-month plan—just need to flesh it out and turn it into a 12-month personal/professional development plan; I read two books on positive thinking/mindset, and ‘started’ an intentional movement schedule). I need to restart my meditation routine again, and work on having a more well balanced breakfast in the morning.

In addition—I need to sit down and write daily, whether it is a blog page/post (photography, throwback travel, or a science topic), working on one of the numerous in-depth science topics, or brainstorming ideas for short stories, blog posts, or just taking some time and journaling.

The main thing I have to remind myself—I don’t have to work on every project at once. I can have a list of ideas that are of interest to me, and I can bounce between them—the main thing is to sit and just start writing.

There hasn’t been much change to the level of insanity in the world, since I published the Aries New Moon goals earlier this month—but I will continue to send happy vibes, thoughts, and good feelings to the people of Ukraine who are managing to repel an invasion from their larger neighbor.

Happy, safe, loving, thoughts, vibes and prayers sent to everyone who is struggling.

How did you do with your Aries New Moon Goals?

Namaste…

No Comments AstrologycareerLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Planning, planning, and more planning: Libra Full Moon Goals

Nothing like realizing your computer is acting up several hours too late. While I ‘saved’ the draft of this post—it didn’t actually ‘save’. So, lets see if I can remember what I had wrote last night…or, the post could be slightly better (or slightly worse) than I’d originally planned.

So the moon will be transitioning through the Libra constellation today—marking the fourth full moon of the year.

Currently it is hard to tell which direction we’re moving in with regards to the SARS-CoV2 virus. Yes, there are vaccines for everyone over the age of five (and boosters for those over the age of 12—though Pfizer has put in for emergency filing for boosters for children), and hopefully soon there will be the boosters for six months to four-year olds. But, there is the second omicron variant starting to make its way to the ‘top’—so we’ll have to see how things go.

Nothing is heading in the right direction in terms of the world (and I’m going to leave it at that for now). I’d mentioned for the past few years that I’ve wanted to try to get a good picture of the full moon using the longer lens and tripod. Well, I think the tripod is a little too short—since I have to sit behind it (instead of just leaning over slightly), so there probably won’t be any pictures of a full moon for a while.

So looking to the book ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland here are the top five questions that one may meditate/think on during this time are:

Have I been too concerned with appearances in general?

Have I been thinking too much about others and neglecting my own needs?

Have I been too easily influenced, gullible, or unable to decide for myself?

Have I been living my life through someone else?

Have I spent enough time beautifying my life?

If I were to number the above questions one-to-five, my answers would be as followed:

  1. I’ve never been one to be overly concerned with appearances even before the pandemic struck. I know that certain situations require you to dress a certain way (job interviews, career fairs, and so forth)—but I’m not going to stress and worry if people like how I’m dressed. I’d prefer to be comfortable in my clothes and appearance.
  2. I would say that I’m not thinking too much about others to the point I’m neglecting my own needs. Though, I would say that I’m perhaps being a little too hyper-focused on certain areas that I’m neglecting other areas.
  3. So, last year I talked about how I felt I’d just been ‘floating’ along with no clear ‘map/direction’ in my career. I don’t think this was due to being ‘easily influenced, gullible, or being unable to decide for myself’. I think it was due to not knowing what other options there were and not knowing how to position myself for those roles. I know have an idea of the direction I want to go in, and I’m starting to draw the map as I move forward.
  4. Well—do fictional characters count? Okay, seriously I don’t think I’ve been living my life through other people. True, I haven’t been traveling much (so I’ve been looking at pictures of different places that other people post)—but we’re still dealing with the pandemic, and therefore I don’t plan on traveling too much for the foreseeable future. We may follow the paths of others, and we either add our own unique stamp to the path, or realize we’re on the wrong path and forage a new one. I’ve jumped off the academic path, and am now foraging a path towards industry or freelance work.
  5. While I don’t put much thought into what others think of my life, I am trying to make changes—changes that will help improve my mental health. It has been shown that having too much clutter can be distracting and lead to anxiety and stress—and I’ll admit that from time to time I can become a ‘pack-rat’. So this is something I’m working on changing, and also working on developing my own definition of ‘minimalism’ (figuring out what I don’t need a lot of, and what I like having a lot of). Right now I’m thinking more of working outside in the yards and trying to improve on the flower gardens (or at least what use to be the flower gardens).

One can also look to see what house the moon is moving through as well. For me, the Libra full moon is moving through my 12th house, or my secrets zone. This is the time to actually take some time for one self—meditate, practice yoga, and just work to find some balance.

So the 12th house this year is coming at a time when the world is slowly going to hell in a hand basket. There is still the pandemic raging, and the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Russia issues ‘warnings’ to various other countries, and probably numerous other travesties that aren’t being covered by the news. I no longer try to keep up with the numbers (except monthly), since people can do in-home testing and they may (or may not) report themselves to the local health department if they test positive. Since booster shots are now available for the three main vaccines, I will be making an appointment over the next few weeks to go and get mine (a little added protection against the two omicron strains).

For me, the Libra full moon and the twelfth house means a time to focus on my plans for the future, and my self in the present.

So my list of goals for the Libra full moon will include:

  1. Finish ‘fleshing’ out my twelve-month plan that I started under the Aries new moon (focusing on career/professional development, health/wellness, personal development/finances/spirituality, and hobbies/crafts). Will be a continuation of expanding my focal points from last year (the main idea from the book ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life—a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobensteine).
  2. Create the ‘May brain-dump’ page; basically try to get all ideas and thoughts for the month of May onto paper. This will allow me to see pages/posts that I would like to create and give some direction to the month (possibly also convert it into the start of an editorial calendar).
  3. Develop a rough draft of a personal/professional development plan (ties in with the finishing of my ‘twelve-month plan’).
  4. Get back into my evening meditations, and possibly start doing some light yoga as well.
  5. Start working through my to-do list for ensuring the transition to a remote writing position and/or starting my own freelance business.

While remembering: ‘Progress over Perfection’ and ‘you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last chapter’.

What are your plans for the Libra full moon?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Revising the 100+ Goal List: 626-Days into the Challenge

Well, I didn’t get around to posting an update on the 500th or 600th day of the challenge. Today (April 6, 2022) marks the 626th day of the challenge (which isn’t quite a third of the way through the challenge).

There has been quite a bit going on between the fourth update (which was roughly around August 23rd of last year) and today.

We’re still dealing with a ‘sick’ pup. Our boxer mix developed a severe reaction to her allergy shot last year—and I do mean severe, she developed hemolytic anemia.

So, the past eight months has been focusing on getting her onto the road to recovery—she’s down to a single med (unless the urinary track infection comes back), and hopefully she’ll be off of that within the next four months.

While she is recovering—the illness has literally taken years off her life, and if we’re lucky we have another two-to-four years (which means she’ll be somewhere between the ages of five and nine when we lose her).

One thing I’ve learned—figure out other ways of dealing with dog’s allergy problems and avoid getting allergy shots at all costs.

We’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and while I know various countries (including the US) are moving towards an ‘endemic’ view—I’ll still be avoiding traveling (at least international) for several more months (possibly looking to travel next spring), until I get my booster shot and the world hopefully mellows.

This decade doesn’t seem to be mellowing out at all—besides the pandemic, we’re a stone toss away from World War 3 breaking out. Russia invaded Ukraine back towards the end of February, and they haven’t left. Personally, I think that all leaders (political and military in Russia) need to be arrested, tried for war crimes and dealt with accordingly.

So, how have I been progressing with the various goals?

Professional development and career: On-going

1. Transition into an industry position (I’ve decided to go in the remote/contract/online direction starting with writing; in addition to slowly trying to start a freelance writing business as well); there will be several posts on this goal

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

                        3. Clinical Research Coalition—Finished May 30th 2021

                        4. Medical Writers Organization—need to finish the writing/editing assignments

                        5. Data Scientist Syndicate—Finished September 3rd 2020

                        6. Project Management Consortium

                        7. Management Consulting Firm

                        8. Intellectual Property Pack—Finished June 25th 2021

                        9. Regulatory Affairs Council

                        10. Write Your Way to Freedom

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

                                    I noted how I tried to make a ‘short’ list of additional courses that I would like to have finished in 2021, and then this year (2022) I decided to try to do a BINGO-card style for additional courses. Funny thing—I’ve done several short courses (none of them really on the card). Also will probably hold off on quite a few of the ‘programming’ courses for now

            12. More interacting on Linkedin—Hard to score these, I’m doing the best with #13; 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).

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

                                    Managing to do this at least two to five days a week for the most part (there are some weeks I don’t share)

                                    The LinkedIn News team has featured two of the shares over the past year

                        14. Commenting on posts

                                    Trying to get better at this.

                        15. Giving/Asking for recommendations—need to start doing

                        16. Start writing my own posts

                                    This is slow going—usually share either a nature photograph or one of my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams. The comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams are usually the ones that get the most views.

                        17. Update my LinkedIn profile to reflect pivot towards writing/copywriting, and strive to have an SSI score of above 65 weekly

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

            19. 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

            20. Become fluent in Spanish—Started to use the app Mondly for refreshing my Spanish, though I haven’t been that active with the app for the past month or so. Need to try to spend at least 30-45 minutes two to three days a week on this.

            21. Become fluent in German

            22. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

23. 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 400 books on the list, and I would like to get through at least 100 of them before I keep adding to the list.

I’m aiming to read at least 24-personal/professional development or other non-fiction books during 2022. Currently I’ve read 4, which means that I need to read another twenty books over the next basically eight-and-a-half months. To reach 300, I probably need to read another 210-215 books over the next 1,377 days.

            24. Finish the books on scientific writing

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

                        I’ve slowly started doing this—the blog is one part (though currently more creative/reflective and hobby writing), the articles with my own ‘blurbs’ on LinkedIn, and then the volunteer writing I’ve been doing for Medical News Bulletin.

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

            27. Write a letter to my future self

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

            28. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            29. More photographyThis is still something that is in progress. I’m trying to get up to Boomer Lake at least once a month, and I could even start trying to do more iPhone photography as well.

                        30. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)—I haven’t started (or should I say restarted) this yet for 2022. I only managed barely a month last year. My problem has been trying to have 365 different pictures (which is harder than it actually sounds).

                        31. Update photography pages on blog

                                    I’ve combined the photography pages/sections into one section with multiple subsections (birds, and then the other individual pages). I’m slowly working on the research for the various birds that I have pictures of, and am planning on trying to publish a page (plus its accompany blog post) weekly.

            32. Make my own jewelry

            33. Learn to cross-stitch—I’ve completed three abstract pieces, and decided that abstract is currently the way to go—I started, but haven’t finished a fourth that is/was suppose to be natured based).

            34. 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

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

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

            37. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)—need to figure out how to patch the other afghans. I’ve patched one of the two afghans that Chaos chewed a hole in, and am slowly patching the second one (slowly knitting the two or three patches needed).

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

            39. Start writing a book

            40. Learn Photoshop

            41. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought); this has been an on and off endeavor. There are some days/weeks I’m good at writing daily, and then I may go a week or longer without writing in it.

            42. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            43. Learn basic sign language

            44. 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.

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

            46. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly—currently this is high, due to pandemic, possible world wars, and me wanting to ‘escape’ reality through reading, playing games, or buying personal/professional development courses; the goal is to have the three high credit cards back down to ‘reasonable’ no later than Feb or March of next year

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

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

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

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

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

Fitness & Health—On going

            52. Get into the best shape of my life

            53. Multivitamin and supplements daily; I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often.

            54.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            55.  Hold a 90 second plank

            56.  Meditate nightly—though sometimes it is only for a minute or two. Trying to increase the timing.

            57.  60-80 oz of water a day; this has been more likely 40-60 oz of water daily and sometimes up to 80 oz

            58.  Stretch daily; I do try to stretch nightly, and in the mornings before getting out of bed.

            59. 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

            60.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            61.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            62.  Launch a YouTube channel

            63. Launch an online course

            64. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day—While I’ve been doing okay for monthly views (2022 has been ~440-~640 views between January and March), I still need to work on getting the number of daily views up.

            65. Rebrand the blog/website—basically need to work on developing a personal/professional ‘brand’ as everyone is basically a business of ‘one’ (even if they’re working for a company

            66. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            67. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            68. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            69. Publish at least two blog series—this will be started hopefully by summer; I’m thinking that the ‘series’ will be something that is posted weekly on the same day (so I’ll probably have a ‘nature/photography’ series going, a ‘throwback-travel/photography’ series, and then start a set of science series (a topic that is covered for say a month or two before going onto another topic)

            70.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        71. Blog

                        72. Instagram

                        73. Facebook pages

                        74. Twitter

                        75. Pintrest

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

            77. Various top 10 author lists

            78. Various top 10 book series lists

            79. Launch a podcast

Spirituality–Ongoing

            80. Full/New Moon Goals—I’ve been managing to keep up with these posts, though I may not actually meet all the goals that I set for each period, I’ve at least posted for each one throughout the year so far

            81. Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)—This has been accomplished somewhat, as the current altar is on a bookshelf, so it looks fairly crowded.

            82. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings—Have been managing to do this (more or less), though I haven’t shared any of the readings on social media yet.

            83. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting; Hopefully can start this up within the next couple of weeks as we’re heading into spring, and morning temps should hopefully be above 50

Others–ongoing

            84. Keep at least 3 plants alive—I’ve managed to ‘root’ and replant several cutting from our dumb cane plants, so I guess that could count as keeping plants alive. I need to repot the cuttings of another plant, and then have it outdoors for the summer. I’m also thinking of possibly looking around and getting a succulent or two for the bedroom

            85. Design a science based board game

            86. Create and update digital vision board—I have a digital vision board (it’s the background on the computer; I just need to start updating it to fit my ‘newer’ vision of what I’m working towards

            87. Reorganize my storage unit

            88. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)—I’m hoping to get to this over the next few weeks. The front garden needs quite a bit of TLC, and I’d like to try to put in a garden in the backyard, or at least ‘transplant’ some of the groundcover to a new area.

            89. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)—need to look and see if there are any non-profits that are taking clothes for donations for Ukraine, and if so how to get them the clothes (I have numerous shirts that can be donated)

            90. Develop at least 30 different 30-day challenges. I’ve lowered the number of days for this challenge, but some of the challenges will include (some ideas taken from the book: “The 30-Day Challenge Book: 500 ideas to inspire your life” by Clare Hudson): Also any of these could also last longer than 30 days

                        One challenge will be 30 days of iPhone Photography

                        Restart an oracle card challenge (at least in terms of ‘sharing’ the picture on Instagram—possibly do it for only 30 days (say three cards per deck)

                        30 days of doodling

                        30 days of coloring in coloring books

                        30 days of mind maps

                        Dance ten-minutes every day

                        Make rubbings of interesting surfaces & textures

                        Film progress of 30-day challenge

                        Learn about politics

                        Learn about a new country a day

                        Research prominent women throughout history

                        Learn economics

                        Pick a subject you’re interested in & develop really niche knowledge within that subject

                        Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily

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):

91. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        92. Present at a scientific conference

            93. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            94. Visit at least 3 new countries

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

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

            97. Visit at least one new zoo

            98. Visit at least one new aquarium

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

            100. Visit at least one new city

            101. Visit at least one new state

            102. See the northern lights

            103. Attend at least one blogging conference

            104. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            105. Swim with whale sharks

            106. Parasailing

Once I move:

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

            108. New couch & chair for living room

            109. New dresser for bedroom

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

            111. New TV & stand

            112. New desk/craft workstation

So, while I haven’t cancelled my Beachbody-on-Demand membership yet—I removed all those goals, because I will be cancelling it fairly soon. While I enjoy doing Beachbody workouts (and really do like the ‘live’ classes)—I prefer the DVDs, so that I don’t have to worry on whether or not the WiFi is working well or not; in addition as I’m working on improving my relationship with both food and movement—I rather not be hearing about Shakeology, the supplements, or any of the ‘nutrition’ programs. I will still do ‘Beachbody’ workouts—but only those that I have DVDs for (and still work with the DVD player).

The total number of goals has fallen from 156 to 112—in part due to the removal of the various Beachbody programs, but also the removal of all the different shows I’d though of binge watching via amazon prime or Netflix or Hulu. In addition, various other goals were removed from the list as well. While I’d mentioned the possibility of adding in personal/professional development programs to keep the list ‘long’—I’m happy with it slowly falling towards the ‘original’ number of 101.

I know where I need to focus: time/project management in order to get various things off the ground and sharing a cohesive look. Since I want to pivot in the freelance/remote/online/contract direction for writing—I need to have different pieces (aside from blog posts) to showcase my abilities. Therefore, I will also be writing ‘longer’ pieces that will have a smaller blog post connect to it (‘longer’ piece may also be a ‘landing’ page of sorts).

I have at least three ideas bouncing around in my head for longer pieces, though they’re not specifically ‘medical’ topics—they are science topics (I’m still thinking on the medical topics).

Therefore, one focus over the next few weeks needs to be creating the ‘editorial’ calendar for various sites. I realized the main reason why I ‘fail’ at using the editorial calendar—I put way too much stuff on it, and don’t give myself ample time to write/edit and create images before I want to post something. This is why majority of the posts the blog have been creative/reflective—it doesn’t take much time to write (more time is spent on basic edits).

It has been suggested that I have at least six-to-eight short to medium length pieces written and saved for the weeks that I’m behind schedule. That way, it may not fit the ‘theme’ I’d been going with—but I would have a science, or nature, or travel post ready to go for that week.

I’m getting there in terms of the nature pages/posts—I have four bird pages in the editing stage, and once I have the accompany blog posts done—that is a month’s worth of posts ready to go (at one per week).

The science/medical, health/wellness, and travel posts will take a little longer—science/medical, and health/wellness more so than the travel, especially once I move into different topics (such as GMOs, biofuels, vaccines, cells, cellular pathways, clinical trials, oncology, and so forth).

One thing that may change at some point this year is the web address (becomingjessi) for the blog/website. While it is worked as I was figuring out what I wanted to do, since I have an idea (freelance/remote/contract/online writing/copywriting), I think the web address will be changed (still bouncing between a couple of options), to reflect the additional writing I will be taking on and/or offering.

I’m still doing the volunteer writing position, and approximately half of the articles that I’ve submitted have been published on their site (so that is another little addition to my writing portfolio; though they own the ‘rights’ to the pieces).

Several of those have been short blurbs on different studies that have come out on different health topics (several relating to the SARS-CoV2 virus), so that may be another thing I do on the blog—short blurbs of different papers/studies that I’ve read (or are reading). I’m also thinking of doing slide decks (now the ‘fancy’ name for PowerPoint presentations) as well. That was actually the ‘writing’ assignment for a job application last fall, and I realized where I messed up—so now I need to practice doing it ‘correctly’ (or as correct as I think I’m doing it).

So, over the next seventy-odd days I’m planning on starting to do more writing (hopefully getting enough drafts written and edited that I have possibly at least six weeks worth of posts), start trying to create slide decks and other inforgraphics, work through at least two modules of the Write Your Way to Freedom course, revamp my resume and LinkedIn profile.  In other words—attempt to create and follow a schedule that will let me do multiple things at once and embrace my mixed-styled multipontialite personality and my strengths.

Have you done the 101 Goals in 1001-Day Challenge? If so–how many goals did you manage to get finished, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsoutdoorsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Aries New Moon Goals: making plans: personal/professional and intentional movements

So the Aries new moon was actually this past Friday (April 1st). Looking forward, I realize that I need to call one of the many local pharmacies in town and see who is offering free booster shots and go get one (since the omicron variant is still running around, along with its sibling).

Looking back at what I wrote last year, we’ve been dealing with the viral pandemic for over two years now (at least in the US—we’ve entered year three), and I’m not sure how I feel about everyone thinking we can ‘downgrade’ from pandemic to endemic—but that is another post.

I had previously mentioned in an earlier post, that I decided to treat the first three months of 2022 as my ‘tester’ quarter. I did not publish as much as I’d wanted (or even planned on)—I let my inner critic/imposter syndrome get control and only posted a few posts each month (the month in review, new/full moon in review for the previous month, new/full moon for the current month, and possibly a book review or two).

So, while I’m trying to figure out a writing/editing/posting schedule for the blog and other sites, it is also time to look at the various things that one can work on during the Aries new moon.

So what are some things that one can work on during the Aries new moon? Those things include:

  1. Taking action on dreams and plans
  2. Make a 12-month plan
  3. Be courageous in moving towards achieving your goals
  4. Have some fun
  5. Focus on you

Then if one looks to see what house Aries is passing through—for me it’s passing through my 6th house or my daily work and health zone. This means that I really do need do develop a ‘fluid’ daily schedule that will let me focus on things of importance: health/fitness, personal/professional development, career, and so forth.

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time to improve things in their sixth house?

  1. Recommit to some type of exercise program
  2. Think about (correct if need be) your eating habits
  3. Help someone out this month
  4. Talk to your boss about any work concerns you might have
  5. Read a book on positive thinking
  6. Eat healthy lunches or dinners for one month–no expections
  7. Learn to meditate

So I always find it a little uncanny at times how accurate the moons transition is through the houses (especially when I know there are certain things I should be focusing on). While there are things that listed that are ‘mainstream’ (such as correcting eating habits or eating healthier)—I’m working on developing a better relationship with food, and am starting to listen to my body more. I’m also going to be moving to a more intentional movement ‘calendar’—to where I’m doing something daily for at least five to fifteen minutes each day.

So which things am I going to try to focus on over the next few weeks?

  1. Making a 12-month plan. I know what I want to be focusing on in terms of my career transition (remote writing and/or freelance writing/copywriting), and I have my other focal points (personal development, health, and hobbies) to also focus on—now I just need to turn those points into a yearly plan, and then break it down to quarterly, and then weekly and daily goals.
  2. Start with my intentional movement program (weight lifting four days a week, cardio once to twice a week, with a walk and possibly yoga or Pilates thrown in there as well).
  3. Start having yogurt with fruits and nuts for breakfast again, and possibly have some more veggies throughout the week as well.
  4. Read a book on positive thinking, positive psychology, relaxation, or mindset
  5. Continue to meditate nightly

I noticed last year, that I ended my Aries New Moon goals with the assumption that the insanity of the world was slowly starting to come under control—but this year the insanity is snowballing out of control.

I’m going to focus on what I can control (my reactions), which may mean less time with the news and social media.

I will send happy vibes, thoughts, and good feelings to the people of Ukraine who are still fighting for their country. I would have thought that by now we’d be past the slaughtering of innocence—but we’re not.

Happy, safe, loving, thoughts, vibes and prayers sent.

Namaste…

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

March in Review: Figuring out where more work is needed–finances and personal/professional development

So, we’re now a quarter of the way through 2022, and the historical events can take a break for a decade or two now…I didn’t get the ‘reset’ I’d been planning on during March—but I’ll forage into the second quarter of the year guarding it closely.

The first quarter of the year seems to have been my ‘testing’ quarter. Testing to see if I could figure out a schedule that I could stick with, and the answer is—I’m still working on that schedule. I’ll fully admit that I’m 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 quarter of the year with a more solid plan for personal/professional development, writing, networking, crafts, and just life in general.

So, we’re now into year three of the pandemic, (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and its looking like everyone is trying to move to the ‘endemic’ mindset—hate to be a party crasher, but even in an endemic, the virus can and will still kill people. Therefore, lets still practice social distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks when in a crowded space. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘February in Review’ on March 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 80.6 million cases and now as of April 1st —we have reached a little over 81.7 million cases (an increase of a little over one million cases). Numbers are going down, but is it due to the people vaccinating or just not going and getting tested??

Historical events?? The war is still ongoing in Ukraine, the sanctions are still building against Russia, North Korea is trying to develop longer range missiles, the SARS-CoV2 virus is still circulating, and I won’t even mention what happened at the Oscars last week. But, seriously—enough is enough, time out for everyone—grab a damn candy bar and chill.

The illegal invasion of Ukraine is entering the fifth week, and it seems that the talks between the two countries are stalling—FYI: I don’t think Ukraine should have to make any concessions—and Russia shouldn’t be asking for anything. Russia should have to make all the concessions for the illegal invasion. Yes, I know that there can be similarities drawn between this invasion and several that the US has led over the past few decades—the only difference, those political individuals are no longer in power here in the US (and haven’t left the country since they know they can be arrested elsewhere).

Anyway, I’ve digressed into a semi-rant on current events. As stated earlier, we’re a quarter of the way through the year, and before I really sit down and try to generate the goal list for April (and possibly an broad list for the second quarter), I should look back at the goals I set for March and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for March included:

  1. 130-150,000 steps
  2. Figure out my intentional movement calendar/board-game (aim for at least five minutes of intentional movement each day)
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read two-to-four (if not more) fiction books
  5. Recommit to the limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle card drawings and overall commitment to improving my mental and spiritual health
  7. Craft time–complete one new cross-stitch project and at least eight days of photography
  8. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  9. Continue working on expanding my writing portfolio
  10. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps; I actually managed to surpass my goal step for the month. Since there were several days wehre I managed to get a walk in at Boomer and take Chaos through the neighborhood–I managed to get 169,631 steps for the month.

Intentional movement calendar/board-game; I’m still working on developing the calendar/board-game. I’m putting weight tracking sheets into my yearly journal (so far I have tracking for 10 weeks), and am working on developing ideas for HIIT workouts (and other cardio workouts as well)–probably will take moves from various workout programs.

Finish at least one non-fiction book; I’m still bouncing between different non-fiction books, and have only read about a third to half of any one.

Read two-to-four (if not more) fiction books; I’ve read numerous fiction books this past month, and they include:

  1. A Night for Us (Wilder Brothers Prequel) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. Evernight Unleashed (Ravenwood Coven #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  3. Perfectly You (Luna Harbor #2) by Claudia Buroga
  4. Here, There, and Everywhere (Butler, VT #8) by Marie Force
  5. Falling for the Enemy by J.E. Parker
  6. Don’t Call Me Greta by Angie Santon
  7. Unraveling the Past by Beth Andrews
  8. On Her Side by Beth Andrews
  9. In This Town by Beth Andrews

Though the only two that I’ve written mini-book reviews for are the two by Carrie Ann Ryan.

Recommit to the limited spending challenge; Umm..moving on to the next goal…

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle card drawings, and overall commitment to improving my mental and spiritual health

I managed to spend a decent amount of time outdoors, though there were some days where it was fairly brief.

I’m still working on doing the daily gratitude journal entries, oracle card drawings, and improving my overall mental and spiritual health.

Those two aspects of health are just like one’s physical health—they don’t ‘collapse’ overnight, and they can’t be ‘fixed’ overnight either. Improvement has to be a steady and ongoing effort.

Craft time; I managed several days of photography (either iPhone or camera), but haven’t completed a cross-stitch project yet.

Continue working on updating the blog/website;

Well, the answer to this will also encompass the following goal (expanding my writing portfolio). The short answer—I posted during the month of March, but not as often as I had during the previous years.

The two reasons: my inner critic/imposter syndrome and fear.

Fear, that none of the ‘newer’ topics would get viewed. Fear, that what ‘traffic’ I do get to the blog would disappear, and finally fear that I wouldn’t succeed.

My inner critic/imposter syndrome has been driving that train for the past few months. I know that it will take awhile to do proper SEO research for different topics (especially for the science/medical topics) in order to be able to drive traffic to the blog organically.

I also know that I can also find my tribe by writing and sharing the posts on different sites—I haven’t done a lot of that because I didn’t/don’t want to deal various other ‘hot button’ topics of my youth.

Self-reflection over the past month reminded me that I do have that deep inner sisu—I needed it in order to finish grad school, and both post-docs. If I didn’t have that inner fortitude, I wouldn’t have finished grad school (at least not with a PhD) and I sure as hell wouldn’t have made it through the post-docs.

Continue working on expanding my writing portfolio (science/medical writing, personal/professional development, hobbies/crafts, travel, and other topics as well).

As a slight continuation of the above answer—this really didn’t happen as I’m still trying to figure out what I want really want to write about (at least science/medical topic wise). Though I’m thinking of starting with an introduction to molecular cloning (and some tips on how to get a cloning project from start to finish), and then weaving that into series on GMOs (genetically modified organisms), biofuels, and vaccines.

I’ve got several bird pages ready to write and publish and am working towards writing/publishing a page a week (along with a blog post) or possibly every other week. I also have quite a few trips that I can write about for ‘throwback’ travels as well.

I just have to ‘ignore’ the inner critic/imposter syndrome and ‘quiet’ the inner editor that wants a ‘perfect’ outline before starting to do any type of research or writing.

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card (or others if they strike my fancy).

Nope, I didn’t work through any personal/professional development courses during March. Also, if I had work through a course—I didn’t make note of it in either of my larger journals.

So March wasn’t the best month in terms of meeting my goals. I managed to hit the step goal, get outside a little more often, and read quite a few fiction books (though this really isn’t a problem usually).

Moving into the second quarter—I’m going to focus on not spending nearly as much as I have the past few months (probably looking at deleting the two games off the kindle again this coming week). Also, focusing on writing, working through various personal/professional development courses, and being more active on LinkedIn.

Therefore the goals for April will include:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. Finishing the intentional movement tracking sheets/game board and doing at least five minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Finally, writing, writing, and some more writing.

In addition to the above goals—I’m going to continue working on improving my time and project management skills as well (as being better at both will help me reach the above goals and other goals as well).

I’ll continue to send happy thoughts/good vibes to the people of Ukraine fighting to keep their country intact and move forward as they chose.

While the decade has been far from ‘smooth sailing’, and this year definitely seems bumpier than the last two—I’m hoping that it will be the last really bumpy year and we can heal, and move forward to a brighter future.

Therefore, I will remind people that 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…

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Introducing the Wilder brothers and Alexis…A great prequel, now waiting on book one

So what happens when you and your younger brothers all get out of the military at the same time?

The Wilder brothers (first introduced in Inked Obsession) are out of the Air Force and figuring out how to adjust to civilian life.

Eli, Evan, Everett, Elijah, East and Elliot are settling into life in Texas, and deciding on what to do now that they’re all civilians.

Eli has the crazy idea of them buying land and going into business together.

A friend invites Eli and Everett to ‘crash’ a wedding, and that’s where Eli finds her—Alexis.

A Night for Us was a great introduction to Eliza’s brothers and Alexis. I’m now impatiently waiting on “One Way Back to Me” to be released to find out how Eli and Alexis’s relationship turns out.

I’m sure that the Wilder brother series will have an appearance or two by Eliza, Beckett, and the Fort Collins Montgomery family.

I give “A Night for Us” five out of five stars, and highly recommend it (and the Montgomery Ink World) to anyone looking for a great contemporary romance to read.

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