Category: Health

Meditation, Reading, & Long-term goal setting: Cancer Full Moon

There wasn’t actually a Cancer full moon last year—mainly because the Cancer full moon in 2020, happened shortly before the end of the year (it fell on Dec 29, 2020). Tonight (or possibly last night), marks the first full moon of 2022. It is also the smallest full moon of the year (or the first micro-full moon). This also means that the month is a little over half way over, and 2022 is officially off and running.

So, what are some questions that one can reflect on during this time? If one looks at the book: ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, there are several questions, and they are:

Have I been insecure, clingy, and no fun this month?

Have I been coming at what I want sideways, instead of tackling it head-on?

Have I been sulky, moody, brooding, or manipulative? Hmmm?

Have I been secretive and possibly even a tad paranoid?

Have I had enough family time, or time with people who feel like family?

If I were to number the above questions one to five, I think that this year my answers would be:

  1. I haven’t really been insecure, clingy, or not fun this month. In terms of insecurity—I may be feeling a little insecure in my job search, and trying to start up a freelance business, but that is totally normal (plus I realized that my ‘biggest failure’ is playing it safe and not stepping outside my comfort zone). I’ve never really been a clingy type of person, and since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic—yes, I’m totally boring and I stay at home.
  2. I would probably say that this is a small yes—I’ve been working around the issue of job transition, setting up a freelance business, networking and everything else instead of tackling the various issues (goes back to what I realized my ‘biggest failure’ was).
  3. I don’t think I’ve been sulky or manipulative. Moody or brooding—sometimes yes I have been either of those things. We’re still in a pandemic, and I’m slowly getting tired of all the anti-science/anti-vaccine people that are prolonging the damn thing.
  4. I haven’t been paranoid, secretive—maybe. One thing I’ve realized is that going forward with the idea of launching a freelance business or even getting a remote/contract position—I need to link the blog/website to my professional profile on LinkedIn. Not that many people know that I’ve been running a blog for the past four and a half years—it isn’t something I’m ashamed of—but I didn’t share it with many only because I wasn’t wanting to deal with any potential negative comments and so forth.
  5. There is nothing but family time—we’re still in the middle of the pandemic. I’m still self-isolating, and the only people I’m around (without a mask) are family.

The Cancer full moon is also passing through my 9th house (or my ‘Big Picture’ zone). This is the time to deal with issues relating to travel, study, and so forth. There are two questions that you can ask yourself in regards to the 9th house and the Cancer full moon, and they are:

Have you been fussing too much over the details of your latest problems or tasks?

Is your life and mind expanding or narrowing?

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

  1. Yes, I probably have been fussing too much over the details (I call it over-thinking, and analysis-paralysis) for various things. I’m currently trying to rework various things to start looking for remote writing positions. I’ve been overthinking looking for the job ads (to find key words and phrases), I’ve also been overthinking how to rewrite my resume (which has to be done, since now it is mesh-mash of things). One problem has been that I didn’t keep the greatest ‘record’ of achievements throughout the years, so I’m trying to pull them from my CV.
  2. I’m working on making sure that my life and mind are expanding. I’m slowly working on stretching my comfort, bounce (I added this zone in), and stretch zones while shrinking my risk and die zones.

There has been some improvement over the past twelve and a half months–I have a direction (possibly two) in terms of career that I’m thinking of pursuing (which is more than I can say really at the beginning of last year), I’ve acknowledge my burnout, and still work on improving (not slipping/falling back into it), and I’ve just been making baby steps forward.

I’m slowly working on trying to do more than just science things—as I remembered how much I’ve enjoyed history, geography, and other social sciences (not to mention art history and the humanities). I’m trying to remember to spend some time doing crafts (photography or maybe starting another cross-stitch project).

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

  1. Nightly oracle card drawings and meditation
  2. Draft a three-to-five year plan (with yearly/quarterly/monthly/bi-weekly goals)
  3. Finish at least one more non-fiction book
  4. Work through at least another three-to-five videos (or another one-to-two modules) of an personal/professional development e-course.

Finally remember: Progress over Perfection, and You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.

The combination of growth, creativity, and curiosity will lead to happiness and prosperity.

What are your plans for this first (and only) micro-super moon period?

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Looking Back at 2021: I’m a bookworm. Now to plan for 2022 and beyond

While looking ahead to a ‘blank slate’ of 2022, I realized that I should also reflect on 2021 and the ups, down, hills, valleys, and everything in between. The post will probably seem a little bit ‘rambling’—but that is due to just writing what I’m thinking and not really organizing my thoughts beforehand.

We were still in the grip of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic during 2021. While there have been several vaccines approved (the Pfizer one received full approval from the FDA and CDC towards the end of the year), there is unfortunately still a good portion of the population that is refusing to get vaccinated.

Come early March, we will be entering year three of the pandemic—hopefully we’ll be seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ by summer????

I’ve still been isolating at home (only leaving the house maybe a couple of times a week—one to get the paper on the weekends, then an occasional walk either at Boomer Lake with my camera or through the neighborhood with Chaos) for the most part this past year. Like everyone else, I would like for things to return to a ‘new normal’—but I also understand that it will take awhile for the ‘new normal’ to emerge and everyone to get on the same page.

I’m not planning on doing any type of travel this year (thanks omicron variant and anti-vaxxers), but hopefully maybe able to do a small trip sometime between 2023 and 2024.

Since the number of cases is still skyrocketing due to the omicron variant—I plan of trying to get my booster shot sometime within the next two weeks.

The only huge crisis we had this past year was with Rolex—when we took her to get an allergy shot, she developed the rare side effect of hemolytic anemia. So, the past few months have been a roller coaster as we try to help her overcome the anemia. So, far she’s had two blood transfusions and is on numerous medications—we’ll hopefully see if she can be weaned off of two of them entirely next month (I’m assuming one of the meds will be lowered again this month).

Chaos doesn’t care of strangers (which is both good and bad), so when I do have to take him into the vet—he has to be given meds to mellow him out. I’m hoping to possibly start taking him for longer walks (to where we might encounter other people) this coming spring.

In terms of my career—I think I’ve figured it ‘out’ (at least a little). I’m going to go in the direction of remote/contract/online science/medical communications/education with the end goal of creating my own freelance business (melding copywriting [medical/science communication/education, health/wellness, and personal/professional development] with blogging [hobbies, travels, and personal/professional development]). Therefore, the blog/website will be getting update throughout the year as I work my way in that direction.

I managed to land a ‘volunteer’ medical content writing position with a company in Canada during the summer—so I’m getting my ‘feet’ wet in the regards of summarizing scientific papers and other topics for the general public. In addition, I put in my application for a couple of freelance writing position and then a medical writers position—didn’t get any of them, but I was proud of the fact I went ahead and applied for each of them, being a total ‘newbie’ in the online medical writing world.

I’ve joined another accountability group—which is good, but since I’ve really ‘narrowed’ down what I want to do (remote/online writing and/or data analysis), I’m having problems finding the job postings. I’ll be working on those assignments, and giving updates throughout the next few months (which will include ‘linking the blog/website’ to my LinkedIn account).

Those were some of the highlights for the year, so how did 2021 go in general?

In terms of steps—I had a rough goal of at least 1,825,000 steps (breaking down to basically 5,000 steps per day). I managed to get 1,979,594 steps for the year, with the following monthly breakdown:

January:          159,685

February:        146,418

March:             197,430

April:              187,411

May:               187,855

June:               149,009

July:                140,686

August:           154,591

September:      157,114

October:          160,753

November:      168,476

December:       170,166

The months with the lowest number of steps happened to be during the summer, when it was a little too warm (or humid or both) to be outside walking either on my own or with my dog.

While I’d set the goal of completing nine workout programs throughout 2021—I managed to complete three, and then spent the rest of the year concentrating on more ‘intentional movements’ than fitness programs.

I also had set the goal of reading a minimum of 80 books (30 non-fiction and 50 fiction), and the actual total number of books that I read last year was a minimum of 127 books (12 non-fiction and at least 105 fiction). These included new and rereads (all of which were within the fiction category).

I met the goal of at least fifty fiction books (actually doubled it), and almost met half the goal of non-fiction books (thirty).

The non-fiction books I read during 2021 included:

  1. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny
  2. Badass Habits: Cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero
  3. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
  4. The Joy of Missing Out: Live more by doing less by Tonya Dalton
  5. The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–A creative and practical guide by Margaret Lobensteine
  6. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
  7. Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed
  8. The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
  9. 25 Ways to work from Home by Jen Ruiz
  10. Write to Speak by Mike Acker
  11. I want to do all the things: finding balance as a polymath, multipotentialite, and renaissance soul by Arcadia Page
  12. The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own by Joshua Becker

In terms of fiction books read during 2021 (new and re-reads), I managed to read (a minimum) of 105 fiction books, and they included:

  • Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Burgoa
  • A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Call You Mine (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #22) by Marie Force
  • Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale
  • I re-read the first nine books in the Alders series by Avery Gale
  • The Shadowdance Club (7 book series) by Avery Gale
  • Masters of the PrairieWind Club (11 book series–as of Feb 2021) by Avery Gale
  • Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (The Billionaire’s Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott
  • Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) by Becca Van
  • Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van
  • Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van
  • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
  • Re-read the entire Fatal series (16 books) prior to State of Affairs coming out
  • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
  • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
  • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
  • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
  • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #32) by Becca Van
  • Royal Line (Tatter Royals #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
  • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
  • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  • A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd
  • Come Together (Butler VT #7) by Marie Force
  • Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • The Green Mountain Series (7 books) by Marie Force
  • First six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force
  • Vortex: A FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter
  • Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
  • Catnip and Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday
  • My Next Play (On My Own #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston
  • Yours to Keep (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Inked Kingdom by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Inked Devotion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Temptation after Dark (Gansett Island #23)
  • Finally You (Luna Harbor #1) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Enemy Heir (Tatter Royals #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
  • Mated in Darkness (Talon Pack #10) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43) by Cara Covington
  • My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • The Morgan Brothers (5 books) by Avery Gale
  • State of Grace (First Family #2) by Marie Force
  • Snow Dragon (Dragon Knights #16) by Bianca D’Arc
  • Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17) by Bianca D’Arc
  • Falling for Fallon (Masters of the Prairie Wind Club #12) by Avery Gale
  • Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper (Billionaires Obsessions #17) by J.S. Scott

I’m pretty sure that there are probably another 20-30 books that I re-read during the year, but didn’t keep track of–what can I say, I’m a book worm and I would rather spend my evenings reading than watching TV.

While I had decided on doing a ‘no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month’, the only month that I really succeed at it was January. I ‘slipped’ and spent more money throughout the year than I really should have. I’ve pledge to restart the challenge this year, and to do better than I did last year (not aiming for perfection—but aiming for progress).

While the goal for 2021 was to finish at least twenty e-courses, I managed to finish nine throughout the year. I’d found that if I managed to watch several in a month, I ‘took’ the next month (or two) ‘off’ (probably unintentionally—letting ‘Pam’ win an unspoken argument). The courses that I ‘watched’ and ‘completed’ included:

On Skillshare:

  1. Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content
  2. 3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog
  3. Finding your inner creative
  4. Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce
  5. Create a simple digital marketing plan
  6. Crappy Copy: 8 digital copywriting mistakes you should avoid

Two Cheeky Scientist Association Advance Programs:

  1. Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Intellectual Property Pack

Then on Udemy:

  1. Understanding and developing Emotional Intelliegence

The goal for 2022 will be to at least double (if not triple) the number of e-courses that I watch/finish.

One big accomplishment I that managed to get done during 2021 was the creation and updating of my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams. The first one that I did in February/March was an ‘assignment’ from a coach, when it became obvious (to her) that I was struggling with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.

Since that first one—I’ve modified it four times, adding in a ‘bounce zone’ between the comfort and the stretch zone, and have watched the comfort and stretch zones (along with the bounce zone) grow, and the risk zone shrink.

I also created a personal/professional board game as well to help me ‘figure’ things out—and I’ve discovered the ‘biggest’ drawback on the game is that everything is ‘open-ended’ (such as review immunology or review cell biology).

I managed to teach myself basic cross-stitching this past year, and even finished three abstract design pieces. I started to do a more ‘nature’ based piece, and will probably try to turn it ‘abstract’ as I didn’t like how the cacti were turning out. I managed to spend quite a bit of time over the year up at Boomer Lake with my camera (one thing I still need to do is curate and delete all the really dark and/or blurry pictures I’ve taken over the past few decades).

Overall, 2021 was an okay year—not great (I mean there is still the pandemic), but also not a totally horrible year either. I’ve made progress in terms of personal and professional development (while some may see the past two years as ‘unemployed’—I view them as investing in myself)—maybe not as much as I’d originally liked, but still managed to do quite a bit. I’ve decided the career direction I’d like to pursue (remote/contract/online science/medical communications/writing and possibly data analysis), with the long-term goal of creating my own freelance business.

Therefore, heading into 2022, I’ve decided that:

I’ll have an overall BINGO card for the year (similar to what I tried to do for 2021), in addition to having BINGO cards for non-fiction books, e-courses, and intentional movement.

If I read a non-fiction book or complete/watch an e-course that isn’t on either of the current BINGO cards—I’ll write them down to put on an additional BINGO card.

The goal is to have at least a single BINGO on each of the cards (Bonus to have a totally checked BINGO card), and to have at least one BINGO on the overall yearly BINGO card as well.

I will transition into a remote/contract/online science/medical communications position. To help achieve that goal—I’m aiming at writing and publishing at least six scientific blog posts/articles by the end of the year. Each will be a minimum of 1000 words and will probably cover different topics I find of interest (or sub-topics within a specific ‘niche’).

In addition, I’m planning on writing at least two small literature reviews (being somewhere between 1000 and 1500 words), on one or two science topics, in addition to the larger project I’ve had bouncing around in my head for the past year.

I will also finish updating/modifying the blog/website to showcase the addition of science/medical writing in addition to my pieces on personal/professional development, hobbies, and travels.

Overall, I plan on 2022 being the year of ‘change’ and ‘growth’—growing as a science communicator, changing/transitioning into a ‘new’ position, and also finding my online ‘tribe’.

How was your 2021, and what do you have planned for 2022?

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End of 2021, December in Review: BINGO cards and other goals

Well, 2021 is officially over. We’ve entered 2022, and I’d like to please ask everyone to keep their hands to themselves for at least the first month. Be polite to each other, nod hello, wear the mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and possibly this year may go ‘better’ than the previous two years.

While I may not have stayed off social media as much as I should have the past month or so—I am trying to still stay away from mainstream media (to help control my stress/anxiety levels). Though, 2021 could have ended nicer—I mean really Betty White??

We’re now about two months shy of starting year three of the pandemic (things in the US started to close down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m hoping that people will be kind and considerate of their family and friends and get the damn shot for themselves and their children. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘November in Review’, I noted that were a little over 49.4 million cases and as of midnight—we had reached almost 55.7 million cases (an increase of 6.8 million cases during the month of December). The numbers are going up—mainly because the omicron variant is more contagious than the delta (or other) variants, and not as main adults are getting their shots (or possibly booster shots).

I’m hoping that the clinical trials for the younger children (under the age of five) has as good of results as the other children clinical trials and those shots are available come summertime. The only way this pandemic is going to get under control is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and also listening to those who have decades of experience working with infectious diseases.

Again, I didn’t get as much work done in regards to the blog/website during the month of December—and I will totally blame it on the games that I’d downloaded on my kindle over the past few months (though they’ve both been ‘removed’). I’m aiming to make the transition to a remote medical/science writer this year, update/organize/rebrand the blog/website, and create a part-time freelance business by the end of the year (with the goal of it becoming full-time within the next two to five years).

But before looking too far into 2022, I need to look back at the goals I set for December of 2021 and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for December included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continuing with my second round of morning meltdown 100
  3. Setting up my ‘master’ plan/outline for 2022-2025
  4. Read at least one non-fiction book
  5. Read two to three fiction books (and possibly have small book reviews written adn 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. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. In terms of 130-155,000 steps, I managed to meet and surpass the goal with a total of 170,166 steps. There were several walks at Boomer Lake and a couple of walks with Chaos through the neighborhood.
  2. In terms of continuing my second round of morning meltdown 100–I’ll be restarting it at the beginning of the year, and probably following it four to five days a week (so it will possibly stretch a little longer than just 100 days). I wasn’t up to pushing play all that often during December.
  3. In terms of setting up a master plan/outline for 2022-2025; I have a ‘master habit tracking journal for 2022 mostly set up (I just need to put in the boxes for almost every page for April-December). Since I’ve decided to go int eh direction of remote/contract/freelance writing and blogging I know that there are several things that I need to focus on this year for that to occur and I’m slowly working on that plan/outline (probably will be its own post within the next two weeks or so0
  4. In terms of reading at least one non-fiction book–I only read fiction books during December.
  5. In terms of reading two to three fiction books–I read the following:
    • My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan (this is the only one that I wrote a review on last month)
    • Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper (The Billionaire’s Obsession #17) by J.S. Scott
    • State of Grace (A First Family #2) by Marie Force
    • Snow Dragon (Dragon Knights #16) and Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17) by Bianca D’Arc
  6. In terms of my no spend days/no spend weeks/limited-spending month–I did better towards the end of the month (especially after removing a couple of games from the kindle), but still spent more that I should have. I’ll be ‘restarting’ the challenge again come January–so this will be a monthly goal for several more years to come.
  7. In terms of my ‘mindfulness’ activities (time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries) the only one that I was consistent with was being outdoors (even if it was only 10-15 minutes at night with the dogs). I’m going to try to get back into the habit of meditating at night and doing a daily gratitude journal entry.
  8. In terms of craft time–I did a few color by number pictures, some photography, but did not finish the fourth cross-stitch project. I think that currently I’m going to stick to abstract/fantasy things and not try to landscape images for awhile.
  9. In terms of working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course–while I didn’t get any ‘modules’ completed during December, I did join another accountability group for working my way towards my transition to a remote writing position (one of the really pricy purchases in December).

I would say that I managed to complete a fifth of my December goals, and also made a little headway on aother two–so in total I managed two-fifths of the goals for December 2021.

Some goals only had minor progress throughout the year (limited spending challenge after January for one), while others were met on a somewhat consistent basis (step goal being within the range set)–but the important thing I didn’t just stop I continued going even if it was only little steps that might look like staying in place to others.

‘Pam’ managed to derail me this past month, but at the same time I was ‘willing’ to be derailed. The first week or so of 2022 will be spent creating various lists for things I want to get accomplished during 2022 (landing that remote writing position, reworking/branding the blog/website, and so forth). I’ve realized that one of my major problems has been trying to throw everything on a list and then struggle to get everything accomplished (or written) in say over the course of a month.

So the goals throughout 2022 are going to be similar to the goals that were set during 2021—mainly because striving for the same goals (especially once you achieve them consistently) makes them habits—and then one can start adding in ‘new’ goals.

Therefore the goals for January 2022 will include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps; hoping to be able to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake and hopefully at least one or two walks through the neighborhood with Chaos as well
  2. Continue with a second round of Morning meltdown 100 (possibly on ly M-F)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card
  4. Continue setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond)
  5. Read two to four (if not more) fiction books and write mini-book reviews to be posted on the blog and other sites
  6. Continue with the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Daily mindfulness activities: time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitgude journal enteries, and daily oracle drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  10. Assignments for the diamond group
  11. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card

I’m focusing on making 2022 the year of ‘changes’—landing that remote position, and getting other items check-off the list. ‘Pam’ may still try to derail me, but if I sit and chat once a month with her—maybe, just maybe we can come to a ‘truce’ on the balance between ‘doing nothing’ and ‘doing too much’.

Last year I chose the words growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity as my words of the year.

I’m going to be keeping those this year—mainly because creativity and curiosity are strengths, and growth is needed to ensure happiness and prosperity.

Part of the ‘master’ plan is to determine what my actual ‘definition’ of prosperity is—in other words, what will make me ‘happy and fulfilled’.

In addition I’m keeping the quotes: ‘progress over perfection’, ‘you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one’ and ‘not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make’.

In terms of the last quote—I should state that is isn’t so much ‘not caring’ but ‘not giving’ preference to someone else’s opinion. I’m the only one who can live my life—therefore, I will give preference to my own opinion and needs over the opinions and wants of others.

Have you chosen any word, words, or phrases for 2022 yet? If so—what are they?

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Time to sit, plan, create bingo cards and workout

So the moon will be entering the Sagittarius constellation today, and its last ‘new moon’ phase for 2021. That means there are 27 days left in December and 2021. While there are now vaccines available for dealing with the SARS-CoV2 pandemic—various countries are hoarding them, companies are ‘protecting trade secrets’ and therefore we’re still in the middle of the damn pandemic. I’m hoping that by the end of 2022, we’re seeing the pandemic coming under control and everyone is finding a ‘new normal’.

So what are some of the things that one can do during the time of Sagittarius new moon?

Looking at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, you can:

  1. Get away–travel
  2. Study
  3. Search for meaning
  4. Laugh
  5. Be grateful

Well, since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic—I’m not traveling anytime soon. Yes, I’m vaccinated (though I still need to go get my booster shot, and I wear a mask) but I’m not going to risk catching it and possibly dealing with long-term COVID symptoms.

In terms of ‘searching for meaning’—I’m viewing that as figuring out what I want to be doing with my life and where I would like to be in say fifteen to twenty years.

I’m starting to ‘study’ again—I have numerous different e-courses that I need to be working through.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone. Hopefully people will be getting their kids (if they’re over the age of five) vaccinated and getting the booster shots for themselves before having large family gathering this month for the holidays. I’m still not really in the ‘holiday’ spirit (at least in terms of wanting numerous gifts), but that could be due to the how the world is going, and the fact that I’m trying to start going for a more minimalist feel—but still cozy. I’d like to say that I’m moving within a year—but that probably is more like two to five depending on the pandemic and how I mange to transition into a remote/contract/freelance writing positions.

As I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts—I’m still slowly working towards a minimalistic lifestyle. The clothes still need to be sorted through, DVDs sold back that I don’t watch, and another desk and bookcase bought for organization—I decided that I’m going to try to separate the ‘work station’ from the ‘craft station’. Anyway, back to the second house—the cash, property, and value zone.

So some of the things that you can do during this time include (again, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles”):

  1. Start a savings account
  2. Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc
  3. Hire an accountant, if it’s all too much
  4. Showcase your talents
  5. Get a neck and shoulder massage
  6. Invest in an expensive neck cream

I have a saving account (though it isn’t as large as I would really like), and I’m paying my bills and debt (taxes currently aren’t an issue since I haven’t had a job for two years). Hiring an accountant isn’t in the cards right now (mainly because there isn’t a reason for it). I’m also trying to ‘showcase’ my talents by reworking the blog/website and leaning in the direction of remote/contract medical/science writing and freelance writing (coving medical/science education/communication as well as health/fitness, and personal/professional development).

I’m slowly trying to get back into a daily gratitude practice (something that I let lapse during November), and realize that compared to where I felt I was at early in 2020—I’ve come a long way.

So if I were to make a small goal list for the Sagittarius new moon period, the goals would include:

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule for getting various things done
  2. Set up a goal list/bingo card for 2022
  3. Pick the e-courses that I want to be working through over the next few months
  4. Continue with a combination of Morning Meltdown 100 and walking
  5. Setting up a dedicated work station, craft station, and a semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedoroom

While heading into the last few weeks of December, I realize that my inner critic/imposter syndrome is going to be trying to derail me (as it managed to do during November), and that will meaning sitting down and having a ‘discussion’ with myself on why I’m working against myself.

But I will also remind myself: ‘Progress over Perfection’, you’re starting the next chapter of your life, and to remember not to but too much weight on the opinions of others.

2021 didn’t go the way I’d been hoping (though there are vaccines now for the virus), but that just means that hopefully 2022 will be a little more joyous and prosperous.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2022?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Acknowledging the slips in progress is progress: November in Review

There are now only thirty days left in 2021 (after today). The summer seemed to have flown by, and fall is seemingly racing into winter. While I would like to say that November was better than October—it was in some ways, and worse in others.

One ‘holiday’ down (though other than the fact that we had a turkey and various sides for dinners—we treated Thanksgiving like a ‘normal’ long weekend), and one more to go (for us, that will be Christmas), but Happy Holidays for everyone who celebrates a holiday over the next month or more.

I really don’t care for the holidays (especially Thanksgiving), so I just try to treat each day like a ‘disrupted’ day (realizing that I may not get everything done that I wanted to, since more people may be around).

I haven’t decided when I’m going to head off to get my booster (I wear a mask when I go into stores and even when I walk around Boomer Lake), but it will be done at some point this winter.

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 ‘October in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 46.8 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 49.4 million cases (so we had just a little over 2.8 million cases last month; the numbers are still going up, and that could be due to the newest variant (omicron) that has been found to be various countries around the world—and it may or may not be able to get around the vaccines). So please—get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and when you’re able to get the booster shot. (End rant)

So, the only age group that currently isn’t eligible for the vaccine is kids under the age of five (and the clinical trials are starting for that group soon—I think, they’re trying to enroll kids in the first phase currently).

I didn’t get much done in terms of ‘reorganization’ of the blog/website this past month. I also didn’t get that much written either. While I’d like to blame it on ‘writers block’—the truth is that I let the imposter syndrome/inner critic derail me, in part due to the change in time (I hate when we have to reset the clocks), and the fact that it is suppose to be getting cooler (meaning less days outside)—but we’ve been having nice weather, so I’ve been outside soaking up the sun.

But before jumping into December, I need to look back at the goals I set for November and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for November included:

  1. 130-150,000 steps
  2. Restart Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Work through the LinkedIn Mastery Ring program from the Cheeky Scientist Association; plus continue working on the wriing 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
  10. Work through at least one other personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. In terms of hitting somewhere between 130-150,000 steps, I managed to get 168,476 steps during the month. I managed a weekly walk (usually on the weekend) up at Boomer Lake, plus took Chaos for a couple of walks through the neighborhood.
  2. I’ve started my second round of Morning Meltdown 100, and probably should finish it around March 8 of next year.
  3. I’ve only managed to work through the first module of the LinkedIn Mastery Ring program. I just didn’t feel like sitting aroudn and doing any computer work this past month.
  4. There wasn’t much reading this month either.
  5. I did manage to read two fiction books (though I’m not sure if I got small book reviews written or not):
    • Enemy Heir (Tatter Royals #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan & Nana Malone
    • Mated in Darkness (Talon Pack #10) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  6. I will be covering my spending in the next installment of my limited spending check-in, but can say that November was not a good month in terms of limited spending.
  7. I managed to spend quite a bit of time outdoors this month, and found time to sit quietly as well. In terms of meditation at the end fo the day and writing in the journal–not so much.
  8. I’m still working on finishing the fourth cross-stitch project, and realized that I’m happier when doing abstract/no real design projects. The fourth one was suppose to be a nature inspired project (I was aiming for trying to do different cacti and making it semi-desert like), but while there may be two ‘cacti’ on it, the rest will be abstract in order to finish it.
  9. As I mentioned in my introduction, I didn’t spend much time on the computer or updating/revising the blog this past month. I unintentionally allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to derail my ‘schedule for the month’.
  10. Nope, again—I allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to derail me this past month in terms of really doing anything on the computer.

When we enter the month of November, it means shorter days (damn you time change), and usually cooler weather. We have been having cooler weather, but also stretch of ‘nice’ days when I feel like sitting outside more than I feel like being on the computer. Also, this past month I just didn’t feel like really doing anything—in part due to the time/weather change, but also because I unintentionally allowed my inner critic/imposter syndrome to derail me.

I have an assessment test early in December with a medical communications company, and if it goes well—a zoom interview possibly after the beginning of the New Year, and I’m thinking of putting in my application for another medical writing position as well. While I am slowly working towards creating a freelance writing business, I’m also willing to start out working remotely for a company as well (besides getting my foot in the door, a steady paycheck, I’d also be building relationships with possible future customers).

I’m now ‘developing’ my interior decorator, as I’m in the process of creating an ‘all-in-one’ room (since I live at home with my parents, and I usually tend to stay back in my bedroom for most of the day)—my room will have the ‘work’ area, the ‘craft’ area, the workout area, the meditation area, and the ‘sleep’ area.

Some will probably flow into each other and the workout area will be ‘picked’ up daily (need to find the best spot for the dumb bells), but by doing this—I’ll be more attuned to living in a small space that isn’t cluttered (this is also an exercise in minimalism as well).

So, while I didn’t meet many goals (basically only the step goal and one of the reading goals), I wasn’t ‘stagnant’—I was moving in the proper direction, just through some very ‘stagnant, negative-energy filled thoughts’. December is here, and in addition to ending the year on a ‘strong’ note—it also means planning out for 2022 and beyond, so that I can transition into a medical writing position, and then within a few years have a full time freelance writing business up and going.

The goals for December shall include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continuing with my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022 to 2025
  4. Read at least one non-fiction book
  5. Read two to four fiction books (and have small book reviews written and published on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending months
  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
  10. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

The goals are similar to past months, mainly because I felt like I’ve slid a little during November, and by keeping the same goals—I could possibly achieve them.

Since I’ve realized that I let my inner critic/imposter syndrome win a large fight (one I wasn’t even aware of)—I’ve realized that I need to check in with myself when I find myself doing things that aren’t edging towards goals but instead running away from them.

Some people say that you should name your inner critic/imposter syndrome and when you feel like they’re sneaking up and pulling in the wrong direction, you call them out and ‘have a chat’. I’ve been leaning towards naming mine Pam (as it isn’t someone I talk with or know, I wouldn’t feel bad about having a hard ‘heart-to-heart’ with her when needed).

In order to make progress towards the remote science/medical writing position and starting a freelance business, I need to be able to stick to my goals. Those goals are going to ‘scare Pam’ for a while, but as long as I can talk her into continuing moving forward we should be okay.

Have you named your inner critic/imposter syndrome?

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Using the comfort diagram to expand one of the niches

It’s been roughly nine months since I was ‘assigned’ my first comfort diagram to draw.

Original Comfort Diagram

Over the past nine months (and truthfully, longer than that–I’d say the past five to six years), I’ve been doing quite a bit of personal reflection/self-assessment to try to figure out what it is I want to be doing with my life.

Research at the bench will always hold a special place–it was my longest ‘running’ job: undergraduate lab tech, graduate student, two-postdoctoral positions, and two staff scientist positions.

It just isn’t want I want to be doing with the rest of my life–maybe due to burnout, boredom, growing tired of funding issues, or a combination of all of the above.

The past year and half since the pandemic start has been a reflection and recovery period.

Latest Comfort Diagram

I’m slowly rediscovering my love of learning, doing crafts, thinking outside the box, and not rushing around constantly.

The second comfort diagram has come a long way from the first.

The bounce zone was added, things have been moved around, other things have been added (intuitive eating and interior design for example), and the comfort, bounce, and stretch zones have all grown–while the risk zone is slowly shrinking.

I’ve explored several different job directions over the past year (medical writing, data analysis, clinical research, and intellectual property), and while all are interesting–I also realize that I need to select one (or two) directions to focus on to begin with.

I’ve decided to focus on science/medical writing/communication to begin with, knowing that it can cover clinical research (and possibly even intellectual property), and I can always add in data analysis at some point.

I also know that I should be trying to focus on one or two areas in terms of my ‘expertise’ in science/medical writing/communications. Truth, be told–I’m finding it more difficult to decide on these two areas, than I did on trying to narrow down what type of industry positions I wanted to initially investigate.

Mind-mapping is a wonderful tool, especially when trying to see how things fit together.

My ‘what interests’ me in science mind-map

As I was drawing the mind map, I felt like most items could branch off of either molecular biology or cellular biology. I also felt like those two areas were connected by the ‘central dogma of biology’.

I have expertise in several areas of molecular biology: molecular cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, sequencing, and construction of libraries for high-throughput sequencing.

Luckily, I know that I can add or switch my ‘focus’ area as I progress as a science/medical writer–meaning I don’t have to strictly write about microbiology or botany forever.

Therefore, I will probably start with the ‘expertise’ areas (if nothing else–I’m thinking of creating longer posts or a self-published short e-book giving troubleshooting tips for one or more of the topics), and possibly pick areas of oncology and neuroscience to begin with.

These two subject areas will still allow me to look at the cell cycle, signal transduction pathways, epigenetics, metabolism, and even the ‘program’ cell death pathways as well.

Though within oncology, I may need to narrow the field and decide which cancer(s) I’m going to focus on (since there are literally over fifty different ‘types’ of cancers). Neuroscience and its related diseases are smaller in number compared to cancer.

What question(s) do you have in regards to oncology (the study of cancers) or neuroscience, that you would like me to answer in a future post?

No Comments careerHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Balancing the coin between personal and professional development goals

So the moon entered its latest full moon stage last night (November 19; I’m a day or so behind in my writings). This means that there are only ten days left in November, and forty-one days left in 2021. Hopefully 2022 will be a slightly mellower than 2021 has been.

Since we’re into fall (or early winter), I will hopefully be getting a walk in this weekend—but remembering all camera gear, that way if I need the longer lens for the ducks in the middle of the lake, I’ll have them.

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

Have I been lazy or overly self-indulgent this month?

Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

Have I done enough exercise?

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

  1. Yes, I have been slightly lazy and self indulgent this month, so far. I need to get back into a fitness routine, which means having the dogs and cats out of the room by no later than quarter after eight so I can do a twenty to thirty minute workout. I also need to quit spending money on the silly game I’ve been playing for the past couple of weeks as well. November is shaping up like March in terms of splurging.
  2. Looking back at last year’s answer: I’ve never really been one for status symbols. I’m not obsessed with money—though I’m now really thinking more on the direction(s) for my transition, since I’ve managed to run through a good amount of my savings during the past two years.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through grad school (and all four positions afterwards as well). Last year I mentioned how I was only slightly jealous of countries that were handling the pandemic decently—and those are the ones I’m still slightly jealous of. The only thing I’m becoming slightly possessive over is my ‘me time’ or my quiet time—time where I’m really not having to deal with other people, and its one of the reasons I’m really leaning in the remote/contract/freelance direction—I can have my waking up time in the mornings.
  4. This is a yes/no question. No, in the sense I don’t like the phrase ‘comfort eating’. Food is meant to comfort and fuel us–calling it ‘comfort food’ can have a ‘negative’ feel to those who are trying to heal their relationship with food. Yes, in the sense that I’m eating foods that ‘comfort’ me–some may have a little more nutritional value than others.
  5. We finally got our Wi-Fi problem corrected. This means that I should be able to stream workouts, without there being constant buffering. I will probably start my second round of morning meltdown 100 on Monday.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves.

For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), I’m still not working, therefore that means focusing on other relationships—(family, and friends).

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and therefore it isn’t safe to really get together with anyone outside of family. In terms of family—it isn’t safe to try to visit anyone who is living out of state—that means I’m usually just around my parents (and my younger brother since he moved back to town).

This has been another weird year (we’re still in the grasp of the pandemic, even though vaccines are available for everyone over the age of five; we have competent people in the White House, but the world is still tumbling in a downwards spiral), and I acknowledge that I’m still trying to do the best that I can—even if it looks like I’m moving backwards in some areas.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

  1. Start another round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continue mending my relationship with food (start eating yogurt/fruits/nuts again for breakfast at least two days a week)
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website to focus on the slight ‘swerve’ towards adding in more science/edical, health/wellness, and personal/professional development writing pieces
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile to showcase my interest in moving towards more of a writing career (key words, companies to follow, and building up my network in those areas)
  5. Get back into a nightly meditation routine

In order to try to finish 2021 on the ‘right’ note—there is quite a bit of computer work to be done, and I know that if I start again with fitness (and getting in more protein), I will be able to get my anxiety and stress under control.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Scorpio New Moon Goals: half personal development, half professional development

So the moon is going to be transitioning through it’s new phase tonight, and moving through the Scorpio constellation. There are only 57 days left in 2021—where did the time go? Looking back at what I wrote last year—the pandemic was just starting to ‘pick’ up and the world had over 54 million cases, the US was topping 11 million, and there were over 1.3 million dead; basically a year later and the world has almost 248.5 million cases, the US is almost at 47 million cases, and there are over 5 million dead worldwide. Hopefully we can get the vaccine to countries that really need it, parents will vaccinate their kids, and maybe we’ll start to see the end of the pandemic sometime in 2022 or 2023.

So as the moon moves through Scorpio, there are several things that one can do during this time (according to “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

  1. Get Sexy
  2. Invest Wisely
  3. Make inner peace
  4. B-r-e-a-t-h-e
  5. Drop grudges

This moon is also moving through my first house or my image zone (how one presents themselves to the world). While Aries is the start of the zodiac calendar—when the moon (either full or new) passes through your first house, it can also seem as the start of a “new year” (we can have a “new start” twice a year if necessary).

So what are some of the things that one can do during this time?

  1. Surprise friends with the ‘new you’
  2. Throw out all your old make-up and start again
  3. Get married or meet someone new
  4. Good time to move
  5. Splurge on something in a vibrant color
  6. Have a facial
  7. Get your sight checked

I feel like I’m still being guided to focus on myself and am getting the gentle reminder that I’m worth whatever work I put into crafting my own future. The path is still slightly ‘murky’—but it is there, I just have to be willing to walk the path even if I can’t see that much of it. As I’d stated last year—if I do nothing, others would be deciding my future for me.

I’m still crossing a few things off the above lists:

  1. Throwing out make-up; Since I’m setting up a freelance business and working from home, I’m currently not wearing makeup (and truthfully I’ve never really been a fan of wearing makeup)
  2. Getting married or meeting someone new; I’m not in a relationship currently nor am I currently looking to for a relationship
  3. Moving–I still need an idea of where to move and the finances to afford it
  4. Getting a facial–I can scrub my face at home and I have one or two different facial masks I can try for free
  5. Getting my sight checked is currently crossed off due to the fact we’re still basically in the middle of a pandemic

While there may be people who are getting tired of seeing me state that I’m still going to be self-isolating (even after getting my vaccine and booster shots)–I’m doing it really until enough of the vaccine has been distributed worldwide that the daily number of new cases is under 100K (and currently the number has been running between 350-480K a day). Once the numbers drop and stay low–then I may start thinking of actually interacting more with the outside world.

For my short list of goals for the Scorpio new moon, they will include:

  1. Continuing to work on healing my relationship with food and movement. This will include restarting my second round of morning meltdown 100, finding in-season fruits that I enjoy eating, and figuring out what in-season veggies I’m willing to eat this fall/winter.
  2. Continue with my evening meditation/sitting quietly for at least five minutes
  3. Start working through the complete personal finance course on Udemy
  4. Continue working through the Write Your Way to Freedom copywriting course

Hopefully our Wi-Fi issues have almost been resolved, and that means I can try to dedicate more time to online learning/networking/work. I’m looking at the last two months of 2021, and reminding myself that I need to aim for ‘progress over perfection’, and that it will be slow going writing the next chapter of my life.

Have a blessed Scorpio New Moon period, and remember also to aim for progress and not perfection.

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Review of Libra goals: two parts personal & one part professional development

So we’re going to be entering the next new moon phase this week—for those within the US, it will be on Thursday, November 4th; and for others it could be on the fourth or the fifth. That means there will only be 58 days left in 2021. It seems that time is starting to ‘pick back up’ after ‘dragging’ last year. Though this reminder is a few days early—for those of us in the US, we should remember to turn our clocks back an hour before going to bed on Saturday.

The next new moon will be within the Scorpio constellation, but before looking ahead to setting up goals for the Scorpio new moon, I should look back at the goals I set for the Libra new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I’d set for the Libra new moon included:

  1. Unplugging at night. I’m basically going to try to set a boundary of not being on the computer after eight pm.
  2. Continue to work at regaining my identity; slowly work at resolving/healing the unhealthy diet/exercise mindset that I’d developed voer the past couple of decades.
  3. Figure out how to launch a freelance/remote/contract business. This is facing a ‘fear’ and would start first as a freelance/remote/contract writing business before adding in possibly data analysis, project management, and/or product management.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of trying to unplug at night:

I’m starting to get a little better at ‘unplugging’ from the computer around eight every night. Usually I will quickly check my email, and then various social sites and depending on whether or not there are messages/comments to respond to—I will put the computer to sleep for the night.

I’m still working on trying to ‘unplug’ for part of the weekend. It was easier the past week or so when our modem and router were dying and the Wi-Fi signal for the house sucked. Now that things are starting to work better, I will be devising a better plan for ‘unplugging’ on the weekends.

In terms of resolving/healing my unhealthy diet/exercise mindset—baby steps are being made. It isn’t like a ‘switch’ can be flipped and I no longer feel guilt or ‘beat’ myself up over not following a workout schedule or slightly overeating at lunch or dinner. I’ve realized the areas I need to work on: getting more protein in during the day, eating more fruits and veggies (that I actually like eating), hydrating enough, and figuring out a fitness plan that I can actually ‘stick with’.

I’m getting better in terms of the protein—I’m trying to start varying what I have for breakfast (as this is the meal that I usually don’t get enough protein at), and figuring out protein-rich ideas that aren’t also heavy in the cholesterol and bad fats.

In terms of starting my own freelance/remote/contract writing business—I’m in the beginning stages. I’ve decided on the three main ‘niches’ that I’d like to write within (personal/professional development, health/wellness, and science/medical education/communication), now I just have to decide on a few sub-niches to focus on, draft some examples, and start reaching out to potential clients.

I’ve already applied for a few freelance positions, but wasn’t selected for them—probably due to my pricing (I think that the particular group/company had a set budget and didn’t feel like trying to negotiate down to their price), and very small portfolio.

One goal now is to have at least two pieces within each major niche written and posted within the specific tab by February 2022 (that is three months from now). I’ll write other pieces that will be blog posts, but might ‘reference’ back to the niche page. I may also look into offering slide deck preparations as well.

There was progress made with all three goals from the Libra new moon. None were ‘full’ completed, because only one had a ‘finish’ line to cross (starting my freelance/remote/contract writing business), and the other two are a continuous journey with no ‘real’ end in sight. Therefore, I met my aim of ‘progress over perfection’ and slowly starting the next chapter of my life.

I’m starting to enjoy this windy and bumpy road that will lead me to a beautiful destination—will it be the beach, mountains, a city, or just a nice little apartment?

Where is your favorite working spot?

No Comments AstrologycareerHealthNew 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?

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