Category: Month in Review

Six months down…six months to go…June Goals in Review

So, we’re in July—which means we’re halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: six months; or 184 days; roughly 26.3 weeks; or 4,416 hours.

Whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

The year isn’t mellowing at all…and seems to be trying to spiral downhill faster and faster each month…

The supreme court overturned Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

Thanks to six jackasses on the court (all of which should be impeached for lying under oath—opinion on Roe v Wade is usually asked during their confirmation hearings and at least five stated it was law) I have to add another layer to the job search (figuring out which companies are going to support women’s right to choose).

Needless to say—the anxiety has been acting up royally.

Now it is easier to get a damn assault rifle than it is for a woman to get life saving medical care.

It’s time to end the filibuster, expand the court, and enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘May in Review’ on June 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 85.9 million cases and now as of July 1st —we have reached just a little over 89.3 million cases (an increase of a about 3.4 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for July (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for June and see how I did with each of them. The goals for June included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish two non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini-book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps:

I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps in for the month…144,303 steps to be exact. I managed to be somewhere in between the minimum and maximum in terms of steps—I would have been able to hit and surpass the goal if the weather had been slightly cooler (I only managed two walks up at Boomer this past month).

At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed two walks up at Boomer this past month. We’re in summer—which means that our daily temperatures are ranging somewhere in the 90s to 100s. The two mornings that I managed were two days that we had ‘cold’ fronts moving through the state.

I’m still working on trying to ensure that I’m doing five to ten minutes a day of intentional movement…it’s difficult to get in, when you have a 100 pound dog sprawled across your bedroom floor a good portion of the day. Both Boozer and Chaos basically are my ‘shadows’ for majority of the day…workouts might be ‘returning’ in the evenings when everyone else is home and I can ‘lock’ the dogs out of the room for thirty minutes or so.

Finish two (of the many) non-fiction books I’ve started to read. I managed to read:

  1. The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor
  2. UNLIKE A BOSS: Positive Leadership Skills You Wish Your Manager Had by Alexander N. Andrews

Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published). I managed to read:

‘Re-reads’ included the entire Gansett Island series (currently at 24 books) by Marie Force–the 25th book is scheduled to be released on July 19th; and I also read the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna family series (currently at 13 books) by Julie Garwood, as the 14th book is also due to be released on July 19th.

The ‘new’ books that I read this past month included:

  1. Montgomery Bites (Anthology & Cookbook) by Carrie Ann Ryan & Suzanne Johnson (book review written)
  2. Forever with Me (Everhart Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. Can’t Help Love (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  4. Hidden Waters (Tatter & Torn #3) by Catherine Cowles
  5. Inked Temptations (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (Book review coming early July)

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 12 days)

I decided last month that the new ‘goal’ was to be a little better than the month before. The ‘minimal’ goal for June was set at 12 days of no spending and I managed 16…so slightly over half the month…and that will be the goal for July…at least 16 days of no spending…

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Well, since summer has made it’s presence known—the time outdoors has been regulated at times to the evening when I take the dogs out, or earlier in the day.

Thanks to various things this month—I need to get back into mediation/sitting quietly, writing in the journal, and doing daily oracle card drawings.

I’ve found that as long as I do a few stretches before bed, I sleep somewhat decently—no stretches, and that is when I toss and turn.

Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry):

I created one needlepoint tapestry this month. I decided that before working on Rolex’s memorial tapestry (since it will rather complex), I would do a couple of smaller pieces to get the hang of working with the cotton fabric.

The first one I completed was a flower:

Cotton tapestry #1–freestyle drawn flower…

I still need to work on tying off the fabric and the different types of stitches…but not bad for the first time working with the cotton fabric.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)

I managed to finish the LinkedIn Unlocked course (I just need to go back through and make a list of the various action items). It was a really good course that highlighted a couple features of LinkedIn I was unaware of—but am slowly starting to use more often (especially the ‘build your resume’ feature).

Writing, writing, and more writing:

I managed to get some writing done this past month—I’ve been posting on LinkedIn some graphics and slowly introducing the molecular cloning series as posts (I’m also through the ‘planning stage’ of the experiment).

I’m in the planning stages for various projects for the blog and other sites—as I’ve realized that I really need to figure things out, get a portfolio together, and start seriously job hunting…

So how did I do overall: I would say that I managed to meet eighty percent of the goals that I set for June. The reading goal was at 100%, as was the craft goal (different tapestry—but it was finished), the rest were somewhere between sixty and eighty percent and it all averaged out to eighty percent.

July goals will be almost identical, though I know that I won’t be spending huge amounts of time outside, and I’ll be lucky to get a single walk in up at Boomer (so I’m not really going to aim for weekly walks).

We’re entering the second half of the year, and the third quarter. Its time to reset, refocus, and commit to various long term goals: getting a remote position (or starting a freelance business), getting into the best shape of my life, and focusing on my strengths and values: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative; knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/transformation.

So what will be my ‘repetitive’ goals for July? They will include:

  1. At least 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 16 days)
  6. Time outdoors (probably briefly in the evenings), mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drwings
  7. Craft time (work on a needlepoint project and/or create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course (looking at possibly either seven best ways to get paid as a writer and/or the sorthcourse on podcasting)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

I recreated a new bingo card for the second half of the year, and will be creating a bingo card for the third quarter and then for July (some of these goals will be finding their way to that bingo card). I’ll also be working on the multi-prong personal/professional development plan that I originally tried to put together last month (and ended up having an anxiety attack over).

I mentioned to a couple of people that my biggest ‘problem’ is that I’m overzealous and try to cram months worth of ideas/goals into a shorter time period, and then allow my inner critic/imposter syndrome to drag me back into the comfort zone when I ‘fail’ to achieve a goal in say five days when in reality it would take five weeks to achieve the goal.

I also will be trying to decide on a new web addy for the blog/website, as I still want to have a multi-facet site (the ‘professional’ communication side and the ‘personal’ hobby/creative/reflective side)…and everything is up for renewal this coming month.

I’m actually thinking of restarting both the 90-day content creation/research challenge as well as restarting the 101 goals in 1001-day challenge (I’ve tried this one several times; latest was doubling the time frame to 2002 days).

The goal of restarting both is to be a little more focused on things (at least in terms of the large number of goals).

I truthfully don’t think a single month has gone ‘smoothly’ so far this year…I’m just trying to roll with the tide and punches…

I deleted the one game from the kindle again, and once I feel like I’m on ‘auto-buy’ again, I’ll save things on the computer, shutdown the computer and go outside for a few minutes (minus all electronics).

How are you handling the stress that is 2022?

Namaste….

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An unplanned rant, hit two goals, plus planning for the future: May Goals in Review

So, we’re entering June—that means there are only seven months left in 2022.

I’d mentioned last month how I’d hoped that things would start to ‘mellow’ and ‘level out’—they haven’t. May wasn’t a great month—if it were possible to ‘erase’ months from the calendar, I’ve already picked the four months I want to do away with: February, April, May, and October.

Seems random doesn’t it? Well all four months have something in common: they’re months that we’ve lost dogs.

February 2018, we lost Spelunkers to cancer.

April 2015, we lost Speedbump to old age.

October 2018, we lost Piranha to old age, and Chewi to a combination of old age and cancer.

Then, this past month (May 2022) we lost Rolex to hemolytic anemia.

It was thought that her hemolytic anemia had been brought on by the allergy shot she had gotten last fall. Since she’d been on medication for over seven months and slowly being weaned with (what was thought to be no complications), everyone had their fingers crossed.

Unfortunately, her allergies acted up (we didn’t notice her licking and chewing on her leg), she gave herself a sore—which kicked in the immune system, which also triggered the immune cells against her blood cells. We had thought we’d caught it in time, but due to various issues, she didn’t beat this relapse. So I hope you’re enjoying yourself at the rainbow bridge, and watching over us.

The world is still going to hell in a hand-basket—Russia is still waging their illegal war in Ukraine, the SARS-CoV2 virus is still running around, and then there is the gun violence.

There were two mass shootings last month within a week and a half of each other. The ‘first’ was up in Buffalo, where ten people were gunned down in a supermarket—because of the color of their skin.

The ‘second’ one was just last week—and 21 people were killed: two teachers and 19 kids; plus 17 others were wounded.

Plus there were three shootings today: one at a high school in LA (students wounded), outside a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania (one injured), and one in Tulsa OK at a hospital (four were killed plus the gunman). Not to mention that there had been another shooting in a small town outside of Tulsa earlier this week.

I know that people state that one shouldn’t be ‘political’ when trying to job search, start a freelance business, and so forth—but enough.

If people want to disagree—fine. If people don’t want to work with me—fine. If somehow these views result in not getting a job interview or offer—fine.

I know that people will say—‘but the Second Amendment’…

What is the wording of the Second Amendment?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

So, while it does refer to the right of individuals being able to own guns—it also states its main goal: a well-regulated militia (national guard) for the security of the state.

The amendment was needed because of the disconnection between individuals while they were drafting the constitution and debating over it—some didn’t like the idea of the government having that much ‘military’ control, while others thought it shouldn’t matter, since everyone had some type of ‘arms’ at home.

I truthfully don’t have any problem with responsible gun owners—those that have gone through the background checks, keep the weapons and ammunition locked up (separately), and so forth.

My problem—the ability for those who obviously have severe mental health issues to be able to buy weapons and ammunition and no one really blinks twice at it.

My problem—the toxic culture we live with day-to-day, that makes it ‘taboo’ for people to talk about mental health issues.

My problem—is that there are organizations and people who would rather keep lining their pockets with money, than try to resolve a pandemic that has been raging for decades.

My problem—the toxic patriarchy culture where rich, old, white men are afraid of the future—so they fan the flames of hate and misogamy to try to stay in power.

There is a good percentage of the American population that wants sensible gun laws; that want universal background checks, and the age limit raised for the purchase of weapons.

Why won’t Congress do anything? The pockets of many are being lined by the businesses that would ‘lose’ some money if those changes were put into place.

So, here is a solution: vote out every NRA-backed Congress member, plus any NRA-backed state politicians, and vote in those who support the Second Amendment—but who also support common sense gun laws, and universal health care (especially mental health).

So—please, lets have a civil discussion about universal health care (including mental health), universal background checks, closing loopholes, and ensuring that weapons don’t end up in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

So, that was my unintentional rant on gun violence in the United States. I know that it will take quite a while before anything worthwhile happens—but we need universal healthcare (including mental health) in this country, we need universal background checks, and ways of keeping weapons out of the hands of those that could do severe harm.

In terms of the total number of cases of the SARS-CoV2 virus within the US, when I published ‘April in Review’ on May 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 83.0 million cases and now as of May 1st —we have reached just a little over 85.9 million cases (an increase of a about 2.9 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

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

The goals for May included:

  1. At least 130-155,000 steps
  2. Starting to lift weights, do some cardio, yoga, walking, and so forth
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (also have written at least two mini book reviews)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  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 more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 130-155,000 steps; I managed to actually surpass my goal step. I managed 188,937 steps for the month of May. This was in large part due to weekly walks at Boomer Lake—I think I only ‘missed’ one week walking at the lake.

In terms of the intentional movements: well, I managed weekly walks (for the most part) and since it’s summertime—it means mowing the yard at least every other week.

Since we lost Rolex, the other two dogs spend a good chunk of the day in my room with me—and I haven’t had the heart to ‘kick’ them out so that I can do a thirty-to-forty minute workout (yet).

For the non-fiction books, I’m currently reading the following:

The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor

INNERCISE: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power by John Assaraf

I’m a little over a third of the way through each of them.

In terms of fiction books I’ve read the following:

Wildfire Griffin (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #1) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Unicorn (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #2) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Sea Dragon (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #3) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Pegasus (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #4) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Hellhound (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #5) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Phoenix (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #6) by Zoe Chant

How Much I Want (Miami Nights #4) by Marie Force (book review written)

Etched in Honor (Aspen Pack #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review written)

Faking the Game (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Buroga

There may have been several other fiction books read—but they were either repeats or I haven’t finished them yet.

In terms of the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge–I managed about a third of the month without spending some money. I of course splurged on e-books, the silly game, essentials (dog treats and so forth), and craft supplies.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Time outdoors was manageable for the most part this month (there were some rainy days where I only went out briefly at night with the dogs).

The meditation/sitting quietly is still a ‘work in progress’—mainly in terms of setting a area up that I wouldn’t have to ‘take down’ as soon as I was done meditating. I managed the daily gratitude journal entries for the most part (there may have been a day or two that I didn’t do it), and I managed about two-thirds of the month in terms of the daily oracle card drawings

In terms of craft time: I managed to get in at least a weekly photography session up at Boomer Lake, and once some more black thread comes in, I’ll be starting on Rolex’s memorial tapestry. So there has been craft time—just not a ‘daily’ chunk of time.

In terms of working through personal/professional development courses: I’m also done with the LinkedIn Unlocked course that I purchased at the end of April—I think I have like two and a half modules left of it.

In terms of writing, writing, and doing some more writing: since I decided to start a 90-day content creation/research challenge, I have been doing a little bit of writing daily.

I’m working on the ‘molecular cloning’ series, in addition to researching various other topics.

I’m trying to stay ‘true’ to my strengths and values, but at the same time not fall down the rabbit hole of ‘overthinking/analysis-paralysis, and constant research’.

So, I made progress with some goals (steps, and reading), while others are still slightly ‘stagnant’ (limited spending, intentional movement, and working through various e-courses) in progress.

While it would feel ‘better’ to blame others—I know that I ‘triggered’ this month (due to stress, anxiety, and depression), and instead of rationally working through the emotions—I spent money.

I can handle the emotions (even all three at once)—but when there are multiple ‘causes’—that is when I really spiral.

Two of the main causes this month: losing Rolex, and the two mass shootings. I could also mention that there are health issues with other family members that didn’t help the situation.

But, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and try to do a little bit better than I did yesterday.

For example—I managed about a third of May without spending money—therefore the ‘minimal’ goal for June will be twelve days (or forty percent).

I was ‘reminded’ in one of the personal/professional development groups—that when it comes to writing, having an outline is essential (especially as one moves towards a communications role and/or freelancing)—and that isn’t something that I do often. Usually, I’ll start writing and then draft an outline from the notes (even though I know that isn’t the way one should usually go about writing).

So moving forward into the last month of the first half of the year, goals for June will include:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish the two non-fiction books that I started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (and write at least one mini book review)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. And of course–writing, writing, and more writing

Are the goals redundant??  Yes—but (at least for me) that is how they become habits—repeating them over and over again.

But they’re also goals that align with strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

What may change—how I go about achieving the goals–I’m going to spend the next couple of days also working on a multi-prong personal/professional development plan that will focus on career, finances, personal/professional development, spirituality, and hobbies/crafts.

I know what my biggest ‘sticking’ points are: being over zealous, trying to cram a months worth of ideas/goals into a few days, and then allowing the inner critic/imposter syndrome drag me back into my comfort zone when I ‘fail’ at achieving the goals.

This means I’m also going to be working on improving my time and project management skills as well—considering they’re part of each and every goal listed above.

The first step for June will be creating the rough draft of the multi-prong personal/professional development plan for say the next three-to-five years; then breaking those goals down into say one-two-three (or one-three-five) years, first set of quarterly, first set of monthly, first set of weekly, and then finally first set of daily goals.

In addition—I’m still working on figuring out my ‘brand’. I’m settling in on certain colors and fonts, I’m still attached to the blog byline (‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’), so now I just need to figure out a good working web address for the site.

I’ll also be continuing with my 90-day content creation/research challenge. The goal is at the end of the 90 days I’ll have at least three months worth of content (maybe more, maybe a little less—since anything written and published here, or submitted to Medical News Bulletin is included on the spreadsheet), plus hopefully even more ideas of things to look into researching and creating.

So May really didn’t go as plan for the most part—but when one acknowledges the ‘triggers’, then they can slowly start reworking their responses to said triggers.

I know that when my anxiety and stress levels get too high or I start to feel a little more depressed than usual—I have a tendency to find chocolate and spend money. So, when I start to ‘auto’ buy things again—I need to pause, shut down the computer (after saving anything I’m working on), and go outside for a while (without any other electronics). That way, I’ll start creating a new ‘neural’ network for reacting to the problems.

But with just hearing about yet another shooting in the Tulsa area tonight (there was another one earlier this week)—I’m tired, and truthfully can’t think of anything else to say tonight—I’m voting out any and every political figure that is funded by the NRA (they may still win—but not with my vote), or who is against common sense gun laws…

Namaste….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The goals for April included:

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

So how did I do with each of them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste…

What is your top goal for May?

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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…

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesHealthMonth in Reviewnatureno spend challengesoutdoorsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Warning: Ranting and reviewing last months goals. 2022 is becoming a rocky road.

So, we’re two months into 2022, and I’m getting really tired of living through historical events. I’m hoping to ‘reset’ come March, and become a little more productive than I’ve been the past two months.

I mentioned last month, that I felt like I should treat January as the ‘tester’ month—well, if January was the ‘tester’ month, February was ‘flat’ and I need to really ‘reset’ this coming month and figure out the daily schedule—when I say I’m going to be working (researching/writing/editing, reading or doing crafts) and when I decide I’m done for the day.

So, we’re now about two weeks shy of starting year three of the pandemic (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m scared that we’re starting to ‘normalize’ this damn virus and all its variants. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘January in Review’ on February 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 76.2 million cases and now as of February 28th —we have reached a little over 80.6 million cases (an increase of a little over 4.2 million cases). Numbers are going down—I think in part to kids getting vaccinated (five and up), and others getting their booster shots.

So, why am I getting tired of living during historical events? Well, I could go on and on about the damn pandemic—but now it is the possibility of world war III that may be on the horizon that is pissing me off.

Last week Russia invaded Ukraine for absolutely no damn reason. While there have been swift sanctions against Russia, they haven’t stopped or turned around. My respect for the Ukrainian population is through the roof considering the odds against them. Also—I don’t hold anything against the general Russian population (considering the number of people who have been protesting the war, both in person and via writing). My irritation/grief/anger is towards particular individuals (whom I’m not naming—because I’m not giving them those ‘seconds’ of fame).

Somehow we need to develop both a universal anti-bullying law and a universal ‘pay/earning/savings’ cap and then work on improving education and other aspects of life.

Looking at the world—problems are arising from the huge gap in wealth between people. I truthfully don’t think that anyone needs to be a multi-billionaire or aim for becoming a trillionaire.

Also—there is no planet B, and trying to colonize Mars or the moon—that isn’t happening anytime soon. True there were plenty of sci-fi shows in the late 1990s/early 2000s that showed humans conquering space and starting colonies on far-flung planets—but that would require both belief and funding for science (two things lacking in the current day and age).

So, it would be nice if the huge companies would pay their employees above a ‘living’ wage, pay their fair share of taxes, and possibly give back to help protect the planet that we all call home.

So, in a nutshell—I’m tired of bullies (political/economical), and wondering when the next ‘disaster’ is going to strike. Therefore, before looking ahead to setting goals for March, I need to look back at the goals I set for February and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for February included:

  1. At least 120-140,000 steps
  2. Daily Intentional Movements (walking, chores, lifting weights, yoga, pilates, ect)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. No spend days/No-spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, daily oracle card drawings
  7. Daily craft time
  8. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 120-140,000 steps; I actually managed to reach the goal step, and actually slightly surpassed it. I managed to get 140,796 steps in during February. This included mostly walks with Chaos through the neighborhood and a short walk at Boomer Lake. We had quite a few winter days (snow/ice) that had me house bound.

Daily Intentional Movements:

There was ‘daily’ movement—though some days it was just ‘wandering’ around the house. There were eight walks with Chaos, a short walk at Boomer Lake, a couple of times shoveling the driveway & sidewalk (snow and/or ice), and doing chores. I’m still in the process of ‘developing’ a intentional movement calendar/game-board.

Reading at least one non-fiction book:

The only non-fiction book that I finished this month was ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson. I have been bouncing between several others, and also added quite a few others to the reading list as well.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

So, I read numerous fiction books this past month—but have only done one mini-book review:

Inked Craving (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan

The other books that I read this month included:

  1. Tattered Stars by Catherine Cowles
  2. Rescuing Annie (Delta Force Heroes #12) by Susan Stoker
  3. Someone Like You (Wild Widows #1) by Marie Force
  4. Cry for Me by R. Sullins
  5. The Redeeming Love series (nine books) by J.E. Parker

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

Didn’t do so well this month—my response to the possibility of the world ending is to spend money. Aiming to improve during the month of March—I’m planning on only a few ‘large’ orders from Amazon and the handful of e-book preorders.

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

Time outdoors was dependent on the weather this month (as that is usually the case during the winter and/or summer months). I did manage to take Chaos for several walks, did a short walk at Boomer Lake (it was really windy that day), and spent some time outdoors.

Meditation/sitting quietly is still a work in progress. Due to elderly cats that are having ‘issues’, I’ve decided not to have a ‘permanent’ meditation area. Instead I’m in the process of designing an meditation area that can be put together when I want to meditate, and then taken apart afterwards.

I’m getting better at both daily gratitude journal entries and doing the daily oracle drawings. I only ‘missed’ a day or two of the drawings, and for the most part have managed to find something that I’m grateful for each evening.

Daily Craft time:

This is still something that I’m also working on improving. When I have ‘free-time’ I either decide to read, or possibly play the game Klondike. Though there have been a few days that I took the camera out, or did a color-by-number on the kindle. The craft goals for March include: a new cross-stitch project, and at least eight days of photography (either iPhone or actual camera).

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I watched two short Skill Share courses on mind mapping:

Mind mapping-beginner’s guide and Mind Map Mastery

These two courses were chosen because I wanted to ‘refresh’ myself on the basics of mind mapping. Since I’m in the progress of trying to both increase and ‘diversify’ my writing portfolio (via the blog, LinkedIn, volunteer writing, and other future prospects)—I want a ‘better’ way of brainstorming (instead of just a ‘vomit’ list of words and bullet points).

So the only goal that I basically ‘missed’ was the limited spending challenge goal. I realize that I’m an impulsive buyer, and when I get frustrated/irritated/scared/angry I have a habit of spending money to make myself feel better. The goal moving forward—only to play Klondike in the morning and/or late evening (and only spend money on the game possibly once a week), read at least three non-fiction books before buying more, and to limit the ‘amazon’ purchases.

This coming month that will probably be limited to three (possibly four) purchases. I have a rather large one ready to buy (numerous spirituality books, dog treats, and some more thread for cross-stitching); I will need to purchase my niece her birthday present at the end of the month, and the download of turbo tax (on the compatible laptop).

There may also be one or two more donations to groups that are giving support to Ukraine during this shit-storm that they’re enduring.

Over the past few months (and if I’m honest—the past few years), I’ve had the silent debate on how to connect all of my various social media platforms together. We’ve all been told that when it comes to job searching (or even starting our own businesses) that there are certain topics shouldn’t be touched on (unless they’re the direction you’re going in). Those topics are usually politics and religion.

We’re told to keep things ‘neutral’ or to have more than one profile (and keep one of those ‘private’ to where it can’t be spotted), on these topics. I’d thought of doing that—but have come to the realization that I’m not going to do that.

I know what I believe in (education for all, human rights for all, women’s right to chose, climate change is real, freedom of religion, and freedom to marry who ever you want—just to name a few), and I do share memes and other things that point out when others in power don’t hold up to those beliefs—and I’m no longer going to apologize for my beliefs and stances.

With that being said, what are my goals for March?

March goals will include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps; Hopefully with heading towards spring, there can be at least one walk at Boomer Lake and several walks thorugh the neighborhood with Chaos
  2. Figuring 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. Finish 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 (iPhone or camera)
  8. Continue working on expanding my writing portfolio
  9. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

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

I’m also sending happy thoughts/good vibes to the people of Ukraine fighting for their country. War doesn’t solve anything, and as my grandfather (a WWII vet) stated: “War is hell”.

It seems that this decade isn’t going to be ‘smooth sailing’, and each year gets bumpier than the last. It seems that as a species, we have yet to ‘learn’, ‘process’, and ‘internalize’ that statement: ‘War is hell’. I’m afraid that until we manage to realize that, and fix a whole plethora of problems, we’re not going to escape the past—we’re going to keep repeating it (with different names and locations).

So, if you follow me on other sites—you will see me making political and religious statements. I won’t apologize for those statements, but will say this—if they (the statements/memes or whatever) make you upset/mad or whatever—ask yourself, why? I don’t share things to offend, but I do share to help try to educate, but also to show my stance of 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…

No Comments careerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Looking back at January of 2022: Reading goals on track, others are lagging

So, we’re officially a month into 2022—January has somehow come and went. I’d like to say that I’m going to be even more productive than last year—and I know I will be more productive, but how much more—well that is the question.

I feel like January has been a ‘tester’ month. I started out with large plans, and then the inner critic came out and tossed them all into the wind. I’m realizing that I need to find a ‘harmony’ if you will with my inner critic—a time when I’m more than willing to say ‘I’m done’ for the day, and a time when I politely tell my inner critic that there is still work to be done before playing ‘hokey’.

So, we’re now about six weeks shy of starting year three of the pandemic (the US started shutting things down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m scared that we’re starting to ‘normalize’ this damn virus and all its variants. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘December in Review’ on January 1st, I noted that we had reached almost 55.7 million cases and now as of January 31st—we have reached a little over 76.2 million cases (that is 20 million cases in a month). The numbers are going up due to the omicron variant that is more contagious than the previous variants (and doesn’t seem to care if one has had their vaccine and booster shots or not).

Its looking like the younger kids (under the age of five) could be eligible for vaccines come as early as March or April—that means if everyone does their part, we may just be able to see the end of the pandemic within a year or so. Because, as I mentioned last month—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.

I managed to get several posts published on the blog/website during January—but I didn’t get to updating/modifying the last set of pages I’ve been needing to—again the inner critic won that round of ‘battles’. I’d mentioned that I’d removed the games I’d been playing on the kindle at the end of December—only to re-download and overplay them again this month. I deleted them from both the kindle and my amazon cloud today—so there is won’t be giving into any urge to download to play occasionally.

But before I can look ahead to setting goals for February, I need to look back at the goals I set for January and how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continue with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100 (may only be M-F)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction book 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. No spend days/no spend weeks/ Limited spending week
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card 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

So how did I do with each of them?

130-155,000 steps: I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps (144,123 steps or 58.91 miles to be exact). There was a walk at Boomer Lake, and a walk with Chaos through the neighborhood this month. I would have preferred to surpass the 155K steps—but I didn’t, though I did get past the bare minimum number of steps.

Continuing with a second round of Morning Meltdown 100: This didn’t really happen. I started it back up at the beginning of the month, but just didn’t feel like pushing play daily. I’ve realized that this is a ‘theme’ at times for me—I complete a program, decide to repeat it and then fizzle for a while before I actually manage to repeat the program (happened with LIIFT4).

Currently I’m thinking of just putting on music and lifting weights three to four times a week, streaming a yoga/Pilates/cardio workout once or twice a week, and then trying to get in a walk on the other day of the week. We’ll have to see how this plan goes.

Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card:

I managed to finish reading the following books:

‘Work Quilting’ by Vicki Walton

‘Girl, Take Back Your Career’ by Solange Lope

I’m now bouncing between several other non-fiction books (like I usually do), though some of them aren’t currently on the 2022 non-fiction BINGO card.

Continuing setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond):

I mentioned in my Capricorn New Moon goal review post that I’d let my imposter syndrome/inner critic derail me for a good portion of the month, so this was one of the goals that fell by the wayside.

Read two to four (if not more) fiction books:

I managed to read quite a few fiction books this month, though I only wrote and posted mini-book reviews for two of them.

The ‘new’ books I read during January included:

Dusk Unveiled (Ravenwood Coven #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

Nothing But Ink (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3.5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review posted)

The following books by Michele Miller:

From the Wreckage

Out of Ruins

All That Remains

West: Male POV

Into the Fire

After the Fall

Until We Crash

The entire Maverick Billionaire series by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully; the seventh was just released and I went back and read the first six that I’d bought over the years.

Inked Fantasy by Carrie Ann Ryan

In addition to several ‘re-reads’, that I decided I didn’t need to list out, but I am keeping track of in a spreadsheet so that I can include them in my end-of-the-year total.

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

Nope—January was a bad month in terms of spending. I did delete various games again from the kindle, and then went ahead and deleted them from the ‘cloud’ as well. Hopefully this will help me really curb the impulsive spending.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings

There was some time spent outdoors this month. With the temperatures bouncing back and forth—there were days spent sitting outdoors, while the next day I barely stepped foot outside.

Mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings only happened really for the first half of the month, and then inner critic/imposter syndrome derailed me.

Craft time:

I did a little crafting throughout the month (some photography, and color by number). I’m going to try to start another abstract cross-stitch project this coming month as a way of switching things up.

Continue working on updating the blog/website:

Nope. I only managed to post nine blog posts last month, though there was a decent amount of traffic to the page (at least according to wordpress analytics). This will probably be yet another goal for the next two or three months (as I don’t see me getting all the pages I needed redone done in just a couple of weeks).

Assignments for the diamond group:

This has been slightly slow going—remember the saying ‘you are your own worse enemy?’—Well that has been me. I’ve been getting in my own way on a lot of the assignments. I’m slowly working through the mindset/reflective questions (and am thinking that at least one or two of them may become a slightly longer ‘essay’).

There is still another month or so of the group—and I’m aiming to transition by the end of the summer (or at least then find a part time job possibly on campus since I’ll be really tight on funds by then).

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card:

I’m working through two of the courses on the BINGO card:

Write Your Way to Freedom (a course on becoming a freelance copywriter), and How to work for yourself (an course on Udemy talking about freelancing/side-hustle)

But I did finish watching two other short ‘courses’ on Skill Share:

Productivity Basics: How to become more productive in 4 steps

Personal and Lifestyle Branding: Building your story

It is slightly funny how I started the month with big plans to be highly productive (and even watched a small course on it)—and ended the month being somewhat unproductive.

While I wasn’t perfect with all the goals (and some I wasn’t even in the ballpark of being ‘okay’ with)—acknowledging those mistakes are progress in and of themselves.

I’ve deleted all the games on the kindle that I would spend way too many hours and way too much money on playing. While I bought quite a few books this past month—I read most of them (at least most of the fiction books I’d bought). I’ve also realized that I do get antsy during the day (at times), and that I really do need to find a variety of recipes for protein-rich breakfasts (since I’m pretty certain I’m not getting nearly as much protein as I should be getting).

I’m still debating on whether or not to do the monthly spending challenge updates (especially in light of how much I spent this month)—but it is a way of keeping myself accountable.

So, January wasn’t the ‘perfect’ month—but I’m not aiming for perfection, I’m aiming for progress, and progress was made.

I read two non-fiction books, and have started several others (and I’m over halfway through one of those), I watched two short courses, and spent part of the time earlier this month working through a couple of other courses.

I deleted the games (not just from the kindle, but from the amazon cloud as well)—that means I have to ‘search’ for them if I want to download them again, and not to mention having to ‘start’ from the beginning.

The goal is still to ‘change’ this year—getting a remote position, starting the freelance side-gig, and everything else that I want to be trying to do—I’m not going to let ‘Pam’ stop me, she may slow me down quite a bit—but I’m going to keep moving forward.

Therefore the goals for February will include:

  1. 120-140,000 steps
  2. Daily Intentional Movements (walks, chores, lifting weights, yoga, and so forth)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book (preferably from the BINGO card, but not required)
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have mini book reviews posted on the blog and other sites)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Daily craft time
  8. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course on the 2022 e-course BINGO card

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

While I may have ‘missed’ a few goals (or at least completed ‘half’)—I still made progress. Knowing that I was sabotaging myself, and how I was doing it—half the battle, the other half is determining how to ‘fix’ the sabotaging problems so that I am productive as I go forward.

What are some of your favorite time/project management tips or tricks?

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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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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?

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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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Down to the last quarter of 2021: where did the time go?

We’re heading into the last quarter of the year—there are only 92 days left in 2021. Somehow, the summer sped by and it seems like the fall is going to swirl into winter before we know it. Truthfully, there really hasn’t been much change for the pandemic—various numbers are bouncing around (namely the number of people getting their vaccines, and booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine [if you’re in one of the three categories] started this week). Hopefully J&J will be announcing when their booster shots are available and will be for everyone (not just a small percentage of the population). But, no matter what—I’ll still be self-isolating for the most part through the fall, winter, and into spring—at least until the numbers are on a steady decline (and I’m not talking about the vaccination rate).

I decided to stay away from the media as much as possible this past month (as it really doesn’t do much for me—other than ramp up both my anxiety and stress levels). In terms of the total number of cases of the virus in the US, when I published ‘August in Review’, I noted that the US was a little over 40.1 million cases for the SARS-CoV2 virus, and now we’re at a little over 44.3 million cases (so it was an increase of a little over 4.2 million cases last month—again all due to the delta variant, poor social distancing [especially in schools] and fewer people getting vaccinated).

So, while there are ‘breakthrough’ cases (people catching the virus after getting at least one vaccine shot), majority of the cases are still unvaccinated individuals. Hopefully within the next few months, the Pfizer shot will get emergency approval for younger kids age five to eleven (which will hopefully help cut down on the spread of the virus through schools). All I’ll say is this again: I really wish things would go virtual for another semester or two, and if everyone wants schools opened—get the damn shot. (End rant)

As one may have noticed—I’m slowly working on ‘reorganizing’ pages/tabs on the blog. I’ve combined the birding tab with the photography tab (more organizational pages will be coming for the ‘main tab’), and I’m renaming/rewriting other tabs. I decided that I’m going to be a multi-niche blog/website and focus my writing on three main areas: science/medical education and communication, personal/professional development, and health and wellness. Though I will also be doing crafts, photography, and travel as ‘enjoyment hobbies’—so those will still pop in every so often, as well as book reviews.

Before looking ahead to October and the start of the last quarter of the year, I should look at the goals I set for September and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for September included:

  1. 130-150,000 steps; I’m hoping to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake this month
  2. Start my own fitness routine (weight lifting, shadow boxing, and possibly yoga)
  3. Start working through the User Experience Squad program, work on the writing assignments for MWO, and finish the sixt module of the MWO
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  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, mediation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (start a new cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one other personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps: I managed to meet and slightly surpass my step goal. I managed to get 157,114 steps during the month of September. I managed to get two walks in at Boomer Lake, took Chaos for two short walks through the neighborhood, and wandered around enough during the day to get my steps.

Start my own fitness routine: This didn’t happen. Mainly due to the fact the month was thrown into partial chaos by the fact that we had to take Rolex (one of our younger dogs) into the vet several times due to her developing hemolytic anemia (all from a damn allergy shot), and this threw me for a loop. I also decided to renew my Beachbody-on-demand for a year, and will hopefully be starting up with morning meltdown 100 again in October.

Start the User Experience Squad program and finish up the MWO program: Well this didn’t happen either. In part due to the issues with the one dog, and therefore I spent more time working on crafts (which seems to help me control my anxiety) then I did workingon any professional development courses.

Read one to two non-fiction books: While I’ve been reading books–I haven’t finished any of them yet.

Read two to four fiction books: So, I managed to publish book reviews for My Next Play (On My Own #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Catnip & Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday on the blog earlier in the month (these were two books I’d finished reading towards the end of August).

I’ve also read (but haven’t finished the reviews):

Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston

Yours to Keep (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month: I’ve done better this month in terms of honoring the challenge, and will give a breakdown on it in the next installment of my limited spending challenge check-in.

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

I’ve been spending more time outdoors, as the season is changing (technically we are in autumn now) and I want to be outside while I can. I probably should have my journal, or laptop with me and that way I can also work outside (instead of feeling slightly bad that I’m just sitting and enjoying the weather).

I’ve been really good at my evening meditation/sitting quietly as that has become critical to being able to fall to sleep at night. I think it’s a combination of the ambiance of the room (I have candles lit) and realizing the days over and what has been done is done, and what hasn’t been accomplished can wait until the next day (or week).

I’ve been keeping up with the daily gratitude entries as well—though sometimes they’re something as simple as I’m glad I don’t live in an apartment and having to walk the dog in the rain.

Craft time (start a new cross-stitch project):

I managed to finish my second cross-stitch project and have started (and am also finished with) a third cross-stitch project. I’ve found that cross-stitching is actually relaxing and seems to help me manage my anxiety and stress. Once I’m done with the third (and possibly before starting my fourth), I may try and see if I can cross-stitch with small beads or possibly take a break from cross-stitching and create some jewelry.

My second completed cross-stitch project

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

I started working through a little more of the write your way to freedom course, and am currently in the second module (picking a niche or niches and working on a ten to thirty day challenge). As the temperatures get cooler, and the days shorter—I will probably be spending a little more time indoors and working though various courses.

So I’d say I was probably about fifty/fifty on meeting the goals this month. Some of the goals that I didn’t hit—were computer heavy, and those were ‘missed’ because I found the weather to be nice, and spent most of it outdoors. Others that were ‘missed’ were due to scheduling and the month just having curveballs thrown constantly. But—fifty percent is better than nothing.

As I head into the last quarter of the year, I’ve realized that I need to have a slightly more focused agenda—especially in regards to trying to set up my freelance/remote/contract business. I’m going to try to accomplish this by starting my to-be-accomplished lists again, in addition to having a ‘due’ date next to the item (which may or may not correspond to the current week).

The goals for October are probably going to be similar to the ones for the past few months—but trying to be a little more focused (at least in terms of the personal/professional development goals).

Therefore the goals for October will include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps; hopefully there will be one or two walks at Boomer Lake, and a couple of walks through the neighborhood with Chaos
  2. Start my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  3. Work on the editing/writing assignments for the MWO & finish the 6th module. Start the Business Development Federation program
  4. Read one to two non-fiction books
  5. Read two to five 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. Craft time (finish the third cross-stitch project; possibly start a fourth or maybe make some jewelry)
  8. Work on updating the blog/website (finish rewriting different landing pages; aim for at least one 1500-3000 word article for each area: personal/professional development, science/medical education/communication and health/wellness [pick one or two subtopics within each to write on])
  9. Work through at least a part of another personal/professional development course (not listed above)

I also put in my ‘application’ for another freelance writing position (with the same group, but for a different project), as I wasn’t selected for the first freelance position.

I’m thinking that in terms of the ‘writing’ assignments that I’m giving myself, I’m going to create a chart/diagram that goes from things I’m totally interested in, willing to learn about, to things that I’m only semi-interested in but still willing to write about to areas that I can write about but not really interested in. I think that having a ‘scale’ on which to rate things will probably help me create content easier, but also help me find my ‘ideal’ clients/customers/businesses that I would like to partner/work with as I move forward.

Hopefully October will be a little more smooth sailing then September was (having to deal with hemolytic anemia in dogs isn’t fun), and I will be able to focus on establishing myself as a freelance/contract/remote writer instead of worrying if we’re going to be losing our dog or not.

As we move forward into the last quarter of the year and then into 2022, I hope that those that are still holding ‘out’ on getting the vaccine for whatever reason—will get it. The Pfizer shot has been granted full approval by the FDA, and any side effects are usually mild to moderate, and then for everyone to get their children vaccinated. That is truthfully the only way we’re going to see the tail end of this damn pandemic (along with masks and social distancing when needed).

So question time: what is your favorite part of fall?

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