Tag: crafttime

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

Leo Full Moon goals: working on various calendars, crafts, and meditation

So last night marked the second full moon of 2022. We’re six and half weeks into the year, and I’m still debating on whether I like it or not…We’re also about a month away from entering year three of the pandemic, so I guess we need to retire the phrase ‘avoid it like the plague’—since we haven’t been able to do that for the past few years.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that I need to start writing daily (even if I don’t post everything)—just as a way of starting to get out of this ‘funk’ that I’ve found myself in the past six weeks or so. That has actually been my biggest problem—looking at the computer and not wanting to do anything. I’m thinking that the best way of getting over the ‘funk’ is to do a little work each day (plus figure out ways of ‘blocking’ various social sites so I don’t mindless scroll through them). Oops, sorry for the mini-rant, now back to the Leo Full Moon.

What are some questions to reflect on during the first few days of the full moon? According to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland:

Have I been too self-centered, egotistical, or proud?

Have I been treating the people around me like minions?

Have I been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous?

Have I been expressing myself creatively enough?

Have I shown myself enough self-love?

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

  1. Lets see—we’re about to enter year three of the pandemic. Therefore, I can safely say that I’m not being self-centered or egotistical about anything. I am proud that I’m surviving this whole crazy roller coaster without having any type of major mental breakdowns. I won’t say that it has been a walk in the park—I’m still struggling with a few things, but I’m surviving.
  2. Nope, I haven’t been treating the people around me like minions. I live at home with my parents still—there are no minions here.
  3. Again, nope I haven’t been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous. This is also because again—I haven’t really been out of the house for three years (with a few exemptions of getting the weekend paper, an occasional walk, or voting).
  4. No, I have not been expressing myself creatively enough lately. I’ve actually been spending way too much time playing silly games (such as Farmville and Klondike)—though I’ve deleted both off the kindle (yet again). We’ll see if the ‘deletes’ last longer this time around. I’m actually thinking of starting a new cross-stitch project or possibly some doodling (I bought some drawing books before Christmas), over the coming week. Once the weather straightens up, hopefully there will be a monthly (if not weekly) walk at Boomer Lake with the camera.
  5. Again, this one is a no in that I haven’t been showing myself enough self-love. While I feel like I’ve come a ways from where I was at the end of 2019—I’m still far from being totally out of the ‘burnout’ hole I found myself free-falling in. It is a back-and-forth ‘dance’ between feeling like I’m dealing with various things, and wanting to hide from the world. I know that I still need to find more productive ways of dealing with the stress/anxiety, negative self-talk, and inner critic/imposter syndrome. Self-care/self-love can come in different ‘forms’ and I’ve realized that I need to develop ways/forms that doesn’t result in me spending money on books or silly games. So, yes—I still need to work on improving my health: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social (all of which have been up and down since the pandemic started).

With focusing on self-care/love, this will include doing intentional movements (anything from lifting weights, to walking, to cardio and yoga), meditating at night, doing a oracle/tarot card reading, starting to listening to podcasts again, reading, and just trying to figure out what works for me.

Looking at my chart—the Leo full moon is going through my 10th house, which is also my career zone. So, with it going through my career zone—last year I stated that I was still technically on my reboot break, and this year I’m starting to move forward with the second half of my life.

I decided towards the end of last year that I was going to focus on finding a remote writing/data analysis position and at the same time try to build a freelance writing business (copywriting and content writing). I figured that going down these paths would allow me to combine my core values (learning/knowledge, spirituality/inner harmony/peace, creativity/curiosity, and evolution/growth/transformation) with my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger, creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking), while also improving some of my ‘weaknesses’ (such as communications, significance, and bravery).

So what are my goals for the Leo Full Moon?

Develop an intentional movement calendar (weight lifting, cardio, yoga, and walking). Remembering that this is my health journey and no one else’s—therefore the intentional movement should be things that I enjoy doing.

Develop a schedule for working through various courses and assignments to move forward with the goal of transitioning to a remote writing/data analysis position and hopefully setting up a freelance writing/blogging business.

Spend time working on crafts (start a new cross-stitch project, doodle, color, make jewelry, and when the weather warms up—photography time up at Boomer Lake)

Evening oracle card reading, straighten up my meditation altar, and designing a new meditation ‘area’ (one that can be easily setup and dismantled each evening).

No Comments AstrologycareerfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Review of the ‘Buck’ Full Moon Goals

So, the moon will be transitioning into its full stage over the weekend (Sunday if you’re in the US, and possibly Saturday or Monday elsewhere in the world). This is also mark the second consecutive Aquarius full moon (meaning it has moved through all other signs, and is back in Aquarius this weekend). Once we hit the second Aquarius full moon—there will only be nine days left in August, and 131 days left in 2021.

Therefore, before I reflect again on the Aquarius questions I should look at the goals I set for the first Aquarius full moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Aquarius full moon goals? They included:

Working on time and project management skills, by finding time for crafts, making progress on projects, and feeling accomplished at the end of the day.

While that is a totally ‘open-ended’ goal, some specific mini-goals were:

  1. Creating a timeline/schedule for my ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project
  2. Create a timeline/schedule for the rest of the bird pages
  3. Determine a specific time of the day for doing the oracle card challenge
  4. Start a 30-day journaling challenge
  5. Create one necklace or start a cross-stitch project
  6. Start working through various writing e-courses

So how did I do with each of the mini-goals?

  1. I have created a very rough timeline/schedule for the ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project. While I had created it during the last full moon phase, I didn’t take into account other writing assignments that would take more time than I had set aside for them. I originally had planned on having this writing project done by mid-October, but will probably go back and fine-tune/readjust the timeline to also take into account the other projects (since I just rolled the dice on the personal/professional board game Monday night). The new projected end date for this project will probably be sometime in mid-to-late November.
  2. This is something that I’m still working on determining. I have probably another 100 pages (taking into account bird orders, families, and then species) to create. I don’t want the overall project to be finished ‘too early’, as this is one thing I do enjoy doing—researching and learning about different birds. Though, I am thinking of a ‘largish’ writing project in relation to the bird pages. Tentatively it will be called ‘Molecular Genetics and the Reorganization of Bird Classifications’.
  3. I’d actually decided that once I manage to do a four-card spread (to catch up on days 27-30), I’m going to put the oracle card challenge on hold. I came to this decision, mainly because it was starting to become more of a ‘chore’ than a fun and enjoyable challenge. I will still draw a card (or a spread), but may not share them on Instagram continuously (it may be a weekly post on say Saturday or Sunday).
  4. I truthfully forgot about this one. I’ve been writing a little more in the journal each day, mainly reflecting a little on either what I managed to get done (or not done) or how I’m feeling about certain things in the world (like the delta variant running amok).
  5. I’m working on my cross-stitch project, a little every other night or so. I’ve decided that I’m going to see how many different colors I can use to totally fill up the space as a circle (more or less). I have basically 240 (or more) different colors of threads, and I’d like to see how many colors fill up this medium size tapestry. I’m also going to hopefully start creating a couple of necklaces/bracelets over the next few months (probably not going anywhere thanks to the delta variant running amok).
  6. I’ve managed to work through an e-course, but it wasn’t one on writing. It was actually a very short course on understanding emotional intelligence and how to practice (and cultivate) it.

So I managed to get about two-thirds of the goals accomplished (or at least partially met) over the past full moon period. I’d realized last week that I was not staying on top of my time management at all, and that something needs to change for that.

That is why, for now I’m going to be working with the idea of meeting weekly goal totals instead of saying that I’ll complete this or that course, or have this or that writing project done.

As I mentioned in the update on my comfort diagram, I’m going to be aiming for at least three to three and half hours a week (breaks down to thirty minutes a day minimum) for certain things (like e-course work, reading non-fiction, and working on crafts), plus a minimum number of words written (say three to four thousand words). Though the actual tracking possibly won’t start until next week (when I have some type of tracking sheet set up).

I’m slowly improving my time management skills (still need to work on the mornings and mid-afternoon), but life is always about improvement and trying to be a little better than the day (or even the week) before.

We’ll see if any of these improve throughout the next Aquarius moon cycle.

What are some of the things you’re trying to improve on?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfinancesFull Moon GoalsHealthmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Aquarius Full Moon Open-ended goal: Improving time & project management skills

So the moon has (or will be) transitioning into its full moon stage over the next day or so (or it may have already done so), depending on where you live. For me, the full moon was actually last night–so I’m probably about twelve hours late in posting my full moon goals (based on when it was ‘totally’ full). Now there are only eight days left in July, and then there will only be five months left in 2021 soon.

It’s said that time only seems to ‘speed’ up when you’re doing repetitive tasks–I guess with still self-isolating (mainly because of the delta variant and not enough people getting vaccinated), things seem repetitive (something to think on in terms of how to break).

So, with the moon transitioning through Aquarius and if one looks at the book ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, there are a series of questions that one can reflect on during the next few days:

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying to hard to befriend people and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forward this month?

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

  1. Well, we’re still in the middle of the damn pandemic. While things are slowly opening up–the number of cases (due to various viral variants) are also going up. Therefore I’m not in the mood (nor the mindset) to try and date. So, yes you might say that I’m being pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life–but I’m still alive and SARS-CoV2 free.
  2. I’ve always been more ‘analytical’ minded than ‘artistic’ minded/hearted. Though this is something that I’ve been working on, by trying to work more craft time into my schedule (though currently that has been mainly photography or color-by-number).
  3. Well, I’m still on my ‘reboot break’, so there aren’t that many options. I am thinking of starting to get serious about freelance/remote/contract work for science communication/education, photography, and possibly data analysis (and maybe even project management). In order to become successful at that–it will probably require me to blend ideas/suggestions of others into something that will work for me.
  4. I don’t think I’ve been trying to befriend people for the wrong reasons. Currently, I have to push myself to network (because while I’m leaning in the direction of freelance/remote/contract work I’m still not totally sure–therefore I’m not networking as much as I should be).
  5. I’ve moved forward a little this month, but not much. Part of the issue is that my inner critic/imposter syndrome is able to lure be back into my comfort zone with reading, color-by-numbers, and sunny but not overly hot days. I’ve realized that I need to get more accomplished during the day/week than I’ve been doing lately–I may try to take my laptop outside for an hour or so to work (on those sunny but not overly hot days), and then take a ‘mini break’ when I have to take it back into the house to charge.

Aquarius is also moving through my 4th house, or my home and family zone. This is the time when one should try to find a balance between one’s personal life and one’s career. This year things are about where they were last year–though this year there are the vaccines for the virus. But cases are going up, due to both various variants of the virus and the number of people who are refusing to get the vaccine. So my personal life and career are still ‘intertwined’ currently, since I’m home basically all day, every day still.

I’m now trying to shift my mindset and not focus so much on ‘balance’ but on ‘harmony’ between things. That is what I’m striving for–harmony, to where I can be happy with whatever choice I’m making at any particular point in the day without feeling guilty for not doing something else.

So what are the mini-goals I’m going to set for the Aquarius full moon?

Working on time and project management skills, by finding time for crafts, making progress on projects, and feeling accomplished at the end of the day.

While that is a totally ‘open-ended’ goal, some specific mini-goals are:

  1. Create a timeline/schedule for my ‘troubleshooting tips for molecular cloning’ writing project
  2. Create a timeline/schedule for the rest of the bird pages for the blog
  3. Determine a specific time for doing the oracle card challenge (as it is–I’m currently two days behind schedule)
  4. Start a 30-day journaling challenge (find some type of inspiration on pintrest)
  5. Create one necklace and/or start a cross-stitch project
  6. Start working through various writing e-courses

Last year I’d mentioned I needed to determine the type of future I wanted instead of sitting around and going with flow. I’m leaning more towards working for myself (mainly due to the pandemic, though I won’t totally rule out going back for a ‘in-person’ job) in terms of writing, photography, crafts, project management, and maybe data analysis. As mentioned earlier–the top two ‘soft’ skills that I need to get better at for this pivot are: time and project management. It seems I end up with more things left to do than finished at the end fo the week (and month)–I know that the main culprit is poor time management (siting outside most of the afternoon, plus taking almost two hours in the morning to ‘wake-up’ before doing anything). This is something I’m working on: I can keep myself off social media (thanks to the app Self Control), but still fine tuning the rest of the day.

Progress not perfection, via small steps and even a winding path are the stepping stones to making lasting habits.

What are some of your time management tools or tricks?

No Comments AstrologyCraftsfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reviewing my first attempt at a 12-week year

So I realized that I haven’t posted much this week and that is due in part to it being the end of the second quarter and I’m deep in the reflection zone–looking back at what I had hoped to get accomplished over the past three months and then what I had actually managed to get accomplished.

With today marking the last day of June, the second quarter, and the first half of 2021–I decided that I would reflect on my first actual attempt of a ’12-week year’. If you’ve never heard of a ’12-week year’, I highly recommend reading the book: ‘The 12 Week Year: Get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months’ by Brain P. Moran and Michael Lennington.

I actually read ‘The 12 Week Year’, last year prior to the world going into lock down due to the pandemic (click on the link and it will take you to my mini-review and reflection post from last year). Over the past year and a half, I’ve tried to plan a ’12-week year’ but have always fallen short of the goal. My problem: putting too many items on the calendar or plate, and not having a good breakdown of weekly or monthly goals.

Therefore, this year I decided to merge that idea with an suggestion from another book. The other book is ‘The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–a creative and practical guide’ by Margaret Lobenstine, and her suggestion was creating focal points to focus on for whatever set period of time you wanted.

I then created a ‘central’ focal point of crafting a ‘new career’ that would be focused on freelance/remote/contract/online/consulting/blogging work allowing me to have flexibility in creating my own schedule and would also be semi-location independent.

From there I created four other focal points that would help me start ‘crafting’ that career and they were/are:

Professional Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Networking
  3. Brand Development and Management
  4. Digital Marketing
  5. Graphic Design
  6. Writing

Personal Development (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Continuous Learning
  2. Physical space (developing my own definition/style of minimalism)
  3. Financial health (savings, budgeting, investing, retirement, multiple streams of income)

Health (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Mental health (focusing on emotional and spiritual health)
  2. Physical health (getting into the best shape of my life)

Hobbies (with specific sub-items/topics):

  1. Photography
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Crafts
    • Knitting
    • Cross-stitching
    • Jewelry design/creation
    • Painting
    • Crochet

So while these focal points all seem a little ‘weird’ and you may be wondering how they work together–they’re the four points I’d decided on earlier when I was figuring out what I needed to focus on to work my way out of my ‘burnout’ hole/pit/slump. I realized that I couldn’t just focus on personal/professional development without also focusing on my health and hobbies. They all need to be listed as a reminder, not to hyper-focus in one direction (when I do that–everything else tends to suffer).

It is suggested within ‘Renaissance Soul’ that you only have four to five focal points, and then no more than four or five goals for each focal point. I’m still working on the ‘makers’ for the central focal point, but for the other four I drafted four to five goals for each that I had hoped to get accomplished during the second quarter.

Those goals included:

Within professional development:

  1. Finishing the CSA courses: Medical Writers Organization and Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Starting to learn python programming
  3. Continuing to read and share science news articles on LinkedIn and Twitter
  4. Continuing to add value and network on LinkedIn
  5. Starting (and hopefully finishing) another CSA advance course

Within personal development:

  1. Continue refreshing my Spanish with the Mondly app
  2. Read two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through various personal finance courses
  4. Develop my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start looking into second income stream ideas

Within health:

  1. Finish the following programs: CIZE, 21-Day Fix Live, 21-Day Fix Extreme Live and then start third round of LIIFT4
  2. Daily meditation
  3. Oracle card drawings (weekly, but hopefully daily)
  4. Cook Monday & Tuesday dinners–new recipes hopefully monthly

Within hobbies:

  1. At least one walk a week at Boomer Lake with my camera (photography)
  2. Read two fiction books a month
  3. Design at least one bracelet/necklace set
  4. Doodle a cross-stitch design

So how did I do with each area?

Professional development goals:

  1. I completed the Clinical Research Coalition program, along with the Intellectual Property Pack program. These are two of the many advanced professional development programs offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association.
  2. I’m still working through the writing and editing assignments for the Medical Writers Organization program. I’m hoping to have those finished sometime during the third quarter of the year.
  3. There may have been a couple of days scattered throughout the quarter that I didn’t share articles on LinkedIn or Twitter–but I try to share at least one article a week (preferably an article a day). I’ve been doing better at this, since I created a separate tracking sheet for this goal.
  4. I’ve been slow in networking lately, as I’m trying to semi-narrow my broad ‘career’ area. Therefore I may only send a connection request once a week, and may also only accept an connection request every few days. I have been also trying to be better at commenting on other people’s posts as well.
  5. I haven’t started learning python, even though I’ve bought several e-courses on the subject. I even have a ‘new’ laptop set aside for this very task–I just need to download python (and possibly one or two other apps), and set aside at least 30 minutes a day to ‘learning’ the program and language.

I would say that I managed to accomplish three and a half out of the five goals–giving me a score of roughly seventy percent.

In terms of personal development:

  1. I haven’t been keeping up with refreshing my Spanish, even though I had been doing a decent job of it at the beginning of the year.
  2. I have been reading non-fiction books, and it probably averages out to one and a half to two books a month, and the books read were:
    • ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking
    • ‘Permission to Screw Up: How I learned to lead by doing (almost) everything wrong’ by Kristen Hadeed
    • ’25 ways to work from home’ by Jen Ruiz
    • ‘Write to Speak’ by Mike Acker
    • ‘The Financial Diet’ by Chelsea Fagan
  3. I’m still slowly developing my ‘vision’ of minimalism. I know some of the area that I wan to minimize: clothing, DVDs/Cds, and knick-knacks. I also know that since I’m a learner at heart and a bookworm–I’m always going to have a large number of books around me. Since I’m also a crafter–I’m also going to have a good number of craft supplies around me as well. As long as I can balance things out-to where I won’t feel like I’m living in an overly cluttered hole, I’ll be happy. By limiting the items around em, and trying to keep things organized and ‘clean’–I’m also finding it helps alleviate my anxiety and depression as well.
  4. I haven’t worked through any of the personal finance courses that I’ve bought over the years yet.
  5. In terms of looking into the second income stream idea–I think I should have ‘rewritten’ it as looking into both first and second income ideas. I know that there are numerous ways of earning extra cash, and I had been doing a few of them: filling out surveys and selling used DVDs–I just haven’t done either of them lately (due in part to the pandemic).

I would say that I managed to hit about a fifty-five percent on personal development goals. Two were close to zero, but other three had at least some ‘footwork’ done on each of them.

For the health goals:

  1. I did finish my first round of CIZE, but only made it through a week of 21-Day fix live before deciding to concentrate more on intentional movements before starting up my third round of LIIFT4. While I’ve done 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix extreme before, this would have been the first time doing the ‘live’ versions. While I like the program–the reason why I called it ‘quits’ before finishing is that I’m trying to improve my relationship with food, and quit the whole diet/counting calories/macros/restricting food mindset. That type of nutritional advice is given a lot through both programs. So until I’m on a better footing with my relationship to food, I’m going to avoid workout programs that also focus heavily on the diet mindset.
  2. I have managed to do evening meditations for the most part. I may only be focus on my breathing for a minute or two–but those two minutes are essential for being able to have a good night sleep.
  3. I’ve been doing evening oracle card drawings, even if I haven’t been sharing them on social media or even writing about them in the journal. That is something I’m aiming at changing–both starting to share more (maybe an 100-day challenge), and journaling about them (possibly weekly blog posts?).
  4. In terms of cooking dinner twice a week–I’ve been doing this, though there may be a night or two where it was decided we’d have leftovers, or grill (which I don’t do), or whatever. But for the most part, I have found several new recipes that are now in the rotation for Monday and Tuesday night suppers. I’m also going to be looking for more ‘summer’ dinner recipes as well–different salads, and so forth.

I would say that I met seventy-five to eighty percent of my health goals for the second quarter. Each one was met at least partially(since there were a few days that I may have missed my meditation time or oracle card drawings).

In terms of my hobbies:

  1. I think I only made it maybe once or twice a month up to Boomer Lake with my camera. The weather was partially to blame–it has either been rainy and/or overcast, or the temperatures and heat index have been a little too high for my liking for walks. I also haven’t been getting up as early in the mornings as I use to in order to be able to get to the lake to watch the sun rise.
  2. I have managed to read quite a few fiction books over the past three months and they include the following:
    • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
    • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
    • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
    • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
    • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
    • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #33) by Becca Van
    • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
    • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. While I have several ideas for necklace/bracelet sets, I haven’t actually gotten around to creating any of them.
  4. I have semi-doodle or drawn a cross-stitch pattern. I’m also thinking that my first ‘real practice’ piece is going to be seeing how many geometrical shapes I can fit on it, and if I can use every single color of thread at least once.

I would say that I managed to to meet about half my goals in terms of hobbies, the only one that I totally didn’t get close to was the jewelry design/creation. I managed to get at least a monthly walk in at Boomer, slowly attempting to teach myself cross-stitch, and reading (at least fiction) has never been a problem.

So I ranged from about fifty to seventy-five/eighty percent on my goals for the second quarter, and if I added them all u–over all I probably averaged about sixty percent.

Not great, but not bad for my first ‘official’ trial at a 12-week year. I know the areas that I need to focus more on (mainly the computer intensive goals). These will simply require setting aside actual time in the day dedicated to those specific tasks. I won’t try to do each one daily, but will aim for at least two-to-three times a week for each and slowly work up to daily work on each of them.

I knew that my first trial wasn’t going to be perfect–but that wasn’t my goal: my goal was progress, seeing if I could stretch my comfort zone a little more each month and branch out in different areas.

I managed to do that in terms of professional development, learning some of the basics of both clinical research and intellectual property. I think it would be interesting doing data analysis for clinical research (but I wouldn’t want to be the person overseeing numerous clinical sites), and I will be looking in to different aspects of intellectual property (mainly copyrights and trademarks), as I don’t see myself trying to climb the ladder on the patent side of things.

While reading has never been a problem–it is more of ensuring that I’m in the ‘proper’ mindset for reading non-fiction, as it tends not be quite the ‘story’ that fiction books are, and I at times lose interest fast.

I’m developing my own sense of health/fitness and will be deciding soon if keeping my Beachbody on demand subscription is worth it or not. I’ve decided that it is time to honor my body and what it is actually capable of doing–that means substituting in exercises for the different lunges, working on trying to do a normal pushup (and forgetting about tricep pushups), and just shaking my head and sitting out the tricep dips.

Moving into the third quarter of the year, the goals for the four focal points will be semi-similar to the goals set for the second quarter.

Third quarter goals will include:

Professional Development:

  1. Finish up the following CSA programs: Medical Writers Organization and then either Government Careers Union or Regulatory Affairs Council
  2. Finish the following short courses on Udemy:
    • 15 errors in scientific writing and how to fix them
    • How to become a freelance editor
    • Kickstart a freelance editor and proofreader career on Upwork
    • How to be a journalist
  3. Start learning python coding by working through the following courses:
    • Data Science for beignners: Hand on Python (on Udemy)
    • Complete Python course (on StackSkills)
  4. Continue reading and sharing science news on LinkedIn and Twitter
  5. Continue adding value and networking on Linkedin

Bonus Professional Development activities:

  1. Write and publish: ‘Trouble-shooting tips for Molecular Cloning’
  2. Write and publish: ‘Polymerases: why the native ‘reverse transcriptase’ isn’t a problem for the SARS-CoV2 mRNA vaccine’ (Title may change)
  3. Work through the copywriting e-course: Write Your Way to Freedom

Personal Development Goals:

  1. Set aside 30-45 minutes (two to three days a week) for refreshing Spanish
  2. Read one to two non-fiction books a month
  3. Work through the following e-courses:
    • The complete personal finance course (on Udemy)
    • Reinvent your career (on Udemy)
    • How to work for yourself (on Udemy)
    • Freelance writing 101: build a successful writing career (on SkillShare)
    • Content marketing: blogging for growth (on SkillShare)
    • Writing and blogging with passion: create a flexible editorial plan and calendar (on SkillShare)
  4. Continue developing my vision of ‘minimalism’
  5. Start trying to ‘draft’ first/second and possibly third stream of income ideas (more tied to professional)

Health goals:

  1. Finish LIIFT4 (basically around the 23rd) and then start Morning Meltdown 100 (will go from 7/26/21 to 11/2/21)
  2. Daily meditation and oracle card reading/drawings
  3. Work through the following courses:
    • Mindfulness for Anxiety (on Udemy)
    • Learn Tarot in a Day (on Udemy)
    • Explicit Tarot: Learn Tarot Card Reading through Story Telling (on Udemy)
  4. Start a daily gratitude entry in the journal
  5. New recipes at least once a week/month

Hobby Goals:

  1. At least one walk a month at Boomer Lake, and maybe start trying food photography as well
  2. Work through the following courses:
    • Food Photography (on StackSkills)
    • How to create an engaging food post (on SkillShare)
    • How to start a creative business through blogging for beginners (on SkillShare)
  3. Read at least two to three fiction books a month
  4. Continue to doodle/draw/sketch cross-stitch patterns and create the geometric/multi-colored ‘trial’ piece
  5. Design/create necklace and/or bracelets–individually or as sets.

You might have noticed that I have quite a few e-courses down for the third quarter compared to second. We’re entering the ‘dog days of summer’–where it will either be too hot, too humid, or both in terms of being outdoors for extended periods of time. Therefore, I’m planning those days now–instead of wondering what to do when I reach them.

I still need to break these goals down into monthly and then weekly goals (in addition to other goals I’ll have for each week). My main goal for the third quarter is to meet at least seventy-five to eighty percent of each set of goals, with an overall percentage foal of eighty percent (meaning by the end of September I’ve accomplished at least four out of the five goals).

Have you done a 12-week year before? If you have–how long have you been doing them? And what is your running average of goal completion?

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Starting the year strong: January 2021 goals reviewed

Well we’ve made it through the first month of 2021. I should have known that 2020 wasn’t going to go out without a fight–I think it stole two and a half weeks or so from 2021. Congress did meet on the 6th to finalize the electoral vote–but not before a bunch of right wing nutbags stormed the capital trying to stop the finalization of the vote. This led to the former orange waffle in office to actually get impeached for the second time (there have only been four presidential impeachments throughout this country’s history and he has half of them). The trial in the senate is scheduled to start early Feb (I think next Tuesday), and here’s hoping that another 12 republican senators find their spine & do their job–country over party.

While we do have a new president and vice-president trying to clean up as much of the mess from the last four years as quickly as possible, I realize that we’re still quite a ways away from a new ‘normal’. While there are two vaccines currently in use for the pandemic (3 more are in the middle of the phase 3 clinical trials), they’re both a two-shot system meaning there is a three-to-four week wait between the shots. I’m hoping that I will be able to get my first vaccine shot late summer or early fall (depending on the supply). Though the WHO has stated that we won’t be seeing global herd immunity this year to the virus, so even if I can get the vaccine this fall–I will probably still be self-isolating (and figuring things out) until probably 2022.

As usual, the US still hasn’t totally gotten the virus under control. When I published ‘December in Review’, I noted that the US was a little under 20.5 million total cases, and now we’re at a little over 26.7 million cases (increase of basically six point two million cases in a month; similar to December’s total–but I think it is due to a downturn in testing). New variants are starting to pop up around the world (which isn’t that surprising since the virus is RNA based, and those have a tendency to mutate quicker than DNA based viruses)–but hopefully the vaccines being developed will still offer a decent level of protection against the new variant strains. Though the CDC just mandated that you have to wear a mask on any form of public transportation (plane, bus, or train), and not doing so would be considered a federal offense–so we might be seeing the ‘top’ of the pandemic mountain in the US (hopefully).

So as I look to February (with the hopes of things starting to mellow out), I should also look back the goals I set for January and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for January included:

At least 135-155,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat and starting Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

Read (or finish reading) at least 2 non-fiction books from list

Read at least 3 fiction books

Finish the MWO and start another advanced Cheeky Scientist Program

No spend days/No spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily Craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 135-155,000 steps–I met my step goal with a total of 159,685 steps. There weren’t any walks at Boomer Lake, mainly due to the chilly temps (and yes I know it’s winter and I can bundle up—just haven’t figured out how to ‘bundle’ up my camera), and I didn’t want to risk breaking my digital camera (by the off chance of moisture getting into it).

Finishing up Muscle burns fat and starting muscle burns fat advance

I finished up Muscle Burns Fat on the 17th of the month, and started muscle burns fat advance the next day. I wrote both a quick blog post and a slightly more in-depth review of Muscle Burns Fat probably a week or so ago. I will be finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on the 7th of February.

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list

I managed to finish reading the following:

Secrets of Six Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny

Badass Habits: cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero

I should hopefully be posting reviews of both books within the next week or so.

Read at least 3 fiction books

This month has seen me read the following:

The first three books in the Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series by Claudia Burgoa. The books are:

Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1)

A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2)

Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3)

The last three books in the series will be coming out throughout 2021.

Plus I also read ‘The Ahern Brothers Collection’ also by Claudia Burgoa.

Book reviews, again will be posted within hopefully two to three weeks.

Finishing the MWO and starting another advanced Cheeky Scientist program

While I haven’t totally finished the MWO yet (the writing and editing assignments are taking longer than I originally thought), I have started both the Clinical Research Coalition and the Regulatory Affairs Council advance programs.

One thing I’ve realized is that if I don’t find the topic interesting, it is hard for me to complete the assignment–which is part of the trouble I’m having with the writing and editing assignments for the MWO. I will be blocking out time over the next month to slowly finish the assignments though.

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

This was accomplished. While I tried to have no-spending challenges last year, I usually ended up still impulsively buying e-books and/or courses. This year I decided to have a limited spending challenge–things could still be bought, but had to go into one of two categories: needed or splurge. I will be posting this week on how the first month went for the challenge (instead of droning on about it here).

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Since we’re in the middle of winter (though there have been one or two days of ‘nicer temps’–those were really windy days), the time outdoors has been brief. It is mainly at night with the dogs, or when I need to fill up the bird feeders. While I don’t mind winter temps–I have yet to find a hobby that will have me outdoors no matter the temperature.

I have been doing small nightly meditations (usually a minute or two), and sitting quietly throughout the day–not as often as I would like, but it is progress.

Daily craft time

I decided that for January I wasn’t going to be picky in terms of what I did for my daily craft time. For the month it was basically the color-by-number pictures on the kindle. I downloaded an app last fall, and I usually color at least two to five pictures a day (and I have also realized that this is one thing I need to cut back on slightly). I also managed to get a little photography done with the iPhone–but that has been the extent of my photography so far for 2021.

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

I watched three other short ‘e-courses’ off of Skillshare and they were:

Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content

3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog

Finding your inner creative

Mini-reviews for the three courses can be found on the review of December 2020’s Cancer Full Moon Goals.

So I was able to basically meet all my goals for January. Though I need to work on the timing for a few of them. While I enjoy reading (and do it daily), I need to block out time throughout the week to also work on various e-courses. My current method is to look at the calendar, slightly freak out at the date, and then try to see how many e-courses I can get done over say a forty-eight hour period.

Moving forward this year, I’ve realized that I do need to prioritize my health (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) ahead of almost everything else–for the simple reason I usually put myself last in terms of most things. If I’m going to be able to transition to industry (or even start going freelance/remote/independent)–I need to ensure that I’m taking care of myself.

With that thought being at the forefront of all my decisions moving forward I’ve decided that the goals for February will include:

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and starting Barre Blend

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list (and hopefully post reviews within the same month)

Read 3 fiction books (again, hopefully posting reviews within same month)

Finishing up the MWO (blocking out the time needed to work through the assignments), and finishing either the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council program–bonus if I can complete all three

No Spend days/No spend week/Limited Spending month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (with trying something new at least once a week)

Finishing at least two other e-courses from list

While continuing to remind myself: “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 addition keeping my five words for 2021 at the front as well: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

No Comments BooksfitnessHealthmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Quickly gazing back at 2020, while planning for 2021

So 2020 is finally over (and I’m cautiously looking out the window at 2021), but it is also time to reflect back on the year (ups, downs, hills, and valleys). So my apologies if this seems to be a really rambling post–I’m covering the year, but there isn’t any particular order for my thoughts.

2020 managed to shake up the entire year by itself. Earlier in the year there was talk of a novel coronavirus that had popped up in China and was possibly making its way around the world. The first ‘identified’ cases in the US showed up in late January/early February (though now we know that the virus was actually here earlier); and now at the end of the year-the US had just under 20.5 million cases as of New Years Eve, and leads in total cases and number of deaths (I wish someone would explain to people–this isn’t a damn popularity contest; you actually want to be coming in last).

Vaccine development was pushed to the forefront as case numbers due to the virus continued to climb; currently there are two vaccines that have been granted emergency use (I also think that there are two or three more entering phase III clinical trials)–but I won’t be eligible for either of the them until late summer/early fall (with a three-to-four week wait period between the two shots). So needless to say–there was no travel this year, and probably won’t be any travel (at least international) probably until 2022 (at the earliest).

Though I’ve been self-isolating for the most part this year, I decided I would buy some face-masks for whenever I needed to go out and possibly be around people. So far those times have been walking at Boomer Lake this fall and winter (I figured fewer people out in the cold weather), I have the face-mask on, but pulled down and when I can’t keep at least six to eight feet between myself and the other person, I pull the mask up over my mouth and nose. I also have one that I wear when I need to go buy the weekend newspaper, plus several others that I can go between for any other errands I may need to run in 2021.

Both puppies that we adopted last year have settled in, grown, and are showing their unique personalities. Rolex seems to have developed an autoimmune disorder (Vitilgo), which is also an autoimmune disorder that humans can have. So now whenever she loses a little bit of fur-it will grow back in white instead of black. So at some point, she may start looking like a reverse Dalmatian (black with white spots), though she still has a pinkish jaw (the fur hasn’t totally grown back).

Rolex, our boxer-mix puppy, before her Vitilgo started acting up

Chaos has basically finished growing, though I think he still as a little more muscle mass to put on, and should top off somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds. He walks nicely on a leash for me, and listens to most commands (though to get him in–you do need to have a treat in your hand, he is a little devil in that regard). His only ‘health’ issue right now is dry/itchy skin that we’re treating with a combination of bendaryl, flaxseed, and anti-itch pills (which are a combo of various omega oils). Though we may be switching the food to see if that has anything to do with his issue.

Chaos snoozing on the bed.

Now once the weather starts to behave, I’ll be walking him more and possibly trying to walk him at Boomer Lake where we may see other people and animals–he grumbles a little at people he doesn’t know very well. When Arick is in town, Chaos grumbles at him every so often–though it may be due also to the fact that Arick was wearing dirty clothes that day and Chaos didn’t like the smell of them. But I do need to try and get him a little more social–mainly so I don’t get the lecture from the vet on his personality problems.

Looking back at what I had planned for 2020, I almost want to break down into tears–I had the idea of trying to focus on just a couple of areas, creating a monthly calendar to keep me on track, posting more on the blog, and just getting more stuff done in general. I also had plans for at least one mental health break trip and then a networking trip as well–needless to say, neither trip happened (and probably won’t happen for another year or so).

While I’m still slightly stuck in the weeds in terms of trying to figure out the next direction for my carer/job, I have realized a couple of things. 1) I know realize that once I feel like I’ve learned all there is to learn within the position, I start ‘coasting’ and have a hard time asking for more things to keep me engaged at work; 2) I really don’t work well with micro-managers and straight up-right upholders (if you don’t recognize the term–I suggest reading ‘Four Tendencies’ by Gretchen Rubin); 3) I do like working in a group setting where there is interaction between people (at least conversations every so often).

While trying to figure things out, I decided that I would retake the Clifton Strength Assessment to see if any of my strengths had changed since I first took it. The top four stayed in the exact same order (learner, intellection, input, and achiever), while the fifth one changed (deliberative to ideation; and when I averaged the two assessments, the fifth changed again to arranger, followed by deliberative. Ideation fell to number nine on the average).

This means that when looking for jobs/assignments/positions, I need to choose things that allow me to be learning (but I also need to have at least a small interest in the subject), dive as deeply as I want into the subject matter, change topics on a whim, work remotely, at an office, or both, and realize that I could be changing tones/subjects/ideas or whatever on a day to day (or even hour to hour) basis.

Earlier in the year (basically at the start of the pandemic) I had more of a drive to try to transition into an industry position and joined an accountability group to help make that happen. While, I haven’t transitioned yet–it did give me ideas on how to go about filling in my job search spreadsheet, which I will be starting a fresh one in the coming weeks for 2021. One issue that was brought up is that since things are probably going to be sticking remote for awhile (especially interviews), one should try to have a dedicated ethernet connection for virtual meetings. Currently, we don’t have one and probably won’t–I don’t want the headache of having to stretch a cord from my parents room (which is where the closest phone jack is) into my room–but this is also a problem to address at a later day in 2021.

Informational interviews probably won’t start happening until the earliest April, since 1) I still haven’t figured out the direction(s) I want to be focusing on in terms of job transition, and 2) I will still need to build rapport with people online before asking if they have time to answer a couple of questions either via email, a phone call, or a Skype/Zoom call.

Another area I was trying to focus on in 2020 was health and fitness. I managed to get serious about pushing play on working out in June. Up until then I had been trying different times of the day for working out and none of them really stuck, until I decided that I would workout in the morning after having breakfast. So, I made the decision on June 1st to push play in the morning (and so far the latest has been ~10AM), and I managed to finish three and a half programs (I still have probably another week or so of the Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs&Butt Series to finish) by the end of 2020.

The goal for 2021 is to complete a total of nine Beachbody workouts.

I also made the decision to step back from trying to do coaching via Beachbody. I had several reasons for this, and I will probably do a separate post on that during the first month or two of 2021.

I had made note at the end of 2019 that I was trying to focus on too many different things, and therefore would try to focus just on health/fitness, career transition (these were tied at number one), then personal/professional development (number two), and if possible crafts as number three. Needless to say–having multiple things actually helps me focus better, when I can switch between things if I start to get bored. My problem was actually needing to figure out how to prioritize the projects/topics and setting up a workable schedule/calendar. Though if I look at my reading list–I did manage to read eighteen non-fiction books in 2020, which is about the average of the past couple of years.

So to help with the prioritizing, setting up a schedule/calendar, I’m going to do the following:

Have a list of non-fiction books that I would like to read–instead of just saying that I will randomly pick one out of the three hundred that I still have to read. This way, the list is smaller and curated–almost guaranteed that I should be able to read at least twenty-five of them during 2021.

I also have a goal to read about forty to fifty fiction books as well during 2021–and I think that I have probably forty-five on pre-order already for the year. I’ve also decided that for the books that I still want to get in 2021, but haven’t been put up for pre-order yet–in order to buy one of them I will need to have read two non-fiction books and two to three fiction books and posted a review on them (blog and amazon) before buying another book.

I’m also going to have a list of forty to sixty different e-courses that I would like to work through for the year as well. These will include most of the advanced Cheeky Scientist programs and then a variety of other courses that I’ve bought from other sites. The goal is to continue working towards an industry transition, though now I’m thinking more remote/freelance/independent/consultant/contract type of work for a while (mainly due to the pandemic situation). As I work through various courses, I will be taking notes and posting updates on the the blog as to what I think of the courses and how taking it has benefited (either by being something I will continue working with or showing me that the topic isn’t for me).

In terms of crafts and hobbies–I’m hoping to get out more with the camera and work on my nature/landscape photography skills and maybe also some architecture/city photography as well. Photography was one of my saving graces during 2020–with sheltering in place I managed to get quite good at getting pictures of hummingbirds in motion at their feeder. I think my top three photography subjects were the ruby-throated hummingbird, the red-bellied woodpecker, and the downy woodpecker.

Hummingbird sitting in the pecan tree

I’m also going to sit down and teach myself cross-stitching and jewelry design, plus work on my drawing skills. I have a couple of books on jewelry design (and I’m sure I can find other articles and so forth on-line), e-courses on drawing, and I can probably look up an introduction video on YouTube for cross-stitching. One thing I’m having to remind myself of lately–that trying new hobbies doesn’t mean that I’m going to be dedicating my life to them.

I also got back into the habit of doing an evening oracle/tarot card reading. I decided that instead of taking a picture of every reading–I’d ‘sketch’ out the cards in my journal along with what I took away from each card. Then once I started doing a review on the oracle/tarot deck I would reference back to my journal for the layouts that I wanted to use as examples. I’m slowly working on those reviews–I find that even though they’re ‘creative’ writing, I put more thought into them than I do some of the other creative writing posts I do.

Another idea that I had bouncing around in my head during 2020 was to do a weekly recap of the various science news posts that I had read and shared on twitter or LinkedIn–needless to say the idea stayed in my head all year, but will hopefully be put into practice in 2021.

While 2020 was difficult year–December was a very trying month. There were a couple of deaths in the family (one due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, one to other health issues/surgery complications, and one to old age/health issues). Also it didn’t help hearing from an friend who is just getting over botulism poisoning that they are having to go through surgery due to possible cancer tumor on their salivary glands. Then to top off the month–a close friend and her entire family caught the SARS-CoV2 virus, but luckily they seem to have “recovered” from it. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate that no one in the immediate family has come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.

So while there was zero traveling during 2020, I did manage to get a few things accomplished–I got better with my camera and getting pictures of birds; I have several ideas of possible directions to go in terms of my career; I’ve done quite a bit of self-reflection (though there will be more of self-reflection in 2021 as you can never really be done with it), found quite a few more book series and new (to me) authors, and managed to stay safe and healthy in the midst of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.

While traveling is still probably on hold for 2021 (damn you both pandemic and poor government response), I will be focusing on the things that make me happy–learning, reading, crafting, photography, meditating, tarot/oracle card readings, and spending time with my family and pets.

Hopefully 2021 will also be the year of making numerous new friends and having coffee/tea/water chats over Skype/zoom/phone/email. I’m going to slowly start trying to get out of my ‘shell’ but at the same time realize that the shell may be the best place to be at times.

The phrases for 2021 are now going to be: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last”, “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”, and “evaluate the people in your life; then promote, demote, or terminate. You’re the CEO of your life.”

I’ve also decided that the words for 2021 are going to be: growth, curiosity, creativity, prosperity, and happiness.

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsYear in Review

Heading into week 3 of self-quarantining during the SARS-CoV2 pandemic

So we’re now entering week three of the self-quarantine period, and this self-quarantining may last until the end of April, the end of May or it could even go longer. That is the problem with a novel pathogen—we don’t know that much about it. Everyone is hoping that when warmer weather comes it will get rid of the virus. Only problem with that scenario—the southern hemisphere (which is in their summer months) has also been hit by the virus (with some countries having over 4K cases).

Therefore, it is extremely important that we all more or less stay in the house for the foreseeable future. I’ve realized that my only problem during this time period is actually getting things done—I have plenty of things to do, and I will probably cycle through things so that I don’t get overly bored with any particular item/project.

So what did I manage to get accomplished last week while staying at home?

~ Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

            This task has been started; I had ordered a small bookcase and shelving unit—only to realize that I needed an additional shelving unit. That will be coming in hopefully mid-month (as it isn’t considered an essential item). While I’m waiting for that to show (to house the last few books/workout DVDs), I’m still going to try to rearrange things to have a dedicated meditation spot.

            So it is safe to say that his particular task is going to be an ongoing task for the next few weeks.

Filing my taxes—yes, there has been an extension, but if you’re going to get money back—why wait longer than you already have?

            I mailed these off on Tuesday last week. Hopefully within six-to-eight weeks I should have both tax returns in my checking account.

~ Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

            This task has been started. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how many pictures I have on my computer (I think the amount of space/memory for them is somewhere in the ballpark of 95Gb—so I think that some of the pictures will be getting deleted).

Continue working on my afghan

            Once I plan/write out the last portion of the afghan so that I can keep track of the rows, I will be finishing it up over the next couple of weeks.

~ Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

            I’m continuing with Morning Meltdown 100—and trying not to take that many days off (so far it’s been three days off—the 20th, 21st, and 27th). Hopefully should be finishing this program early June.

~ Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

~ Reading

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

~ Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

            This is something that will also be an ongoing task.

Ask two or three people what they think my top five skills are

            So I’ve asked several people what they thought my top skills are, and while is helping me fill in a few blanks in terms of what I possibly want to do with my life—there are also other questions I should put out there and ask people what they think.

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

            Again, this is something that I’m finding a little difficult to do—mainly because the weather is getting nice, and I would rather be sitting outside than being inside on the computer.

            This is something that I’m going to need to work on still over the next couple of weeks.

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

            This is something that I’m still working on. I’m trying to figure out what type of things I wouldn’t mind doing on a daily basis (more or less), plus looking to see if there are any types of videos of the numerous different industry jobs.

So that was a recap of what I managed to get accomplished last week. This week I’m going to focus on more or less the same areas (cleaning/decluttering, personal/professional development, health/fitness, and craft time). With that being said, I’m going to be doing the following:

Cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things from my bedroom (which also serves as my exercise room, my office, and my zen space)

Organizing all my digital photos—getting rid of the really blurry ones, and then creating folders for all the others. I’m thinking that since most of my pictures are of different birds—I’m going to aim at keeping fifty to seventy-five photos (per year). For the trips I’ve taken—I’ll only get rid of the really blurry photographs.

Continue working on my afghan

Continue with a daily workout schedule (I’m back on doing Morning Meltdown 100 after a two day break).

Continue trying to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and continue journaling in general

Reading

Working through various e-courses that I’ve bought

Post a question on either Facebook or Linkedin asking people what is the one word they would use to describe me and why—to help me figure out what my personal/professional brand is.

Try to actually then make a daily schedule that I will hopefully keep with so that I can start getting quite a bit more accomplished each day

Finally continue working on trying to figure out what I want to do with my life

I will then end with a few reminders: It’s okay not to be super productive during this time; Progress over Perfection; and also in our rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal we really want to rush back to.

No Comments fitnessHealthodds and endsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Level 10 Life Update: Going into the last quarter of 2018

Well this is another post that is almost a week late. I had decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to go about goals and tracking them several different ways. One of the ways is my month in review posts, and the list of goals within each month. For the most part they don’t really change, and they’re focused on just a few areas (career, health and fitness, and a slight mix of other areas). The second way I’ve been trying to do things is looking at my life from the perspective of a Level 10 life. Basically, this breaks life down into ten different areas, and then you rate those areas on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest). After rating the different areas, you can then make a goal for each one that you want to work on improving.

Level 10 Life, as of October 2018

So for the most part, there was little change between this analysis of my Level 10 life and the one I did at the beginning of July. Though I did have upward progression in a few areas:

I’ve gotten back into trying to do a daily tarot card reading, which is helping me tune into listening to the universe and my gut a little more. I’m also getting back into try to mediate at least 5 minute each night (sometimes I can quiet my mind and sometimes I can’t). So I bumped the rating for spirituality up from a 3.5 to a 5.

I’ve also managed to put a little more money into the savings account (so I bumped this up from a four to a five for finances), and while the savings may take a small hit since I’m going to be trying to plan a trip out east for later this month, it is sitting at a comfortable spot currently.

I also managed to finish LIIFT4 (which is the first fitness program in probably a year that I’ve finished), and have also managed to limit the amount of sweets that I’ve been getting on campus (though the past few days I did buy some chocolate). I therefore raised the rating for my health and fitness from a 2.5 to a 5.

The other areas really didn’t change all that much from the analysis in July to the analysis this morning.

So my goals for the last quarter of the year include:

(Family and Friends): Getting in touch with friends via social media; and maybe trying to meet up with friends back east.

(Personal Development): Continue with my reading challenge, and commit to either re-learning a foreign language and/or learning a programming language.

(Spirituality): Continue with trying to mediate at least 5 minutes a night, my daily tarot card reading, and build my altar.

(Fiances): Continue with savings challenges, and try to schedule an appointment with a financial consultant to talk about investments

(Career): Work on my transition plan, network, and try to make it to at least one professional networking event out of state.

(Social Life): Meet up with friends for lunch, or walks, and/or also try to make it a Cheeky Scientist Meet-up

(Fun & Recreation): Work on my crafts a little more: including more photography, knitting, jewelry making, and free hand drawing.

(Giving and Contributions): Go through clothes to see what I can donate

(Physical Environment): Continue straightening up the bedroom (it always looks like a tornado has gone through it by the weekend) and work on repacking boxes in my storage unit.

(Health and Fitness): Continue with the hybrid workout calendar: LIIFT4 mixed with InsanityMax30 (and maybe 22 Minute Hard Corps); and making sure that I’m also practicing mindful eating.

No Comments Level 10 Lifemoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development