Tag: sciencewriter

Planning…three quarters of the way done…onto the milestones

Introduction:

So the moon is going to be heading into Sagittarius tomorrow and/or tonight (depending on where you are in the world)—marking the fifth full moon of the year. But—before looking ahead and making goals in relation to Sagittarius, I need to look at the goals I set for Scorpio and see how I did with each of them.

What goals did I set for the Scorpio full moon? They included:

  1. Planning out for May: setting up (at least the basic) calendar, the May BINGO card, the May brain-dump, and also trying to set up the ‘editorial’ calendar for the oracle card instagram channel.
  2. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan, and writing out the rough draft for my personal/professional growth plan
  3. Set up a new 90-day content challenge plan

So did I do with each one?

Planning for May:

I made my basic editorial calendar, my May BINGO card, and did a brain dump for May (and even tried to ‘organize’ the brain dump). I’ve decided that instead of drawing out numerous calendars for everything each month—I’m going to try to ‘organize’ by color. Now I just need to chose which color pen/marker is going to be for what ‘project’/‘channel’. Also need to determine the best time of day for posting to the oracle card instagram channel. I haven’t been ‘consistent’ with that channel currently, mainly because of the pain of switching between channels on the computer (for some stupid reason, I have to keep ‘verifying’ my original account when I switch back..on the same damn computer…in the same damn tab on the browser…but this is actually an ‘rant’ for another day).

So, I would say that I completed 98% of this goal…I knocked two percent off—since I haven’t been consistently posting to the oracle card instagram channel this month (actually haven’t posted since the beginning of the month).

Working on the two-to-five year plan:

Okay. I’ve written out eight goals that I want to accomplish in the next five years in relations to personal/professional growth.

Those goals include:

  1. Having both blogs ranking on the first page of various search engines for different topics (science/health/medical educational topics for the jessicamatts[dot]com site; and personal/professional growth & crafts/hobbies for the becomingjessi[dot]com site).
  2. Consistently posting to both blogs (which right now is a struggle)
  3. Writing consistently on Medium & SubStack
  4. Branching out into writing ‘articles’ on LinkedIn
  5. Have grown a large organic following across various social media platforms & I’m posting consistently to various social media channels. (Which includes the different instagram channels)
  6. Have an online shop for selling crafts/pictures/whatever
  7. Have gotten out of debt & have canceled at least one credit card
  8. Have created my own vision of minimalism along with my own vision of success
  9. Have gotten into the best shape of my life (lift heavier weights, riding the exercise bike longer, hiking/walking further; paddle boarding, kayaking, and whatever).

Now—I just need to break these down into actionable steps & achievable milestones (that won’t have me freaking out)…so I’m about 75% of the way done with this goal. A lot of this comes down to developing a working schedule for research/writing & editing/proofreading prior to posting. Also probably wouldn’t hurt to invest sometime into learning SEO optimization for the different businesses/blogs that I’m wanting to launch/run.

90-day content creation plan

Okay…unlike previous years where I tried to ‘plan’ out how I’d be creating new content everyday for 90-days, I’m going extremely simple this time.

I’ve set up a new spreadsheet that I’ll be using to track different aspects of ‘content creation’: research, writing/editing/proofreading, & publishing (for written things), status of craft projects, if I’ve made it outside with a camera (whether its the phone or my actual camera), what book reviews I written, and then where things are getting ‘published’ and whether or not the content can be ‘repurposed’ into new content for other sites.

Trying to do a single project in a day (or possibly three) was mind-numbing and anxiety inducing when I tried that a couple of years ago. Now I’ll simply keep track of things in a spreadsheet…every time I write something (whether it’s for this blog, the science blog, a random musing that I post to LinkedIn, Facebook, or wherever)–I’ll enter into the spreadsheet, at some point I may add in columns to try to keep track of the ‘stats’ of how well the post did…but for now…I’m not going to focus on that (at least until I’ve taken an couple SEO courses).

One series of content that I repurpose weekly are my daily updates on what is going on in Gaza & the West Bank. I do a daily update on Instagram (can be found at jessi1980), and then I compile, edit, proofread the daily updates into an single (fairly long) piece that I publish on both SubStack and the creative blog.

An new challenge will be to see how many different ‘projects’ I can possibly ‘repurpose’ across different channels. Currently—it’s my daily Gaza updates on Instagram (they get ‘repurposed’ on the weekend as a weekly summary that I post to SubStack & the creative blog). That’s one…and I’d like to see if I can manage to possibly have three to four different ‘projects’ getting repurposed.

Conclusions:

Three challenges, and I made progress with all of them. I haven’t broken down the goals for the two-to-five year plan into more manageable pieces, but I’ve written out the goals. I’ve got a tracking sheet set up to keep track of the writing I will hopefully be doing daily & to see how many ‘new’ projects I can I plan out to launch come later this summer or early fall.

I commented on someone’s post on LinkedIn this morning, that it’s difficult to engage in ‘training/coaching’ sessions when you have a hard time articulating to yourself what it is you want to accomplish, much less try to articulate it to someone else. Why am I mentioning that here? Well..because it fits in with these goals that I’ll be carrying forward—while I know what I want to do..I need to determine the best path, because there really isn’t a job out there that would let me learn/research/contemplate any topic that I find of interest today…that would let me bounce between different topics/projects or would allow me to put a project on the back burner because I’d gotten slightly ‘bored’ and my brain wanted to switch directions.

So…yeah—I’ve gotta break these goals down into reasonable & achievable milestones…and that will be the next ‘project’ once I’ve gotten the goals for the Sagittarius Full Moon written.

How did you do with your Scorpio full moon goals?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Return of the monthly accountability posts

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to ‘revive’ a blog series that I let fall by the wayside last year. That series—“months in review”. Basically I’m trying to restart my monthly accountability posts. 

I think I only managed to do a “January in Review” last year (possibly…maybe?), and then I barely posted on either blog for several months. This was due in part to the family medical issue that had started in August 2022…it continued into the early months of 2023…and ‘accumulated’ with my mom passing away during emergency surgery in May of 2023. Needless to say—in addition to trying to manage burnout symptoms, I’m also trying to manage grief as well. Then it didn’t help in October when the world lost it’s shit and any sense of sanity & common sense.

So, the ‘month in review’ posts—what were they? They were monthly accountability posts. They were posts were I listed out various goals that I attempted for the month & how I did with each of them, and at the end of the post were goals I set for the following month. They were also posts where I’d give an update on the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and various stats. This ‘new’ series will be mainly covering the goals and whether I accomplished them or not—and if not, what I plan on doing differently to accomplish that goal within the first few days of the following month.

You will also notice that I’m going to be referring to personal/professional development as personal/professional growth—because I feel like ‘development’ has a slightly negative vibe to it. I don’t need to ‘develop’ into a writer…I’m already a writer, but I can ‘grow’ into becoming a better writer, photographer, blogger, or whatever.

So, with this ‘restart’ to the month in review series, what were my goals for April? Those goals included:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least three fiction books
  3. Complete at least one 30-day challenge (working on a Sudoku puzzle, iPhone photography, something)
  4. Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can stick with
  5. Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel
  6. At least two blurbs/reviews on science papers (for the science, health, medical blog)
  7. Working through at least two e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a foreign lanuage)
  9. Post to each blog (minimum once–would like two or more times)
  10. Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science/health, medical blog):
    • Oncology series (carcinomas & sarcomas)
    • What is a microbe series
    • Metabolism series (why some supplements are ‘scams’)
    • Why some foods (chocolate, onions, walnuts/pecans) are bad for dogs & cats

These goals are in addition to the goals that I’d drawn on my April BINGO card (and actually some of these goals are from the April BINGO card). So how did I do with each of the goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books. I read the following books during April:

  1. Top 10 most interesting dinosaurs by Daniel Bozso 
  2. 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 more discoveries from the golden age of dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
  3. Becoming What You Are: A Concise Guide to Awakening the light within by Two Workers
  4. B*tch Don’t Kill my Vibe by Reese Owen
  5. What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
  6. Waking up in the winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson

So 100% on this goal…and actually managed to double the number of books that I read.

Reading at least three fiction books. I read the following fiction books during April:

  1. Moments for You (Wilder Brothers/Cousins #7) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. The Keeper (Playing to Win #1) by Bella Matthews
  3. The Wildcat (Playing to Win #2) by Bella Matthews
  4. The Knockout (Playing to Win #3) by Bella Matthews
  5. Caged (The Defiant Kings #1) by Bella Matthews
  6. Shaken (The Defiant Kings #2) by Bella Matthews
  7. Iced (The Defiant Kings #3) by Bella Matthews
  8. Overruled (The Defiant Kings #4) by Bella Matthews
  9. Haven (The Defiant Kings #5) by Bella Matthews

Seeing a pattern? I found a new (to-me) author—Bella Matthews, and have been binge reading her backlist (after having purchased the Playing to win series). I think I’ve also (more or less) finished two other connected series…I just forgot to write them down on teh wod document that I have going to track how many books I’ve read during 2024.

Completing at least one 30-day challenge (100% complete):

This month’s challenge was attempting to finish a Sudoku puzzle everyday. I probably should have kept track of how many days I actually managed to complete the puzzle without messing up…but I’d say it was probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the time (so somewhere between 20 and 25 days of ‘correctly’ finishing the puzzle).

I’d started also trying to do a crossword puzzle daily as well…and I’d say the percentage I got done was around 10-15%…not great…so maybe try to work on getting better at crossword puzzles over the next few months.

Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can hopefully stick with (~60% complete):

I’ve created a basic board game for intentional movements…though I’m thinking of purchasing a hula hoop and some battle ropes to add into the mix. My problem for the past couple of years has been ‘boredom’…aka—doing the same workout programs that I’ve done in the past. In order to break that ‘cycle’ I need to mix things up—and also not focus on a number on the scale or a number on the tag of clothes…but aim to get into the best shape of my life, honor my body, and accept (plus work with) the limitations of my body—i.e. knowing that lunges, pushups, tricep dips, and even jogging/running aren’t things I should be doing a lot of…though jogging may be possible a few months down the road—the others I should avoid due to my bone structure (being knocked-kneed/bow-legged; messed up bone structure due to the hereditary multiple osteochondromas).

My biggest hurdle currently—is figuring out the ‘time’ to workout daily. I’m not a big fan of being ‘observed’ when working out…so yeah—still need to figure out the best ‘time’ of day to do things. 

Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel (possibly 5% completed?):

Not quite done with this one…mainly because I haven’t quite decided if it’s going to be solely an ‘science, health, med’ comms/topics channel, or is it going to be like me—multifaceted. The single topic channel would be in theory easier to plan than a multifaceted one…but I’m worried that I’d get bored with it…though that could just be the inner critic/imposter syndrome whispering in my ear to keep me ‘stuck’.

Two blurbs/reviews on sciences papers (for the science, health, med blog) (5% completed):

Nope..I have the notes for one blurb/review (over the leafy and weedy sea dragon genomes), and just need to go back through and edit it down—I was over thinking things and started to also create a mini-review, when I should have been making note of things I found of interest and wanted to research on their own…with then linking back to the original ‘blurb’ that brought the ‘new topic’ to my attention. 

Working through at least two e-courses (100%–I watched/took notes):

I watched two ‘short’ e-courses on SkillShare in April, and those two courses were:

“The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success” and

“Creative Business Plan for Artists: Create a Thriving Business”

Now…I just need to go back and complete the ‘assignments’ for both of the courses—in order to get the ‘certificates’ of completion. Which will then help me actually move forward with trying to launch potentially two different freelance businesses (the freelance science, health, medical comms & the creative hobby/personal/professional growth business).

30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a language) (only about 5% completed)

Nope…I managed to do this for the first few days of the month, and then I let all sorts of other ‘tasks’ take precedence over logging into Mondly for a half-hour to practice learning a foreign language.

Post to each blog (minimum once—would like two or more times) (100%—creative blog was several times; while the science, health & medical blog was once)

I usually manage to post to the creative blog at least four times a month (in regards to setting goals via of the new and full moon phases), and sometimes I manage a fifth or sixth time (book reviews or updates on what’s going on in West Asia). The site that usually I have more ‘trouble’ posting to is the science, health, and medical comms blog/website. 

I actually managed to post to the science, health, & medical blog website once last month—back on the 7th, I posted about 2024 world health day. I’m behind on the oncology blog series—only because I’ve realized that I need to divide some of the posts into multiple posts. A goal for May is to get back to a biweekly schedule of posting the oncology blog series, plus possibly posting about other topics as well (potential public/global health posts in regards to the rise of certain infectious diseases in certain areas of the world).

Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science, health, medical blog/website): (possibly about 45% done)

The oncology blog series (focusing on ‘location-based’ classification of cancers currently) ~35% done. I need to break these two outlines into ‘multiple’ outlines, as I’d noticed that the posts were getting ‘fairly’ long (i.e. getting close to almost ‘mini-review length–at least in my mind).

What is a microbe series–~80% done. I have a basic outline and some notes. But I should ensure that I have a couple of ‘examples’ of each group/family/class of microbes picked out and a outline for what I’d like to cover on those organisms.

Metabolism series–haven’t started

What various foods aren’t good for dogs and cats–haven’t started

I have notes and a rough outline for the what is a microbe series. I have a very rough draft for the carcinoma position of the oncology blog series (location based cancers part I). Since I haven’t fine-tuned the carcinoma outline…I haven’t moved forward to the sarcoma outline..which is currently ‘okay’ since I’m so far behind in writing/posting this series to the science, health, med blog. 

Conclusions:

So with April being the first month (in over a year) in which I tried to set ‘a laundry list’ of goals…I’m happy to see that there were only two or three that were less than 10% completed (refresh/learn a foreign language, planning out the YouTube channel, & blurbs on science/health/medical papers). I’m acknowledging that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was probably responsible for sidelining me for a good chunk of the month in regards to those two goals, and writing/posting to the science, health, & medical blog/website.

Reading is always something I enjoy…I’m proud of the fact that I managed to read/finish half a dozen non-fiction books this month, and am aiming to read at least three next month as well (if I can do half a dozen, great). Research & writing is something else I enjoy…I just need to get into the mindset that ‘good, decent, & done’ is a better mindset than ‘great, in-depth, and perfect’.

Perfectionism, comparing myself to others, and feeling like I need to have all the answers/solutions/every outcome mapped before moving forward is whats kept me stuck for quite a while (not to mention the whole family medical crisis/grief/finding my new normal). But I can say that I’m slowly making my way forward on my own path…

So what goals are going on my ‘laundry’ list of goals for May? They include:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction
  3. Completing at least one more 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish the outline/mind-map and possibly launch the YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on the science, health, medical papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • The two topics from last month (metabolism & foods that aren’t good for pets & why)
    • “Interviews” with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us “toxic/poisonous” (“interviews” with different creatures that either produce their own toxins/posions or house microbes that produce them)
    • Interviews with citizens of ancient civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus others)
    • Ancient Civilizations (Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt)
  11. Writing/working on projects for at least 30-minutes a day (minimum two different projects a day)
  12. Work on the large needlepoint project and maybe (start and/or finish) a small needlepoint proejct
  13. Create a rough draft of a coloring book from some of my black & white doodles.

There are ‘more’ goals listed for May…but several are just setting up for the research step of the project (such as goal number ten—the mind-maps & outlines). Others may be ‘competed’ quickly (such as say just reading four fiction books—but I know I’ll be reading more than just four). 

Having thirteen goals listed for May means I’ll also be working on my time and project management skills. Especially when it comes to ensuring that I’m doing my daily intentional movement, making time to be on Mondly learning a foreign language, working through an e-course, mind-mapping & creating outlines, research, writing/editing & publishing content. The overall goal for May is to complete at least fifty percent of a third of the goals; complete seventy-five percent of a third, and hundred precent of the other third. Yes, I know that with thirteen goals—it’s not an ‘even’ third.

How do you go about goal setting? Yearly? Quarterly? Monthly? What style of goal-setting do you use? SMART goals? OKR (Objective, Key Results)? WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan)? GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will)?

No Comments bullet journalscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesReflections

Content Creation Challenge & Planning: Scorpio Goals

So we’re heading into April’s full moon tonight, and it will be a couple more months before the next partial lunar eclipse (there was the full lunar eclipse last month). Unfortunately, I never feel like trying to stay up late enough to see the lunar eclipses…this month’s earlier solar eclipse was neat…to bad I didn’t have the right filter on the phone to be able to get a picture of it.

Since the moon is moving through Scorpio over the next few days, here are some questions that one can reflect on (according to ‘Moonology’ by Yasmin Boland):

Have I been jealous, vengeful, suspicious, or otherwise behaved toxically?

Have I been living out of fear rather than joy?

Have I been brooding and dark: focusing on the negative rather than the positive?

Have I been cruel and cunning?

Am I having the sex I need to feel good about myself (of course some people need no sex at all to feel good about themselves)?

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

  1. I’m not acting jealous of others. I’m not acting vengeful towards others (I’ll leave that to karma). Am I suspicious of others? Well…there is the on-going (live-streamed) genocide in Gaza…and as I’d mentioned a couple times on Instagram—I’m losing respect for those that think what is happening is okay…I’m still working on ‘derailing/fixing’ internal ‘toxic’ thoughts (when I notice them). Since I started trying to write out a weekly schedule again—I’ve gotten a little better at time & project management…but catching and controlling the inner critic/imposter syndrome is a little more tricky (I don’t always notice when it grabs the ‘wheel’). 
  2. As I mentioned a couple of years ago: Am I afraid of failure? Yes. Am I afraid of attempting something new (and possibly failing)? Yes. This is in part to the inner critic/imposter syndrome, but also in part to how I was raised—I was raised to ‘be better than average’ (though I know my parents meant only academically)—and it is a mindset that I’m working letting go. 
  3. Again—Have you seen the world lately?? I mean with all the damn problems going on—yes, I probably have been focusing a little too much on the negative rather than the positive (especially when I can’t control the events of the world). Therefore, I need to focus on what I can control, and what will hopefully bring more positive and less negative vibes to my life.
  4. No, I have not been cruel or cunning to others or myself. Though I’m sure that there are others that would argue against this…but as far as I’m concerned—I haven’t been cruel to others…if you can’t handle the truth—that is on you, not on me.
  5. Nope..I don’t need to be having sex to feel good about myself. Also—currently not in a relationship. I could recycle parts of my answer from two years ago (since I didn’t write about my Scorpio full moon goals last spring)…but will leave it at this: I’m not in the mindset to get out and meet new people (aka not into dipping my toes into the dating pool).

The moon then also moved through my first house (or my Image zone), as I usually work with my rising sign (which happens to be Scorpio; my sun sign is Virgo & my moon sign is Pisces). This house/sign is focused on yourself and what you want to fix/update/refresh/toss or whatever in regards to both your personal and/or professional life. 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s review of my Libra full moon goals—I’m going to try to start ‘tracking’ my energy patterns throughout the day/week/month. As I’ve realized that there are some days/weeks that I really don’t feel like doing anything…and no amount of internal ‘pep’ talks can get me to move the needle very far during these periods. This was something I was dealing with last week..I didn’t feel like getting much done…so I focused on just a few things (like trying to share a sciences news ‘blurb’ daily on LinkedIn, doing a daily update on Gaza on Instagram and things like that).

I know that this is a ‘cyclic’ nature—as I’d mentioned two years ago: “everything is cyclic in nature—what goes up, must come down”. I also know that I need to ensure that the downward trends are ‘dips’ and not a sharp drop-off that I struggle to recover from. Our ruts/routines that we fall into when dealing with burnout or grief are sometimes the hardest ones to break…as I’m discovering. 

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

Well, those goals will include:

  1. Planning out for May: setting up (at least the basic) calendar, the May BINGO card, the May brain-dump, and also trying to set up the ‘editorial’ calendar for the oracle card instagram channel.
  2. Continue working on my two-to-five year plan,
  3. Writing out the rough draft for my personal/professional growth plan
  4. Set up a new 90-day content challenge plan

Four goals…in theory all could be ‘one-and-done’ goals…if I manage to actually sit down and write out goals–that I can ‘logically’ break down into yearly/quarterly/monthly/weekly goals…that is where I usually either freak out (I set the time period too short or too long), or I just don’t break them down. That is a goal–make a ‘large’ goal, that I can logically breakdown into easier, smaller & more manageable goals.

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

What is one of your Scorpio goals?

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsFull Moon GoalsLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Focusing on what I can control: Goals for the Taurus Full Moon

So the moon will have entered its latest full moon stage sometime tonight—and will also be a lunar eclipse as well (actually this was early morning—and we were overcast, so even if I’d gotten up early I wouldn’t have seen it). This full moon is also referred to as the Beaver Full moon, and since it’s an eclipse—it’s a ‘beaver blood full moon’.

There are twenty-two days left in November, and a total fifty-three days left in 2022. Looking further ahead to the start of 2023—I’m going to send up a wish/happy thought that it will be a little mellower, and not quite as bumpy as 2022 has been.

Depending on our schedule for the weekend, I’m going to try to get in at least a partial walk at Boomer Lake this weekend, with the camera (might not carry all the gear though).

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

Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

Have I done enough exercise?

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

  1. I think it depends on what aspect of life we’re talking about…In terms of having a set fitness routine—yes, I’ve been semi-lazy over the past month (and if I’m totally honest it’s been longer than that), I just haven’t been in the mood to try to get the dog and cats out of the room so that I could a workout. In terms of being overly self-indulgent, I’m trying to curb the spending (again). I have deleted various games off the kindle, and the only splurges at times now are more e-books.
  2. No—I’m not obsessed with status symbols or money. Money is necessary for survival in today’s society. Therefore, I’m going to make sure that I’m earning enough money to survive, thrive, and be happy—nothing more and nothing less.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through school (public and college) and all four positions after grad school as well. I’m trying to avoid the comparison trap of jealousy—everyone is on his or her own journeys/paths and no two are the same. I’m also trying to strengthen my personal boundaries—so I am slightly ‘possessive’ of my time alone and my winding down time. I’ve noticed that if I don’t ‘unplug’ by a certain time I start to get agitated and that won’t do in the evenings (or really at any time).
  4. I’m sticking semi with last year’s answer of yes/no. I really don’t like the phrase ‘comfort food’ as (to me) it screams of the diet culture industry. Food is meant to both comfort us and fuel us; and hearing the phrase ‘comfort food’ makes me think of counting calories, containers, and wondering what type of exercise I need to do to burn off the calories. Therefore—yes, I’m eating food that comforts me (including sweets and chips) but for the most part those are limited to the weekends. I’m still working on healing my relationship with food—which includes trying to listen to my body’s signs of when I need to be fueling it.
  5. As I mentioned in my summary of the Aries full moon—I’ve figured out what types of movement I’d be happy doing—just haven’t set a schedule yet. I’m trying to make sure that I’m not sitting on my butt all day—but I also cancelled my BeachbodyOnDemand subscription back in September since I seldom made use of it. Now I’m more of the mindset of turning on music and lifting weights or having a impromptu solo dance party.

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

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

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—while everyone has claimed that we’ve moved out the ‘pandemic’ stage and into the ‘epidemic’ stage—there is now the flu to worry about (since majority of people aren’t wearing a mask)—I have been trying to get back into the routine of meeting a friend for lunch once a month.

It will be the turkey holiday soon—my older brother and his family are suppose to be in state that week—so there may be a small family get together at some point (if nothing else hopefully see the elder sibling).

It seems since we’ve hit the ‘20s’—each year tries to out do the previous. The world is tumbling in a downwards spiral—though I hope that at least in the US we can stem it for a while by having a blue wave on election night.

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

  1. Change up my breakfast routine (to continue to work on mending my relationship with food)–try adding in oatmeal with fruits/nuts, or yogurt with fruits/nuts at least twice a week. Both to get away from the usual blueberry muffin, but to also try adding in a little more protein, fiber, and fruit to my diet.
  2. Work on the second blog–getting the about me and home pages written and functional.
  3. Brainstorm ideas: blog posts (both blogs), portfolio pieces, and featured pieces (for LinkedIn profile)
  4. Get the damn functional resume written and ready to be optimized for different job applications
  5. Work on fleshing out my definition of ‘success’ and creating a digital vision board to go with it

There are a little over seven weeks left in 2022—so while I’m focusing on finishing the year strong (resume, LI profile, updated websites, and so forth), I also need to start fleshing out the goals for 2023 and beyond. I know that 2023 isn’t going to start nice and easy (slim possibility of the family medical issue being resolved by then)—so I need to really focus on making sure that I’m controlling what is in the realm of my control—emotions, thoughts, and my day-to-day schedule.

Anxiety, stress, and depression aren’t going to be fading quickly—but I can really start trying to manage, control, and possibly even avoid prolong episodes of each—by protecting my time, and improving my self-care routine/schedule.

What are some of your favorite stress and/or anxiety relief methods/practices?

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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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