Last week I wrote about having to give up one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014, so I thought this would be a good time to do a check in to see how I’ve done with this year’s list.
Commit Random Acts of Kindness (at LEAST one per month) . – Definitely accomplished this one, and this is one goal I actually exceeded by….a lot.
- Make time to write more. Set up a daily writing schedule and STICK TO IT (also make sure to eat and sleep, that didn’t happen with the last writing schedule). I love it so DO it! – I struggle with this one daily. I have a schedule, but I really stink about keeping it. This is just one I have to forgive myself for and re-work the schedule to something I can actually stick to. Sometimes it is not working on your willpower or self-control, but designing something that really fits with your life.
Make time for my family. They’re awesome and I love them, spend more time with them, for crying out loud! Work in some one on one time with each of them every once in a while. They are fun and entertaining, but they are more fun and entertaining one on one! – Sunday dinner’s got re-instituted, and I may not make it every week, but I definitely see them a lot more often than I did before. It is hard to believe that I used to think once a month would be hard!
Make time for my friends…see above. Regularly schedule something together or separately once a month.- This didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. Some friends got more attention than others, but I’m working on it!
Create a realistic, manageable, budget and find a way to keep it. (It doesn’t count if I write it down but never track it.) – I’m calling this one a success. I lost my job, but I didn’t lose my mind. Things got rearranged to make sure the essentials were covered and I still had some fun. The challenge will be sticking to it now that I’m working again!
Take time for myself. Nothing else works well, if I feel overwhelmed or too stressed. Take at least an evening (or two) every week to de-stress and relax. - I got some good quality “me” time in while I was “re-evaluating my career”, and I’m working hard to stick to it.
Eat more meals at home. (I am a great cook…do it!) - This ended up being the largest part of re-vamping my budget, and my food is a lot healthier than most restaurant choices.
Set up meal exchange with a friend (less cooking, more variety, and I might try a new thing or two) - This worked for a couple of months, but my meal exchange partner had a hard time balancing everything in her schedule to work it in. We had a great time for those couple of months though. Maybe we can re-integrate it again soon!
Eat more vegetables (I love veggies, I could practically be a vegetarian, well, three days a week, maybe. Why don’t I eat more of them?) - Cherry Street Farmers’ Market became one of my favorite places over the summer, and my sister has had a bountiful garden this year. So not only did I eat more veggies, but I tried new ones and sourced the majority locally.
Utilize all the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of recipes I have – I had some time on my hands, so I really worked my cookbooks and Pinterest for new recipes. When you get handed a bunch of free squash, you learn how to cook squash!
Make more food myself and get rid of all the extra sodium and processed food. I hate the way the processed food tastes…don’t eat so much of it. I love baking bread, bake your own bread. If I have extra, freeze it or give it away. I’m doing a random act of kindness every month, give away food! There are great freezer tips for freezing your own soup and etc. USE THEM - I really cut down on the processed food I eat. I also learned that I can only bake bread if there is no yeast involved…apparently I have offended yeast in some way and it refuses to work for me. Now the weather is getting cooler, I’m looking forward to trying some of my great soup recipes!
Exercise – Run with my friends, train to run a 5K in October. - Training happened, exercise happened, even running happened!
Drink more water…just because I can drink soda again doesn’t mean you SHOULD! - Did I mention running happened? That definitely took my water consumption to a whole new level. The challenge is sticking with it now that I’m working again.
- Be healthier – mentally, physically, spiritually… ( This is perpetual, but still necessary.) - This was an example of a poorly crafted goal. How do you even measure this?
- Run the Tulsa Run 5K in October. – Not happening. Let it go Jessica. It is all fine.
- Train my dog. We’re not talking therapy dog training time here, just more training. It is fun and you love it…do it!- We learned one new trick…that’s it. I really didn’t stick with this one at all.
Read every day. It relaxes me, I love it, it makes you smarter, and improves your writing…why don’t I do more of that and less Television? – Well, it may not have been a book that I read every day, but I have read something for fun and relaxation every single day. Let me just say that I love Mental Floss magazine. It greatly increases my amount of knowledge that will be helpful in any situation where trivia is important.
- Treat myself to a massage every now and again…seriously, I need it. – The year isn’t over yet? Maybe that should be my birthday present to myself since the concert I wanted to go to is sold out. Who knew Tulsa was filled with so many alt-J fans?
- Actually go to all my doctor and dentist appointments. – I go to my allergy shot appointments every week. Does this count?
Say “No” once in a while. No one is going to hate me forever if I tell them I can’t do something. If they are going to hate me forever for saying “no” do I really want to hang around with them? - I’m calling this one good. I declined a trip to KC, the Oklahoma Aquarium, and practiced telling myself “no” too. This isn’t something that I like doing. There’s a lot of fun stuff that happens, and I want to do all of it!
Go someplace new…or that I haven’t been to in a really long time (I’m thinking London here.) Seattle, New York, Austin, North Carolina, Paris, Morocco (Wow, that last one just kind of typed itself. I didn’t actually know I wanted to go there, but yeah, let’s go to Morocco!)… There is a lot of this country I haven’t seen. Not every trip has to be out of the U.S. I know lots of people in lots of places, maybe I should visit them. - BOSTON! Also, lots of fun places around where I live. Did you know Gilcrease has some touchy feely exhibits? I don’t mean emotionally, either. You can actually feel the texture of the pottery, beadwork, and lots of other things. Just read the signs because, not everything is there for your handsy self.
- Seriously look into growing my own vegetable and herb garden. (Not like last year where all I did to “look” was pin stuff on Pinterest.) Look into structure, pricing materials, really plan this thing. – Yep, didn’t happen at all. My sister is doing such a great job with her garden…also I killed several houseplants this year. I may have a black thumb.
- Plant my own herbs. (Even if I don’t do a whole garden, set up something on the back porch with my favorite fresh herbs…it will save me a ton of money!) – See number 22. Seriously, the plants that survive my house have to adapt. Maybe I can be an example for plant evolution?
You know what? I feel better having read this. There are still more than two months left in the year, and I’ve done a pretty great job with my list. Let’s see if I can knock a couple more off my list before we ring the bell on 2014. Do you check in to see how you’re doing on your resolution list? Do you do the resolution thing?
‘Til next time,
Spring in the Philbrook Gardens
So, life gets crazy, and that sucked all my blogging energy. However, I’m back now, and a lot of cool things have happened. During my short blogging sabbatical, I started a new job, went to the Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook for their Monet exhibit, I took in a bit of Tulsa’s Brady District First Friday Art Crawl, started working on Habitat for Humanity houses, found a photographer to take pics of my art work to start an Etsy store, went to two Greek Festival’s, one ScotsFest, and a state cheerleading competition…I have not been idle!
All those cool things aside, I’ve made some big changes in my life, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I:
- Actually have willpower
- My time management skills have greatly improved
- There is actually some business sense floating around in there
- I don’t overbook myself. (I do this A LOT) There has to be time for stopping to smell the roses…or binge watching Orange is the New Black. Whatever floats my boat.
- I can do this and not become so rigid I lose my spontaneity.
One of the pieces to this puzzle is letting crap go. For example, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to run the Tulsa Run 5k next weekend. That isn’t going to happen. I wasn’t ready, and life changes meant that my running schedule didn’t get as much attention as it should. I’m letting that one go…or trying to anyway. I’m still running, and I hope there are lots of runs in my not so distant future. The Tulsa Run, however, is one I will be cheering the runners on at the finish line…and eating some tasty crepes from Mod’s afterward. (Cheering can be hard work too!)
Today, kicked off with a gorgeous sunrise (although yesterday’s was better) and hopefully this will mark week one of exploring some of the great hiking trails in Tulsa. It is also the day of choosing the artwork to go up for sale on Etsy. (Don’t worry, when that gets all set up, I’ll let you know!) This beautiful fall Sunday has also been seen a bit of work go into a new business I’m working on getting up and running. All of that to say, what I really should be doing is cleaning my house, and getting my list ready to go to the grocery store. Talk about productive procrastination…is that even a thing? I think that should be a thing, because I’m really good at it!
Till next time,
This word reminds me of a poem my Grandma Joye wrote. She used to read it to me, every time I was at her house and it rained. Truthfully, I didn’t mind the rain there so much. It was a great opportunity to sit on her big covered front porch in the swing. I still always sleep best when the rain sings me a lullaby.
It was so dark when I arose
I didn’t need to look to see
The Rain remains, and I suppose
Another day is lost for me.
Sometimes, to spend a day inside
Can be the greatest thing to do.
A time to think and dream or hide
From duties somewhere calling you.
As grudgingly I settle down
And try to concentrate and think
Through dreary thoughts there comes a sound
A dancing, happy, snappy “plink.”
I’ve chosen the remotest place
Where there should be no noise real soon
But tiny raindrops on the flu
Plink, plank a spanking brand new tune.
Softly, tiny gentle drops
Were brining me their melody
Delightful and refreshing plops -
In dancing, rain-time harmony.
Each one has gone to so much pain
To leave such happy note so free.
I’m heading straight out in the rain
So they can play “Plink, plank” with me
‘Til next time,
As most people who know me will attest, this is not the time of day I prefer. Don’t tell them, but sometimes I like to get up really early, especially this time of year when the air is cool and crisp. Arming myself, with a super-cozy sweater or quilt and a cup of tea, I’ll sit out on the porch as long as I can, just to listen to my corner of the world come awake.
Oh yeah, I’m familiar with this feeling. It is nice to put a name to it.
I’m often accused of this. As I see it, there is nothing wrong with optimism as long as it is balanced with a good dose of realism. Looking for the best possible outcome as long as you can plan for the reality that you’re not always going to get what you want gives me a bit more enthusiasm, my smile a little quicker, and helps me look forward to my day.
“Play it f@#%in’ loud!”
― Bob Dylan
I’m in a mood today…I want lots of punk rock played loud enough that if it were any other day, you’d be worried about the speakers. ScotsFest begins in Tulsa tonight, and a friend flies in from out-of-state today, and tomorrow we’ll all be there for the music, food, shopping and of course…adult beverages. (This time, I know in advance…1 glass of wine = 1/2 a bottle…last year I did not see the sign.) At least we can be responsible(ish).
This all puts me in a mood. I want to dance. I want to sing it out at the top of my lungs, even if I don’t know the lyrics.
However, this behavior is frowned upon in public places…especially offices, so…can you do it for me? Pick your favorite song and crank it up, sing along! I’ll be sitting here with my earbuds in place, trying not to sing out loud.
First up on my playlist…hmmm, I think…The Clash…or Flogging Molly…or…I’m gonna need a playlist today. Any suggestions? What’s your favorite song?
‘Til next time,
P.S. Dropkick Murphy’s just got added to the playlist…
Okay, not really the opposite of me, but darkness isn’t my favorite. Yes, I may let my imagination run away with me more often than not, and there are things that you can’t see that go bump in the darkness. Maybe there’s a reason so many people are a little afraid of it. I’m just saying.
“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
I stumbled across a list of “banned books” on the internet…somewhere, and as I was looking it over, I realized a lot of my favorites, books that changed my life, are on this list. They changed my life for the better, books didn’t corrupt me or lead me astray, they opened my eyes, made me more compassionate, more empathetic, more tolerant of people in the world. I’ve never read a book that made me a worse person, but I’ve certainly read ones that made me a better one.
Personally, I go to lists of banned books to find something to read when I’m not sure, so a lot of these I’ve read. A few, I’ve reviewed here for you. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is on the ALA’s frequently challenged or banned books list for 2013-2014, and so is Looking for Alaska by John Green, both of which are wonderful books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. There were others I’ve read on this list, but these two jumped out at me for being extraordinarily good books. You can go back and look at the lists from this and previous years along with the reasons the books were challenged and whether or not the school retained them. They also have a Banned Books Week you can support as well.
Banning books…that just…it just makes me mad. I’m putting a lid on the Rabbit Hole now, stepping down off my soapbox, and opening the floor for discussion.
Do you think the people who challenge these books have actually read them? Tell me about some of your favorite books. Did you parents ever stop you from reading something? What was it?
‘Til next time,
The time of year will soon be on us that I love the most. When the evenings begin to stretch out, the bugs start to leave you alone, and I can sit out in the evening and just breathe it all in. This makes me think of twilight spent on a porch watching the light fade after the kind of day you know you never want to forget.