A New Year

While I like the concept of personal improvement through self-evaluation and goal-setting, I find New Year’s resolutions to be entirely pointless. But having said that, I have a somewhat lengthy list of goals that I intend to work on throughout this year. And since one of those is essentially to blog more1 I’ll be chronicling all of that right here. Of course, I fully intend to continue my normal posting of whatever strikes my fancy because I’m the first to admit my life is hardly thrilling and a daily account of such is going to be mighty with the boring. Nevertheless, I figure this is as good a venue as any to hold myself accountable for the goals I’ve laid out for myself. Which is not to say I’m going to be rigid about this and expecting to accomplish every darn thing by year’s end. I’m thinking of all this as more a road map for stuff I want to do and, well, I’ll take stock as time goes on.

So, here goes:

Job — I need a new job and that’s all I’m saying on that. :-p

Fitness — Since the pain issues are behind me2 I’ve let my yoga fall by the wayside. I would like to get back to some yoga each day, but for now I’m striving for a few times a week at the very least. Especially on days where Uschi and I don’t get out for our marathon walking.

Photography — I’ve had my shiny red Nikon D3100 for over a year now and even though I’ve learned a lot I still feel like a total newb with it. I’d also like to invest in at least one new lens for it because I’m really lacking in zoom and macro features. Really, I just want to get more comfortable with my camera and continue to improve on my own photography skills (or lack thereof).

Food — Believe it or not I went almost all of last year without baking anything. There were a bunch of reasons for this, but it still surprises me because not only do I really enjoy baking, I find it a great stress reliever and I’m sure that first goal alone will require that in spades. Plus, I have so many cupcake designs I’ve been wanting to make! But even more than that I’d really like to make an effort to make more diverse dishes. Cooking for one tends to lead me to be lazy because it seems like so much effort for just me and since I don’t eat meat I find that I fall back on the same meals again and again even though I can make something else.

Writing — Academic writing is now a thing of the past[3.  At least not a thing of the foreseeable future!] which means from a creative standpoint I should be writing almost nonstop and instead I’ve found myself doing very much the opposite. Even blogging seems beyond me. And I would like this to change.

Books — No school means more reading!

Websites — Enough procrastinating! Either I get the sites updated (or off the ground!) or I’m letting domains expire and making space for hostees. Also, I think this place needs a bit of a facelift.

Gaming — Okay, truth is this is just to ensure my list had some fun in it, but also I got Animal Crossing: New Leaf for Christmas and I figure I’ll be playing that a bit almost every day for quite awhile.

Uschi — In an effort to work more with Uschi on her one major distraction, I’m hoping to get her enrolled in some training classes. I’m thinking eventually we could do rally obedience or even get her certified as a therapy dog. At any rate, I almost always have something to report on the shepherd so she deserves a goal catergory all her own. ;-)

Now this is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are the big ones I’ve had in mind. I’m sure I’ll tweak this as the year goes, but for now I’ll see how these all pan out.

  1. At the least I hope to blog more than I did last year!
  2. Well, there is still pain, but certainly not as extreme.

To Be Read, Take Two (2014 TBR Challenge)

Three days; three posts! What is this madness?

Anyway, I started this year with a bunch of more-or-less goals in mind. Since I was determined to not feel like a failure if I went through the year without accomplishing them, I specifically didn’t call them resolutions. This is handy because I definitely didn’t accomplish any of them, though, not for lack of desire or effort.

In any event, I definitely failed at reading books for the TBR Pile Challenge. And whittling down my to-reads in general. Of the twelve books on last year’s list (picked from some 300+ on my to-read shelf) I managed to finish a total of two. And, unfortunately, neither of those counted in the challenge since I never wrote a review for either. Oops!

This time, I plan to be less of a slacker and so without further ado I present a new, yet slightly recycled list for the 2014 TBR Challenge:

A sampling of my to-be-read shelf messily piled up1. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (2001)

2. Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen (1997)

3. Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton (2004)

4. Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire (2004)

5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2004)

6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)

7. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)

8. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (2004)

9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

10. Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihemmayer (2001)

11. Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

12. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2003)

Alternates: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954) and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (2011)

Another Semester, Another Disaster

For all that I love school, my post-secondary education has truly been fraught with one disaster after another. Honestly, if it could go wrong it’s most likely happened to me.

So, when I say that this semester is proving to be a raging nightmare of epic proportions, I want you to take my full meaning. Let’s just say, I am hardly fazed when I get a bill for tuition I’ve already paid or see I was double charged for my books or I’m hours away from classes starting and I’m still not officially in the course. Those kinds of things frustrate me, I admit, but they happen so often I almost don’t believe the semester has started unless something has gone wrong.

I’ve been shut out of registration for weeks at a time when I should have had the earliest chance to get into a class because my entrance exam that I had received results from in the mail was never recorded into the system. I had a hold on my records for a $600 phone bill that was charged solely because somehow the area code wasn’t input into my home phone and so it wasn’t considered my exempt permanent address’s number. You might remember that entire semester of courses I took in the Rehabilitation Counseling degree only to find out a semester later I’d been told by my advisor to take the wrong courses and was effectively shut out of my program for an entire year even though I had a 4.0!

I even walked across the stage to get my bachelor’s degree, only to get an envelope a week later declaring my lack of degree because I had allegedly not completed the required internship necessary for my program. Considering the internship I had worked actually was for double the credits needed since it also was being used for my minor, you can understand my confusion. The best part of that letter was the bottom, which proclaimed how dire the situation might be in all caps by stating that since I wasn’t registered for the next semester, graduation requirements had changed and completing the above list would not necessarily net me my degree.

Suffice it to say all the turmoil I’ve dealt with before pales in comparison to what I’ve been dealing with for the last month. Honestly, if I get through this semester with even a fraction of my sanity intact, I think the school should just give me my degree. What’s going on you ask? Well, I literally have no idea! Every office tells me something different and on almost a daily basis I receive mail that contradicts at least half of what I’ve been told. In short, I’ve paid for a semester of classes that I very well may not be enrolled in. It’s such a ridiculous mess that if it weren’t actually happening to me I would swear it couldn’t be possible.

CSUN13

Today is the start of the 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, or CSUN13 for short, and how I desperately wish I could be a part of it as it is the largest assistive technology conference for the blind. But at $500 for registration plus travel, lodging and food for a week that’s more than a little outside of my budget.

Anyway, I’m thrilled that there will be a presentation regarding WordPress accessibility, specifically focusing on themes. Though, if I were going I would likely be the most interested in the session on accessible e-readers.

The Whirlwind That Was January

  • Have been incredibly busy. One of these days I’ll elaborate, but the short of it is that it’s awesome and I’m having a blast.
  • Still managed to post and/or write something every single day and I am quite proud of that. Let’s see how another 28 days goes.
  • After deciding that the photo-a-day thing was just not going to happen, I’ve kept up with the photo-a-week and that’s going much better. I’m happy to say they aren’t all of the dog, but I’m sure to have many more as the year progresses.
  • Daily yoga starts today, however, I’m still fighting a sinus cold that is thoroughly kicking my ass so I’m not quite sure that it really will start today. But whenever it does I expect to start it off with a full 31 consecutive days.
  • I went the entire month and didn’t even finish a book. I’m honestly appalled and just a little disgusted with myself. But that first bullet has really been all consuming.
  • In a shocking twist, I found out there’s a school issue. I think I may just take this as a sign that classes this semester are not meant to be.
  • Uschi has been shedding like it’s an Olympic sport. Since she was so great for the groomer her first time, I’m thinking of sending her there again because I can’t seem to keep up with the fur and I’m at a point where I don’t know if I’m so much stuffed up from the annoying cold or all the dander.
  • Coming up: portraits, cupcake projects, book reviews, and I’m getting my hair did.