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.

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.

Busy, Busy

Generally when I am this swamped with things to do I’m usually stressing out beyond belief. I’m happy to say I’m about as far from that as possible. I mean, there’s stress, but it’s not making-my-hair-fall-out-giving-me-migraines kind of stress . . .  it’s just an expected kind of stress and I know almost none of you know what I’m talking about and for that again I apologize.

However, that said I have given some serious thought to my (non-)resolutions and given my incredible load right now it’s just unrealistic to expect all those things to happen. Yes, those are all still priorities; yes, I want them to be habits; and, yes, I realize this seems like quitting. But it’s not. Fact is all three of those are doable, but all three at one time plus everything else going on is likely to kill me. And truth be told trying to cram it all in is making most of those things particularly unfun, which is exactly the opposite result I want.

So, I’m revising my plan. I’m going to try and get yoga in as much as I can throughout the rest of this month, but I’ll start my daily routine push on February 1st, which is coincidentally when my instructor has set a challenge for 31 classes in 31 days. And I’m going to lay off the daily photograph and try for a weekly photo each week. I’m horribly displeased with most of the “just shooting these because I have to” images I’ve gotten. I just don’t have the time to really think of doing anything more than randomly snapping something and that’s not really helping me improve my photographic skills; it’s just frustrating and kind of a letdown. Writing, however, I will continue to work on daily, but I’m going to reevaluate this position when I start back on the daily yoga because keeping the pain in check is really the priority for me when all is said and done.

Oh, also, getting this house organized and cleaned. It’s disgusting up in here. Plus, I really want to get some cupcakes baked and decorated; I owe way too many people some at this point.

The First

If ever there was a busier day to try and cram in three new daily habits it would be today, but with this here post I have officially completed all three. I won’t say I’m entirely satisfied with how any of these played out, but this isn’t about achieving the best results. Maybe later on in the year once I’ve accomplished the habit-building I can start being more critical. For now I’m proud to say that I crammed each of these things in despite many other priorities for the day.

I thought I had a pretty solid system for maintaining myself in terms of accountability what with announcing my intentions yesterday, blogging about my progress, and participating in some challenges related to these activities. But this morning I discovered one other source that I hadn’t expected: Uschi. She observed me while I prepped my usual spot and went through my 40-some-minute routine. And she was very deliberate about it, too, stopping her relentless bone-gnawing anytime she noticed me shifting position. At one point I thought she’d wandered out of the room only to cause her to rustle her collar as I tilted my head to peer into the dining room where she was sprawled out under the table. Her extreme attentiveness actually concerned me as I fully expected her to pounce on me when I was through, but I’m thrilled and relieved to say she is still keeping her good post-yoga behavior. Sometimes she really surprises me with how much she’s matured . . . And then she flings herself at me and stands on her head, so you know, it’s all relative.

Yesterday Brooke texted me, wondering if Uschi had yet destroyed her new toys and I was pleasantly shocked to admit that all were still basically intact. So, of course, hours later she tore into one of the plush toys, dug out its squeaker (which she’d already broken), chewed it to bits and ripped out most of its stuffing. We’ll see how long before the rest face a similar fate.

In totally other news, there is still waiting going on, but it might be coming to an end soon. You cannot imagine my relief. Well, unless you’ve been texting with me for the last few weeks and then you’re probably more aware of how neurotic I am than you actually cared. I have really patient and awesome friends, by the way.

Anyway . . . Happy New Year!

Non-Resolutions for 2013

I don’t really believe in the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Goal-setting and self-evaluation don’t need to be limited by a calendar date and just stating your intentions of doing something isn’t really actively changing anything. However, like prior years I do have some things I plan for the coming year. Specifically I have three things I am going to attempt to do each day:

  1. Practice yoga for roughly an hour.
  2. Post on this blog and/or write something.
  3. Take a photograph.

I will confess that I don’t intend to force myself through any of those because that just might be crazy. My goal is to have a habit of doing each of these and both being accountable for and the actual act of daily repetition will hopefully work towards doing that.

All of these things are important to me in different ways and to varying degrees I’ve let all of them fall by the wayside. I’m striving to be more comfortable about my abilities as a photographer and get more creative with things that I would like to shoot, which has been something I’ve already started working on but not to the frequency I’m proposing. My writing has taken a supreme backseat to lots of other things over the last year and thinking about it the last time I really felt like writing was when I was blogging daily throughout 2011. Of course, the issue with that was I had less desire to blog, so I’m incorporating the two together and we’ll see where it goes. The yoga is the most disconcerting of this list because I was actually doing really well with practicing daily. I managed to spend a week at my father’s even and not miss a day and yet throughout this past month I’ve been very sporadic and lazy about it. Considering it’s the only thing that’s been of any help with my pain issues this is something that is totally unacceptable.

As luck would have it, there are a few relevant challenges to help kick start my 2013 plans. I’ll natter on those more specifically if/when I decide to officially participate, though I have already confirmed one I plan to partake in that isn’t specific to the things listed here. I am very intrigued by all of the challenges because essentially it’s providing a support system and by extension another layer of accountability. However, there’s been a few events over the last several days that have dampened my enthusiasm for one specific challenge I was thinking about and I’m feeling more than a little conflicted about participating.

In any case, 2013 is looking to be an interesting year!