17 Hopes and Plans for 2017

It’s been an intensely introspective last couple of weeks with all of the challenges our family and friends have been facing, much of which has turned the upcoming year into one with more uncertainties than we’d ever hoped for. Nonetheless, it’s imprudent to face a new year without some sort of plan for things you want to achieve. In light of that, here are seventeen things I’d like to work toward this year (subject to change, of course, were I to actually get pregnant):

  1. Complete my weight loss journey
  2. Lower my cholesterol naturally
  3. Do one BIG hiking trip that we travel to do
  4. Participate in Reach the Peaks in September (a 12 mile hiking challenge that covers all 5 peaks at Hanging Rock State Park)
  5. Transition back to a mostly vegetarian diet (I’ve been struggling with this for several months now and am mostly only eating poultry and the VERY occasional fish)
  6. Change my workouts to be geared more toward hiking than running, and stay consistent with them.
  7. Find a better-paying writing gig (although I am having fun over at #AmReading)
  8. Knit more
  9. Get back to cooking
  10. PURGE the house and start fixing and upgrading things
  11. Begin pursuing the adoption process and, if that’s the way we are supposed to go, be as far along in it as possible by the end of the year.
  12. Begin cleaning some of my stuff out of Mom and Dad’s (I feel kinda guity for contributing to their clutter in addition to all of my own)
  13. Read a devotional and Scripture and pray every day (I’m currently reading Jesus Calling)
  14. Say “no” more often to things that bring me stress
  15. Read more BOOKS (currently reading: Decision Points by George W. Bush)
  16. Apologize less and work to stop feeling responsible for everyone else’s problems
  17. Stop picking my arms

Some of these will (hopefully) have to be put off until 2018, and if that happens, I will be unbelievably thrilled (and I’ll have a whole new set of goals). I also know they’re a bit nebulous and vague.  What can I say…there’s less chance of missing the mark entirely when the target is so big.

In other news, two years ago (2015), one of my resolutions was to stop biting my nails. Two years later, I think I can say I’ve officially conquered that bad habit.

nails-15-16

And yesterday:

nails-2017

I know, my cuticles need some work.  Small victories.

2011: A New Year!

Today is going to be a good day!  It’s MLK day, so I’ve got the day off, and the morning is being spent like this:

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I can never pass up a Shellikins on the lap; it’s a rarity for me, since she usually wants to be on Joey all the time.  So, it dawned on me that, because things were so crappy, I’d neglected to post the resolutions I finally came up with for the year.  Here we go!

  1. Further My Education; (1) Graduate, (2) complete PhD applications
  2. Improve my health, fitness, and weight.  (1) reduce takeout to once a week, and make it last two meals if possible.  (2) Plan meals one week in advance. (3) eat mostly paleo and reduce refined carbs, (4) incorporate exercise every day!
  3. Lead a more peaceful life/reduce stress:  (1) Yoga at least once a week, (2) read Bible and pray every day, (3) have one fun outing with Joey every week, (4) establish morning and evening routines, both for myself and with Shelli, (5) incorporate 15 minutes of cleaning the house per day.
  4. Be a better friend/more thoughtful person
  5. Tighten back up financially, (1) the aforementioned reduction in takeout, (2), meal planning (getting our grocery/toiletries budget back down to $50 per week)

In an effort to improve both #2 and #5, we bought a Wii with the Wii Fit Plus package!  It was a bit of a steep up-front cost, yes, but when we did the math, we’ll save about $300 over the year over our memberships to our gym, which just isn’t convenient to us and doesn’t really fit our schedules.  I prefer to workout in the morning, but to do that, I have to get there at 5 am, right when the gym opens.  As much as I’d like to, I just can’t get myself up at 4:40 to be ready to leave at 4:45.  However, I can get up at 4:55 to do thirty minutes in the morning before I get in the shower!  Or even get up at 5 to do 30 minutes since it won’t really hurt to be five minutes later.

Here’s our home-screen:

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Initial thoughts:

  1. I do not appreciate that the little voice goes “Oooh!” when I step on the balance board/scale.
  2. It hurt to see my BMI and have the little voice tell me I’m obese and to imitiately change my Mii (avatar) into the chubby girl you see above.
  3. It’s TOTALLY awesome that you can enter your pet!  Shelli is just under 8 pounds, by the way, which is very healthy for her, so we’re not trying to change her weight with it.  However, she did NOT appreciate being held so that we could get her weight.  She got pretty pissed.
  4. It’s FUN!  It’s really nice to have something to work toward, and the games are great for a workout.  When I played it at my friend Katie’s house over the weekend, I was really sore the next day from the workout that I got…but it doesn’t usually feel like exercise because it’s a game.  Good stuff!

In other news, my prospectus draft has been submitted and I’ve gotten feedback, so the next step is revision and resubmittal, and then hopefully it’ll be good enough for submission to my committee for the meeting.  I’m feeling positive about it now rather than overwhelmed and my advisor is very involved in my progress, so I don’t feel nearly as lost.  Middle Eastern Lit has been interesting so far; I’ve read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, which was thought provoking and made me uncomfortable with my own thoughts/beliefs and assumptions.  That’s the sign of a good book, my friends; confronting uncomfortable realities isn’t a bad thing.  Too many people shy away from it.

That’s all; Maury is about to come on!

Melanie and the Case of the Missing Good Attitude…

Yep, today was the day…the day where the good mood endorphins and the emotional high of the New Years Resolutions comes to a crashing halt.  I’d been so together for the past to weeks…I’d been keeping focused at work and really making an effort and trying to keep things in perspective.

Today, I let myself get overwhelmed and the bad attitude came right back.  I thought it’d take longer, but it was like a comfortable old coat…so simple to ease back into.  I’m trying a new organizational system at work and it’s great, because it helps me to be more efficient, but it requires a lot of multitasking and there’s no discernable finish anymore, so there’s no feeling of accomplishment.  And the tasks can pile up really fast, which they started to do.  Add a few meetings to that mix, plus the start of the semester and trying to look over the coursework for my new classes, and it was a recipe for disaster today.

Cabbage and rice?  Epic dinner FAIL.  Bleh.  It was pretty tasteless and just kind of gross.  And we have a whole pot of it.  So, I had a grilled cheese sandwich and some grits.  I didn’t really want the grits, so that was another fail.  And, I misjudged the amount of cheese I was going to need for the week so Joey is going to have to go back out and get some. 

It’s not a big deal…we only spent $38 yesterday, so we’re WELL below the budget, which is awesome, but I’m just ticked at myself that I talked this big game about meal planning and didn’t bother to take a good look at the amount of cheese we’ve got and plan accordingly.

And I punked out on the gym again. 

All of these things are no big deal…just get back on the horse tomorrow…plow through the work and do what I can do…read the stuff I need to read for class and start to organize myself…find some way to repurpose the cabbage fail…and go to the gym tomorrow.

meh.

New Year’s Resolutions: 2009 Update and 2010 List

So, let’s see how I did with my goals for last year:

1. To get close to my goal weight by July/August (which should be attainable)  I didn’t make it to my goal weight and ended up gaining ten pounds.
2. To run a 5K in April/May (which I’ve already started training for)  I realized that I hate running.
3. To buy only thrift-store clothing this year (which I’ve been doing since April of last year!!)  I was almost totally successful here.  I bought maybe three articles of clothing and they were on clearance from Kohls!
4. To finish knitting my sweater by March  *sigh*.  Nope.  I did get the front and back knitted up.  Just need to seam the neck and do the sleeves.
5. To learn to knit cables (I’ve already got the pattern and recipient in mind!!)  I did learn to knit cables!  But I didn’t do much with it.
6. To give 100% homemade Christmas gifts this year (and not buy anything, even the packaging!).  I was almost 100% successful on this, and the two gifts that I didn’t do homemade were donations to charities in memory of someone special, so I didn’t feel that it was a failure.
7. To sell a craft this year, whether it be on Etsy, or at a local craft festival, or whatever…  No dice.  School took up most of my knitting time this year.
8. To shop at a farmer’s market this year (local produce, here I come!!)  I did this a few times, and I want to make it a regular habit in the new year!
9. To keep the house more organized and get rid of things when we don’t need them anymore (Started this one on New Year’s day!!)  Big no here.  The house still looks like a totally awful wreck.
10. To go camping!  Twice!  Once in a tent in sleet!

 #1 was my most disappointing failure this year…since I tend to focus too much on the negative, it’s hard for me to look at the list and be pleased that I managed to do most of the things on there.  But, you know, I think it’s the first year that I did get so many things accomplished, so I’m trying to give myself a little slack.  There’s a whole new year to accomplish everything that I can!

So, without further adieu, here’s my 2010 list; the topics are in keeping with my major blog topics:

1.   Food/Fitness:  This year, I want to examine my dysfunctional relationship with food and heal it.  I want to get a better idea of the things that work best for me, not food blog “fads” or plans from magazines…I want to figure out what foods are bad for me personally and what ones make me feel best and focus on coming up with a way of eating that highlights the latter while minimizing the former.  I also want to become one of those people I envy when it comes to exercise; I want to become someone who likes exercise and who looks for ways to fit it into everyday life and makes it a priority.  I want to love it.

2.  Frugality:  We definitely need to renew our focus on frugality this year.  I think that, partway through last year, we became a little ambivalent toward being the people who forego things to save money and we slacked off.  This year, I want to have a renewed focus on saving money, on cutting out takeout food and making more things from home and on looking for ways to cut expenses and make a little more dough here and there.  I also want to grow some of our own produce this year, whether it’s just a few things in pots or something larger-scale.

3.  Knitting:  This year, I want to learn to do colorwork and incorporate it into my projects this year.  I also want to incorporate cables into my work this year.  I really enjoyed the handmade Christmas project, so I want to do that again this year, but have individual gifts for everyone in my family and to incorporate color in those.  I also want to finish this freaking sweater this year:).  All I need to do is seam the top together for the neck and pick up stitches and knit down the sleeves.  I should be able to finish that by the end of January.  I want to start my Christmas knitting earlier so I’m not scrambling too badly in December.

4.  Simple Living:  I want to move toward a much more minimalist lifestyle.  I know that I’ll never be one of those “100 possessions” kind of people, but I also know that there’s a lot in this house that isn’t necessary and that we can remove.  I want to get rid of stuff, examine what stuff really matters, and not feel so obligated to keep so much stuff for sentimental reasons.  I’ve been so happy since I quit the band in August, so I’m not going to take on any new responsibilities right now since Joey and I have so much going on.  I want to refocus on making things from scratch…I find that, when I try, making things from scratch really isn’t that much harder than getting the “convenient” version.

Those are my big things for the year…with #1 being my greatest focus.  I can’t afford to let that one go anymore.  I don’t feel healthy and I don’t like it.

Here’s to 2010, and I hope that it brings all the best!