June 2 - December 28, 2018

June 2, 2018
» state of my projects, 2018 edition

Back in late February, I outlined some points for a state-of-my-projects post:

Lingering health woes have let me
depleted of both energy and motivation
So, I'm setting the bar low for projects for this year
But I do need to do something
my unoccupied mind wanders nowhere good
and it doesn't help that aimlessly scrolling through FB and twitter
Although I'm setting the bar very low, I'm daring to list a few plans for this year.
THE NEXT DAY, after a FEW MINUTES of concentrated thought, I had several GOOD STARTS toward an AMBITIOUS PROJECT that's been on the backburner.

Through the years, I've often repeated that "the more I *have* to do, the more I get done." As hinted at above, my claim proved true yet again. Both energy and motivation returned with a vengeance because last month, I wrote the following to a friend:

I don't know about you guys, but if I expected a slow down to catch my breath after the "holiday rush," wow, was I sadly mistaken. Mom's sudden downtime derailed not only my schedule but my emotions as well. Also in January, one of my two doctor visits spurred two other trips to obtain my new glasses. Plus, my car came due for an oil change, and then I returned to the auto place one week later because it was past time for the transmission service. Doing [my sister's] and my income taxes took longer than any year in recent memory because [our state] added a new form that I had to research/learn. Since early April, my regular grocery store is out of commission for two months due to remodeling, so I'm going out of my way to another in that chain (Aldi). And on and on...

Lately, when I'm pouting over the burden of my never-ending plans, I remind myself that I could honestly skip quite a lot of those To Do's... but then I admit that I *want* to do them. When I reframe from have to to want to I feel better. I'm prioritizing, and after I get those priorities done, I have such a sense of accomplishment.

Following up on my website plans from the previous post (February of last year), I accomplished all of the numbered items... at least to some degree. ;) In a week or two, I plan to watch the next episode of The Young Riders and type up my comments, but most of my website work for the near future will be focused on a certain layout redo.

For the Real-Life items, I continue to work on this:

* assessing my belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options

... and it seems like I do this every two months:

* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects

On some level, I must believe that if I can put my computer files in order, organizing my thoughts will surely follow. XD

Alas, between -- frequently unexpected! -- new undertakings and my so-called recurring To Do's (described on the page below), my thoughts rarely remain "in order" for very long!

December 28, 2018
» a year in review - 2018

1. What did you do in 2018 that you'd never done before?
got prescription glasses (and subsequently hated/refuse to wear them), went Christmas caroling in late January, saw a nesting Canadian goose, called wildlife control to remove a lizard from indoors, attended a work "lunch and learn," followed a YouTube video for minor car repair (replace broken gear shift button), tried Florajen probiotic, tested the computer's Read Aloud feature, used cardamom scented lip balm, polished silver jewelry with a baking soda paste, ate at the cafeteria at work, had a praying mantis set up camp in my window, watched "American Pickers"

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2018, inspired by Psalm 119:37, my goal was to seek out and spend more time on what "adds value" to my life. My initial idea was that a small effort could suffice if need be, but opportunities quickly abounded. Both personal and collective Bible studies provided eye-opening reviews of fundamentals. I reevaluated what I'm watching. And listening to. And posting on-line. I took on new challenges, and decluttered significantly in several areas.

And I've only scratched the surface, so I'm repeating this as a goal for 2019. Another goal (borrowed from a song by Lauren Daigle) is "Look up, child."

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5. Where did you travel?
only to local cities that I've visited before

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
As I recall rounds of layoffs and narrowly-obtained funding, I'm thinking perhaps a job with a more positive long-term outlook!

7. What date or event from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
receiving unexpected affirmation that a certain person IS hearing my attempts to encourage, after all

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
By devoting one hour each week for several months, I cleared out a filing cabinet's worth of embarrassingly obsolete papers.

9. What was your biggest failure?
repeatedly accepting the lies my feelings tell me

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Both. In February, chills, aching, and general cruddiness prompted me to leave work and kept me home the next day. Months later, something like plantar fasciitis flared up after I spent my birthday on my feet, hiking and shopping; for the next three days, I limped because my right heel hurt when it touched the ground.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
yard renovations that should make that three-plus acres *slightly* more manageable

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
my friend Angela and her husband Tim, who answered my Facebook request for help with a lawn mower

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
In this season of emotional overload, whose didn't? :\ Arguably, I stewed the most over people who are not reciprocating the courtesy that I show them.

14. Where did most of your money go?
household expenses

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Rearranging some furniture catapulted my main living space from painfully inefficient to excellently functional. The transformation is doubly exciting when past failings had convinced me there was no solution. This time, I refused to accept that: "There has GOT to be a way!" I prayed for wisdom before giving it some thought -- and minutes later, I had a floor plan.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?
maybe "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran because of the daydream it inspired

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? hyper-reactive. I'm elated by positive words, and floored when challenged with negative implications.
Older or wiser? older. Yee-IKES at the deepening crows' feet! :(
Thinner or fatter? about the same
Richer or poorer? about the same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
had interesting tasks at work

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
gave up when making an effort to be heard

20. Did your heart break?
Repeatedly. Usually from obsessing over lingering perplexities.

21. How did you spend Christmas?
opened gifts with my mother and sister, took pictures of presents and decorations, opened a can of soup for lunch (Mom wasn't feeling well), started -- a to-me-from-me gift -- "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way" by Lysa TerKeurst, worked on these questions, made salmon noodle casserole and steamed asparagus for supper, watched DVDs

22. How will you spend New Year's Eve?
Possibly going to work. Later, the fam and I will watch DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping. (At least, we'll attempt to sleep, because the neighbors usually go overboard with fireworks.)

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I still don't watch any current programs, opting instead for DVDs. This year, I expanded my collection to include a past (forgotten!) favorite: The Partridge Family.

24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
Two favorite new recipes: butter bean soup, crock-pot cornbread dressing. Grilled Chicken Gyros from Taziki's Mediterranean Fare. Knock Your Sprouts Off bread from Aldi. And the nutritional advice of adding variety to your diet "so that you don't miss anything important;" that phrasing hit home with me, and so I'll keep tweaking my far-too-repetitive menu.

25. What was the best book you read?
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom. It was borrowed, and I returned it... and found my own copy. At a thrift store = woo hoo!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The dirt-cheap clearance at 2nd and Charles provided a boatload of background music from genres that are -- refreshingly! -- less familiar to me. :thumbsup:
Also, I rediscovered "Dream Time" by Darryl Hall and identified some lyrics that have echoed in my head since the '80s.

27. What did you want and get?
my mom recovered significantly from one health condition and received a good (i.e. "no surgery for now") prognosis from tests for another

28. What did you want and not get?
Despite paring down my To Do list to focus on priorities, I repeatedly found myself anxious, constantly noticing things that still need attention. Finally I understood my dilemma: multiple worthwhile endeavors versus severely limited time and energy. So, accepting that some good things will have to wait and some will go undone, I must (prayerfully!) decide and move forward.

29. What was your favorite film?
There were none. I only saw Avengers Infinity War, and it came dangerously close to turning me against all things Marvel. :glares in the direction of the producers:

30. What did you do on your birthday?
took the day off, computered after a waffle+sourdough toast breakfast, went shopping in Madison, hiked at Rainbow Mountain Trail, got lunch, went for auto maintenance (and new tires), took pictures of my purchases (including the tires), thanked the well-wishers at Facebook, and finished the day watching "The Lone Ranger" and "Monk"

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if I hadn't so often overanalyzed all enjoyment out of an activity

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
still primarily "business casual," with emphasis on warmth for days cooler than 95 degrees ;)

33. What kept you sane?
As I shared with a friend: "Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised." [Hebrews 10:35-36 (CEV)] I have that on display at work to remind me that being brave and patient are two specific ways [to] exercise faith. And "keep on" and "learn to be" reiterate that it's an ongoing process, and so when we stumble, we can start again.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Crushable characters in whatever DVDs I'm enjoying continue to catch my eye, with this year's -- increasingly retro! -- top three being: Mr. Sheffield from "The Nanny," Keith Partridge from "The Partridge Family," and Zorro from "Zorro Rides Again" (1937) .

35. What social or political issue stirred you the most?
One-sided media bulletins remain a concern, and spark nostalgia for the time when reporters "...didn't seem to have an agenda, or try to make anybody look bad, or good." They simply read the news and then we would all make up our own minds about what we thought.

36. Who did you miss?
my former co-workers, Annette and Jean, plus my dear friend and mentor Miss Elsie

37. Who was the best new person you met?
my work neighbors Francie and Sharon who could teach a class on being nice

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
As the year started, circumstances spurred some (long overdue!) upgrades in certain domestic routines, which have continued. I also find my passion cooling for quite a few long-time interests... and I'm not even sad about it. :shrug:

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
More like a lesson-still-learning: "So many times we pray for a change in situation, but God is using the situation to change us! It's a hard lesson...but it's worth fighting for--to let God mold you into the person He made you to be. Sometimes it's the adversity that brings out the best in us." @mandisaofficial

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Lay down what's good and find what's best." ~ "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz


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