I try to be positive most of the time, but some days just hit you wrong and today, instead of going for the upbeat "it can only get better from here!" I have choosen to be grumpy because you know what? It can always get worse. Always.
But I've also decided to make a change in my goal list - originally I had 100 things that about me as a list, and that seems... counterproductive. I'd be better served with 100 things that make me happy, though that is a double-dipping goal, I think I'll go with that. Mostly because I already dwell on the things that piss me off enough, like the fact that "thru" is apparently main-stream spelling these days. Ugh.
And I really need to avoid FB, though I'm counting the latest drama as a win, but we'll see. A girl and I were in a discussion, admittedly one that is pointless and doesn't really go anywhere because no one is going to change their opinion, and I asked a rather pointed question, and suddenly work was overwhelmingly busy and she wouldn't be able to read/answer my question for a few weeks. Fine, but then when I see you reposting memes and pictures and responding to other things on Facebook? Yeah. You just couldn't answer me. It's a hollow "win", though. I'm still cranky, and I still don't have an answer.
It doesn't help that I slept so incredibly poorly last night and I have way too much to do. There was a craft swap I was going to sign up for, but I really shouldn't. I really need to get my ducks in a row and finish some longer outstanding projects here. Even though it would be fun... And it motivates me to actually do something, even if it's not the something I really need to be doing.... *whines* But I wanna!
I do hate journalism and media on the whole, with their need to sensationalize everything even if it means bending or obscuring the truth. I hate the people who write the titles to the stories even more (though they are not nearly as bad as the UpWorthy/Viralnova style titles, which are the absolute worst).
So why oh why do I occasionally read online news articles?
There's no great answer to that, though often the comments prove both more entertaining and more annoying than the articles. Maybe I am a masochist, but I do feel guilty if I have no idea what is going on in the world, so...
And occasionally two articles/comment sections collide and make connections and I end up learning something (not from the comments themselves, I'm not daft enough to believe what I read there, but it makes me do research).
This time, it's about food. On an article about Muslims, the comment section got off into food, with one commentator staunchly defending halal food and how much healthier Americans would be if they adhered to the restrictions. I have a brother-in-law who is Greek Orthodox and his wife has a ton of food allergies, and I know the fasting can be tough and if I had to stick to those sort of restrictions I'd almost certainly be a little svelter. So I figured, sure, whatever, we do eat a lot of crap. The commentator specifically mentioned the rate of diabetes, and how that could ask but be eliminated, though other commentators disagreed, citing people they knew who ate halal and were still diabetic.
(Yes, side note, a lot of people do not differentiate between the two types of diabetes, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and only considering the Type 2.)
This all pretty much rolled over my brain and would have stayed tucked in an obscure corner of my brain, had it not been for another article - one of those heartwarming feel-good stories - about refugees from Syria and them landing on an Italian island and the Italian people being good about meeting their needs, including halal food.
Now, while dark, unsweetened chocolate is not bad for you, it's a stretch (yes, even for me) to call it a health food.
So I looked up the rules for halal food, and found that most junk food doesn't actually violate the rules. No MCDonald's hamburgers, sure, but cupcakes and cookies and potato chips and pixie stix are just fine.
So how on earth would that help prevent obesity/diabetes?
But bacon and booze and no-nos under halal, so it's not remotely an option for me, since clearly I need the booze to read the news comment section without my brain exploding, and bacon... it's bacon. 'Nuff said!
I have a love/hate relationship with coupons. In theory I love them, in reality, we don't get along. I am not organized enough to use them properly and I refuse to run around to ten different stores to get the best price. Mostly, I buy whatever is on sale at whatever grocery store I am at and call it good. This also works because I don't actually plan meals in advance - unless you consider deciding at the grocery store on the way home "in advance", which it is technically, but...
This haphazard system works well for me, so why, you might ask, am I trying to use coupons? Simple. It's my stupid 100 goals of 100 things each thing. One was to use 100 coupons. Which is also problematic as I do not get a paper, and don't want to install "special printing software" (aka tracking software) on my computer. So getting coupons is tricky. Don't worry, I'm not stealing them out of neighbor's papers or anything, I'm not that committed to the goal. And Target is helping me by giving me coupons each visit, so yay!
Anyway, I did get this Sunday's coupon insert, and decided to test-run a few out. They break down into three categories. Things I use but didn't need at the moment, things I typically use a different brand of, and things I really didn't need to buy.
First, things I buy but didn't actually need at the moment:
Batteries - $1.00 off $7.99
Shave gel - $1.00 off $5.59 (it was a buy 2 coupon)
Fiber One bars - $0.50 off $5.88 (another buy 2)
Halo clementines - $0.50 & $1.00 off $7.99 (manufacturer and Target coupons)
Second, things I typically buy different brands of:
Liquid soap - $1.00 off $2.49 and $0.35 off $1.47 (generic may have been a hair cheaper)
Deodorant - $2.00 off $2.99 (I don't really care, brand-wise)
Excedrin migraine - $2.00 off $3.64 (makes it about genetic price)
Razor - $4.00 off $7.99 (definitely worth it since it came with 2 extra cartridges)
Yogurt - $1.00 off $4.67 (for 5, other brands are cheaper)
Thirdly, what makes it all not worth it, those things I didn't need:
Snack mixes - $1.00 off $6.10 (for 2)
Sara Lee snack cakes - $1.00 off $2.69
Honey Grahams - $0.75 off $4.98 (also for 2)
Overall, a "savings" of $16.60, though I spent $11.02 more than I might have. Not that we won't eat the snacks, or that I haven't bought them before (except the Sara Lee, which I haven't bought before), but... Would I have bought them that trip? I certainly wouldn't have bought 2 of them! Still, good to have snacks at work, it is cheaper than the vending machine! We'll see how this goes...
Yes, I love a challenge, always have. Hence my ridiculous goal lists and whatnot. But a lot of ideas/challenges barely make it out if the starting gate before fizzling out. And normally, then, no one ever heard about it. But today you will, because... well, I haven't written about anything in awhile and I can't think of anything else that isn't... actually, I can't really think of anything else at the moment. And if there's one thing I've learned, it's to do what you feel inspired to at the moment. Otherwise you just lose interest partway through and... hey, look, a bunny!
So today at lunch I was over at the library, randomly browsing shelves. I pick up a lot of movies that way, some good, some terrible, some just baffling (I'm looking at you, The Fairy). And of course I randomly grab craft books. So there I was, staring at the cookbooks and pondering the "open a cookbook to a random page and make whatever the recipe is" challenge while holding a book on cocktails (gotta admit, it would be an easier one than, say, ending up making a Turducken) and I thought "I really should close my eyes, pick a cookbook, THEN randomly pick a page." Talk about upping the randomness! I could be mixing a drink or making a kebab, you never know. Then I thought, but I know roughly where, on the shelf, the cocktail books are... maybe I should start at the end of the row, close my eyes, walk a distance, and THEN pick a book. That totally sounds reasonable!
And then I thought...
I should do that for every row in the library! Random books! Expand my horizons!
Luckily, the end rows at my library are biographies and history, my two least favorite things. Otherwise, I might still be laboring (albeit briefly) under the illusion that this is a good thing.
I was going to give myself one veto and the ability to skip things I found objectionable or completely useless (childcare/pregnancy books), but still. Still a silly silly idea.
Because even though I randomly grab movies off the shelves, I 1) read what they're about and probably put back twice as many as I check out and 2) movies aren't nearly the investment that books are, time-wise (plus, I tend to be doing other things when I'm watching a movie, so even a bad movie is not a complete waste of time).
And I had to remind myself of the time I decided to be "well-read" and attack the classics I'd never read before, and how miserable it made me to be reading something I didn't really want to be. And that's when I decided to say "suck it" to all the reading lists out there that claim these are the books you *must* read. I'd rather be happy than someone else's idea of well-rounded.
And so thus ended the challenge before it was begun, and I think it's for the best. I will still challenge myself to try new things, but in a more controlled and discerning manner.
Well, I say mostly because I'm SURE I will change some things as the year goes on. Pages that don't work, or get destroyed, or messed up... I can already think of a few I will probably make a little better, but they're in there now and will work for tracking purposes.
I already almost had one goal completely yanked out from under me, but very thankfully I found a work-around, which will work better than the original. Unless that fails, too.
And I'm staying flexible on one goal - I will EITHER get to level 100 on Farm Heroes Sage OR complete 100 more levels of Candy Crush Saga. Neither is looking good right now. But I've been sick.
(Oh, I don't have the flu NOW, but probably did before and now it's a sinus infection. Yay!)
So, here it is, goal book 2014:
(oh my goodness, I've been doing so much Craftster Blogging I almost forgot my HTML! Eeep!)
I have three goals competely done, pictures of those to follow at some point. For now, it's medication time (which means, yay, ice cream, since the antibiotic just might upset my stomach!) and bed time. Yes, it's 9pm on a Friday. Shut up, I've been sick. :/
Oh, also got to see an ambulance fishtail in front of me on the road driving home. Whhhheeeeee, ice! The Mustang made it, though it had an average speed of about 20 mph and it took twice as long as usual to get home!
Still working on my 101 things in 1001 days list, and I've got 60 listed. Now I'm poaching off other people's lists because I'm out of ideas. Sadly, most people's lists fall into one of two categories: "I already do that on a regular basis/have accomplished that" and "but we need to be realistic, here".
The first group invariably has things like "bake a cake" and "donate blood" and "get married". I'm not saying these aren't good goals! They are! ...but not for me, and I'm looking to steal ideas. So those won't work, and this is probably the vast majority of the goals I see out there. I think in part because the vast majority of people who blog these lists are young.
The second group has goals that probably aren't reasonably attainable for me, usually revolving around travel. The likelihood of me visiting several foreign countries over the next three years is... not high. So those are out.
There are fairly few person-specific goals out there, though you see them now and again (one person wanted to take the LSAT, for example). I'd like most of my goals to fit into this category, which would mean very little to others looking for inspiration (for example, we got a new shed, but haven't taken the old one down... how many other people out there have two sheds?).
Lastly, a lot of financial goals. I tried to jump on this bandwagon, with the "31 days to fix your finances" thingee. I got stuck on step two, where you had to list 10 goals. Now, mind you, I have goals coming out the wazoo, but none that seem relevant to this task. I kind of came up with 8, but they weren't very solid. Mostly, when asked where I want to be in 20 years... I see myself here, albeit with a new car and a paid-off house. And a slightly improved house. And more retirement.
But then they started asking you to really quantify things, and my brain went all jelly. Sure, if I just keep making house payments, the house well be paid off. And I rather plan on just sliding from one car payment to another. But then it goes all pear-shaped. What home improvements? How much more retirement? And I just stop wanting to think about it. I've never budgeted, I'm not good at it. I don't think that will change. I'm smart about not spending money, I don't get into debt and I save, but I'm complete rubbish at planning. So... I guess those goals aren't for me, but I may adopt the "donate $10 for every goal not accomplished to charity" one just for motivation. Not that I won't donate to charity anyway, so it probably won't be much motivation, but, hey, it fills a slot.
Lastly, still sick, which is making me more stressed and cranky than normal, which sucks. I'm stressed because my house is a pit because I'm too tired to clean. I'm stressed that I'm not doing any crafting because I don't have the energy. I'm stressed about other things because I legitimately should be concerned but there's nothing I can do. I don't like stress. Step one of that exercise was to list your five core values, the things you want most in life. My list? Happiness, serenity, comfort, fun, fulfillment. Nothing high-adrenaline, I'm not a stress-junkie in the slightest. Hmmmm, maybe I should have included health on there...
In better news, I've actually completed three items on my 100/100 list! Yes, they were easy ones, but hey, a finish is a finish. I'm going to upload pics of the pages as soon as I sort out picture hosting (I was using my LJ account, but I let my paid journal lapse, and at some point Flickr merged with Yahoo and I don't know how to get into my old account... so I suppose it'll be Photobucket).
Enough rambling, things to do, people to see, stresses to internalize!
I was really hoping that I would get another "100" goal out of this book, but there are only 94 exercises, and I've done a lot of them. I could easily do 50, but I'm not going to have done that much work on the rest of my goals just to abandon them. I'm really down to waffling on the last 10-20. I've thought up more than enough, but some are dumb and I just don't know about them. Okay, a lot of them are dumb, but that's okay. Some of the dumb ones I like! Others, not so much.
I thought maybe I could use the exercises in the book under a "trying something new" category, or if I could find another book/webpage with similar activities, well, then...
Anyway, I'm going to work my way through the book, starting with the things I already do (some on a regular basis, I could just record a random instance, I suppose, but...others are definitively done):
7. Learn basic html (done)
11. Mail something (though I may try the "packaging optional" variety - who wants a squash?)
12. Floss (yeah... kinda do that already, though the rider in that page was to have factoids to share, but I think I also have that covered)
18. Make your holiday gifts this year (I do some of that every year)
20. Help someone (fun fact, today at lunch I helped an old lady get the door to our building open - the non-slip mat in front of the door had bunched up and was blocking it from opening - but I'd also say I do this on a fairly regular basis)
21. Build something out of natural materials (hello, fairy cottage!)
29. Delight a neighbor with home-baked cookies (do my library work neighbors count?)
32. Compose a list of things you want to accomplish this year (... I think I have that covered)
33. Smile at a stranger every day (well, already blew that one this year, some of the days I was sick I didn't leave the house, and no one there is a stranger! Still, in the spirit of it, I not only smile at, but usually talk to, strangers every day I run into them)
40. Become curious, ask more - and deeper - questions (I think people would rather I shut my yap and stopped adding questions, most of the time...)
44. Wake up early and watch the sun rise (this time of year, I get to work before the sun is up, and my window faces NE. I not only see the sunrise, I'm often blinded by it)
... skipping some, like #21 and 29, since in the spirit of the book I can just do them again, right? But, seriously, #81 is "sweat", like I'll have a choice in the summer!
84. Meditate for a few minutes every day (I really stink at meditation, and it's already day 7, darn...)
... Hmmm, and some of these others, well, I'd rather devote an entire bog entry to them. So, tell you what - other than the first paragraph, and if you have any other, similar books to recommend... we can just pretend this blog entry never happened, okay?
(So much for keeping my wits about my during this illness!)
Okay, being miserably ill on New Year's Day is not the worst thing that could happen. I know I have a roof over my head, a job, am not worried about post-holiday credit card bills, and a fairly unending supply of tea at my disposal. There are many, many, many people worse off. But it's still a sucky way to start the new year.
(Parenthetical break-in: I do so hate it when people complain about people complaining about "trivial" things - yes, there is a point at which the complaining is mock-worth (see: requesting a city to rip out a replacement tree because its leaves did not turn the exact same color at the exact same time as another tree) but for the most part, if someone is having a frustrating day, say they dropped and broke their cell phone or their computer crashed or their car broke down or something... it bothers me when people say "well, at least you have food/water/shelter/don't live in a war-torn village with no medical supplies" etc, etc. Just because other people have it worse does not mean you have no right to vent your frustrations about a bad day. End parenthetical break in, continue with first-world problem whining.)
Goals for last year were not met. I think I might have hit 41% or my goals, I haven't done the final tally. I still haven't finalized the 100 goals for this year. Some are very, very frivolous, and some I might still replace (does that count? Should I be allowed to replace/come up with new goals partway through the year? I don't know) but most are very concrete and produce/create something. Even my "health" goals are actual goals, instead of something like "work out more". I will never run a marathon (stupid lungs) but I do have a series of exercise-related goals, like holding the plank position for a specified period of time, being able to do a certain number of situps, pushups, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, and... something else I can't remember right now. Blogging is also up there on my list, between this one and the ones I do over on Craftster.
Last year saw me complete 190 craft projects and watch close to 100 movies, but to the detriment of my reading. I have not done nearly as much reading in the last two years, mostly because you can't read and craft at the same time. I'd like to do more reading, though I've had a hard time getting into books lately. I think I'm making poor book choices.
But I will not be making much of a start on my goals today, because of the aforementioned illness, which I realized packs a double whammy as I already have pre-paid plans for the weekend. So a speedy recovery would be really, really nice.
I'm off to eat my weight in clementines, drink a Boston Harbor's worth of tea, and zone out in front of the telly for the evening... I hope your 2014 is off to a better start!
If you want one, speak now our forever hold your piece! Msg me with your address if you're not sure I have it. Nothing terribly special this year, I'm still playing catch-up from two years ago... O.o
I have a million things I'm going to get done next week (yay for holidays). Well, I think I'm going to get those things done, but the reality is that, most likely, I will get sidetracked. And that's because, for us unorganized people, there's no such thing as "just doing one little thing". So every one little thing turns into a chain of multiple, tangentially related things and pretty soon it's like that game Centipede and you run into your own tail.
For example: one of my big goals is to reclaim my art space on my desk, which is currently covered in a truly impressive mound of detritus. So I just need to clean it off, right? Yeah.
So let's start with the chair to the left, which has a picture on it. It just needs to be hung up. This requires tracking down a hammer, nails/hooks, and probably a step stool (hey, I'm short). By the time I gather up all that, it's silly not to hang up the other pictures I have that need it too, right? But those are in with others that need to be framed, which I should do because, well, I'm already invested and it'll probably change where I hang the other pictures and I don't want to have to do it twice, yes? Clearing one thing off a chair has now led to a multi-hour job that probably required a trip to the store. Go go gadget efficiency!
Now, in front of the desk is a box that needs to go up in the attic. Easy, right? Just pop it up there. Except... I really need to get the Christmas stuff down while I'm up there (or it'll be Christmas eve before everything is up again) and that means digging it out and while I'm here I really, really, really need to clean up/sort through stuff. As long as it's cold and the wasps are gone, and we really need to get the louver off the roof... man, where did the day go?! And should I just set up and decorate the tree while I'm at it? And then stow the box under the pool table... after I vacuum the carpet... and find a place for that black rug... and clean up the plants... crap.
Okay, okay, back on target. Desk. Floor to the right of the desk. The bellydance closet has exploded. I need to contain that, I need to make those bags for the skirts, find another place for the wrapping supplies, and find something to organize it. Okay... move the wrapping supplies to the guest room. I could stop there, I don't need to finish reupholstering the couch and rocking chair... leave it... leave it... and those books in the way, the ones you were going to release on bookcrossing... toss them to the side! Good, good, stow the wrapping stuff and go go go!
...go make those bags for the skirts. That means digging out fabric and sewing machines. And there goes the rest of today. Hopefully only one day, if I don't get sidetracked by all the other things that "while I'm on a roll sewing..."
So next, I have a dresser that might work for organizing... in the other attic. So jockey the cats around, get help getting that down, and hey, presto, organized costume storage! Sort of. I'm sure it won't work out that well, but it'll be a decent start. Maybe enough of one that I have room to clean off my flipping desk, yeah?
Now... what to do with all the crap on my desk?!