Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Month New Goals

So, I've blogged consistently every day last month and am pretty proud of myself. I covered a lot of things and realized a lot of things about myself. One such thing is I'm really bad about making, and keeping, goals. The good thing, though is that I do not feel like I need to berate myself for not fulfilling all my goals. For example. Last month I made the goal that I would run a mile, however, after many attempts I have decided that I'm going to give up running. Every time I try to run, for the following day or two my knees and ankles scream at me. I've determined that perhaps I will never run a marathon and that is okay. I still get out there and walk and a nice clip and I will never stop making the effort.

So with that being said, I'm starting this month off with some new goals and am going to try  really, REALLY hard to meet them. The first goal is to set myself some mini-weekly goals. I have taken the idea from my friend East Coast Andrea to document out on Sunday what she plans to accomplish in the upcoming week. Here is an example of what she does:
So, since tomorrow is Sunday, be on the lookout for what I have planned!!

I also came across the following, which I'm going to try write down just for myself each evening:
I'm trying to focus my mind, body, and attitude towards positivity....

Friday, August 31, 2012

August Blog Challenge Day 31

Today is the final day of this challenge and I am to document what I have learned over the past month...

I really couldn't tell what I've learned as I do not think that I've had any great aha moment. I have remembered a lot about myself and who I have been in the past. I have determined that I have some great dreams of who I want to become. So, I guess that would be what I've learned.

I have realized what I want to be or rather how I want to be and in being able to define that I can make definitive strides towards growing into the person I am meant to be. I think I have identified the path to follow and need to now write down tangible steps that I can accomplish.

Thanks to you all for tolerating me on this mini voyage of discovery and stay tuned as I continue to document my journey.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Blog Challenge Day 30

Today's challenge is to write a letter to myself in 20 years. This should be interesting....

Dear Older Andrea -

I hope that you are a Crone...
I hope that you are able to truly embody what it means to be a Crone. I hope that you have embraced this archetypal figure and are truly a Wise Woman. In doing some cursory research I came across the following from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD
Who is the Crone? She is the most dangerous, the most radical, the most revolutionary woman in existence. Whether in fairy tales or in consensual reality, the old one goes where she wants to and she acts as she wishes; she lives as she chooses.... If you weep, the crone will move closer to you. Laugh, and she wants to hear the joke. Dance, and she wants to dance with you and in you...More so, she has help for the hurt heart and for the one poisoned by bitterness, and she can pull the thorn from the breast; she can tattoo your scars with flowering boughs. This is the crone.
I hope that you have found, accepted, and expanded the creative being that is inside you. I hope you have also found the spiritual being in you and have found the path that you have been searching for oh these many years. 

On a less existential level, I hope you are healthy. I hope that you have gotten a handle on your addictions. I hope you are walking and moving regularly. Have you relocated to the high desert yet? I hope that you have and you are wearing flow-y, artsy clothes and sinking into the woman that you have always been. 

You should be knocking on the door to retirement. I am taking the steps now so that you will be comfortable then, so I hope it is in place and enough. 

Most of all I hope you are happy. Blissfully, smile on your face all the time happy. Whether you are alone, with your soul mate, or part of an accepting and loving community. I hope that you are happy!! 

Oh, and I hope you have lots of dogs. 

Love, Me. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August Blog Challenge Day 29

Today's challenge is to write a letter to my 18 year old self.

Dear 18-year old Andrea -

You are about to embark on a really wacky life. I'm going to give you some advice that your now much older self would like for you to know and follow just to make MY life a little easier. Okay, so technically this is actually going to be an enumerated list that you need to keep with you and check off when completed.
  1. Find some vegetables that you like and eat some daily. Some that you would actually like are broccoli, if cooked correctly, carrots with hummus, celery with ranch, raw spinach in a salad with some tomatoes. Try these things they REALLY are tasty. 
  2. Start an exercise routine. It doesn't have to be anything too strenuous but just walk with purpose for 45 minutes to an hour every day. It'll become a habit for you and we won't struggle to workout in our later years. 
  3. When you get the feeling of worthlessness or over bearing sadness, find a counselor or friend to talk to (or call Mom). Don't go try and drown that feeling in cheesy bread and ice cream. That doesn't help. 
  4. Do NOT get the second and third piercings in your ear. They aren't worth the pain and in about two years after you get them you won't ever wear an earring in them. 
  5. Don't bother making that appointment with Dr. Starr. You aren't going to go into Journalism. You don't like interviewing people and you will not enjoy it. Look into the Anthropology department, you would find that interesting. 
  6. Join and PARTICIPATE in more activities. Expand your social surroundings beyond the girls in the dorm, while they are a lot of fun in the moment your Freshman years ones all sort of fell away. 
  7. Stay home on November 5, 1988. Just take my word for it, you do not need to go out to the club on that night. Period. 
  8. Laugh more. Laugh often. Do not take life too seriously. 
  9. Get a job while on campus. Invest the money you make into a savings account and don't go blowing it on a whim. We'll be much more comfortable if you start saving now. 
  10. Tell your parents thank you more. They are giving you a lot by paying for your education, so show them some appreciation. 
  11. Spend more time with you sister and get to know her better. Don't be such a bitch to her. You two grow up and will have to rely on one another some day, why not make that today? 
Okay, younger Andrea, that is probably enough advice. Know this, as an adult life does get better. There are challenges every day but face them head on and don't cower from them. Write your own life story and embrace it. You are special and wonderful and beautiful and goofy and the important people are going to love you for who you are so you really do not need to put on a mask to hide that. If people aren't willing to love you as you, then they aren't worth having in your life. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August Blog Challenge Day 28

Today's challenge is to document 5 books that I would recommend and why. Hmmm, this might be tough. I have read, and forgotten, so many books and even though I have a lot of books that I really loved, I'm not certain they would be 'worthy' of recommending to others. But, here are some books that I can recall that I think at least some of you out there might also appreciate.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Classic novel. Great story. If you have missed reading this, you are a fool. I think everybody should read this book....and see the movie.

2. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore - I have spoken about this book in the past. It is just one of those books that made me laugh out loud. I'm sure a lot of people would find it offensive as it is a little sacrilegious, but it is still funny.

3. The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco - I first read these books in my "Mystery as Literature" class in college. Again, some may find them walking the edge of sacrilegious, but I don't care. They are suspenseful and intriguing and keep your mind occupied while you are engrossed in them. They would probably fall into the "can't put down" category.

4. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - This book, and the whole Thursday Next series of which this is the first, are great books for literary aficionados, and others as well. I love the play on words and ideas through out this series. However, it is also just full of fluff and nutter, which I also love.

5. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - This goes back to my childhood reading, obviously. But I love this book and think it is one of those great books that teaches you to accept creatures no matter what they look like and to not take a blanket view of somebody just because of your history with people "like" them. You should accept everyone as an individual. I mean, even the rat turned out to be pretty decent....oh and of course I cried at the end.

Monday, August 27, 2012

August Blog Challenge Day 27

Today's challenge is to post a picture of myself as I was last year and how I am now and then document how I have changed since then. Well, I'm not going to do that....My Blog My Rules!...besides, I think there has been more than enough pictures of me posted in the recent past.

I will, however, document how I have changed since last year. 

I will start off with sort of recapping my year. This time last year I was the Team Lead for my current team. I was traveling to Washington DC every other week and failing miserably in both my work and personal life. I took the leadership position thinking that it would be a smooth hand off and that I would actually be productive in the position. However, due to circumstances that I really do not want to hash out here, nor do I really think I want to ever revisit them, I was actually a pretty ineffective leader. And, because of the travel that was required, I was coming home worn out and unhappy. The weeks that I was home were unproductive on a personal level because I was so very stressed about the work situation. Luckily, come November/December time frame decisions were made that led to my demotion (see Celebration!!). It took a while for all the moving parts to click into place and for the stress to be removed from my plate, but eventually it was. 

My Dad got sick, though he is now on the mend, but that struck home with me that my family is so very important to me and I need to work harder to spend time with them. I mean, I moved back from California so I would be closer, and yet I still don't see them as much as I should. 

I then had the opportunity to do some wonderful traveling through Europe last spring, which was so amazing and I will not go into detail here as it has already been widely documented. 

In the recent months, I have made an effort to 'find myself' and in doing this I have found a church that I like going to (which is really exciting to me because it has been decades since I have found any meaning in organized religion). I have started exercising again, even though I will probably never reach some of my earlier goals, I am at least trying to get healthy. 

In recent weeks, okay this past week, I have found myself back up in my studio doing some quilting and quilt designing, which I haven't had the energy or drive or spark to do in so long that I truly can't remember when. I'm excited about creating again, and that feels good. 

I'm starting to think about what I want out of life and trying to find that balance between being a good worker bee and being the artist that I know is somewhere inside me. 

So, back to the original question...what has changed in the last year? 

A lot and not enough. I am coming to grips with who I am and who I can be. While I am still pretty self-deprecating, I'm learning to love myself again. I cry...a lot...and mostly at good things. I admit that I'm sad and alone sometimes but I don't let it get me down, much. I'm happy, though, that I am alone because I do not have to consider somebody else when making plans, or not making plans. Don't get me wrong, I would still love to have somebody in my life and I'm still looking, but if it doesn't happen, I think I'll be okay with'll just mean that my niece and nephew get to take care of me in my old age. 

So, to wrap it all up with a pretty bow..... I'm continually trying to change and improve myself. It is a never-ending process of self-discovery and awakening and acceptance. Oh! And I'm no longer as stressed as I was and in general, I'm pretty happy. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August Blog Challenge Day 26

Today's challenge is to discuss 5 books that are currently in your "to read" stack. Well, I have A LOT more than 5 books in my "to read" stack, so instead, I'll post about the books that I'm currently in the process of reading, and yes, I am reading more than one at a time....

1. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman - I am so in love with this book, and to be totally honest with you since I am writing some of these posts ahead of time by the time you are reading this post I will have already finished this book.

2. The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor - This is a spoof on the Twilight series as well as the radio program Lake Wobegon by Garrison Keillor. It is an okay book, don't think I would recommend it to many folks, but I am enjoying the light read.

3. The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide - This is providing me some knowledge in preparation for my next path.

4. The Minstrel Boy by Laura Vosika - Entertaining book. It is the second in the Bluebells Series, which nobody has probably heard of as it is something that I just stumbled across. Again, not something that I would highly recommend but I am enjoying the read.

5. Teaching the Dog to Think by Kimberly Davis - This was a recommendation from my Mom and it too is interesting. It is helping me to better understand how to work with Leo to, hopefully, make him a better behaved beast.

All of these books are on my Kindle, which is where I have most of the books that I read anymore. Perhaps I need to go visit my shelf of books and select something from there to read next....