Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Goals? How'd I do?

Well, the goals didn't do so well this year. Work got so busy and that took over my life it seems. That has got to change in 2016. I've got a plan for how that's going to happen, but more on that later.

When I review these goals I smile at how ambiteous I was in January.  I'm changing it up this next year since I've discovered my goals have stayed the same for years. So are they really goals? They just feel like what I like to do every year.

At any rate, let's look at the goals.

  1. Discontinue random purchasing. Purchasing only allowed when the item has a purpose.
  2. Quarterly, review all supplies and purge. Donate to local charity.
  3. Have photos scrapbooked within the same quarter they were taken
  4. Begin putting together planned pages for heritage photos. Have 6 pages done by march. 10 by June, 15 done by Sept and all done by Dec
Right so scrapbooking... This really took a back seat this year. I struggled with whether I want to, or should, continue to do this hobby. No one every looks at the end result. And then I remember I love it. I love the creative outlet. Not to mention all the crap I have.

I did stop buying random crap - mostly. There were a couple of shopping trips in which unnecessary items were purchased. But truthfully, work got so busy I didn't have the time to surf the normal scrapbooking sites I used to. So less was purchased. That's progress, right?

The purging happened a lot. Not sure it was quarterly, but I found when I was feeling like I wanted to stop this hobby, I purged. Always a good thing.

Heritage pages got no where. And I'm behind with regards to scrapping the Spain trip and Philly and  - well a lot.
  1. 52 books
  2. Read all 12 book club books
  3. Read 1 photography book
  4. Read 1 PM book
  5. Read 1 finance book
  6. Create a list of books sitting around the house and read those books - Done
Total books read: 28. Not quite the 52. And that 28 include the book club books. I didn't read all 12 book club books, but oh well. No photography books read. No real PM books read - though the CIPP books I read for the CIPP exams I think covers that. I started the finance book. Does that count?
  1. 6 photo trips with themes
  2. Do 80% of the monthly challenge lists on CaptureYour365
  3. Read the Orange books on your TV stand
  4. Begin using LR more
Um, yah. Photography definitely took a back seat. I don't think we got out but on one photo stroll this year. Wait, did we? Or was that last year? Oh hell. If I can't remember then I certainly didn't take enough photos.

I actually tossed the "orange books" on my TV stand. I started flipping through them and found they were pretty specific and nothing I needed, or wanted to read.
  1. 52 week challenge
  2. PAY off credit cards
  3. By year end, up 401K percentage
So 52 weeks challenge is done. Where is that $$ going? Undecided this year. I did a little charting on my budget and found WAY too much $$ going to credit card payments. Didn't pay them all off - thanks to the Spain trip and Philly. But they're better and closer to being paid off than they were last year. 
  1. Koko Fit Gym 4-6 times a week
  2. Focus on healthy eating habits by planning weekly food
  3. Lose 50 lbs (3-4 lbs/mon or 1 lb per week)
  4. C25K - should you try to run a 5K this year?
Health was a big focus again this year. Down 22 lbs (well I was. Who knows after being in Tucson for a week.). Koko Fit was a big part of that. I think on average I only got to the gym 2 X a week - on average. Some weeks were all 7 days and some weeks none. Clearly didn't hit the 50 lbs loss. That was pretty aggressive. Next year my plan/goal is 30 lbs. 
  1. Write 3X a week
  2. Work through the blog topics on file
Hah! 3 X a week. That's funny. Three times a month is more like it. 
Give Back
  1. 1 random act of kindness a week
  2. Donate to food bank quarterly
  3. Consider volunteering
This is a harder one to track. I definitely gave to the food banks. Especially this time of year - I find the food drives easy to donate to.

Random act of kindness? Hmmmm - I'm sure I did this. I often buy the coffee for the person behind me. I've let people with fewer groceries go in front of me too. Those aren't what I was thinking though. I'll have to think about this one for sure.

I did decide this year I'd donate to five charities in December. Since I don't actually buy Christmas gifts for the family, I decided to find 5 new and different charities. So far 4 have been donated to go. I'm saving that one for New Year's Eve.

Next year I'd like to donate to one new/different charity a month, but think it's more likely to be a quarter.
  1. Send a note to 2-3 people once a month just because and telling them how important they are to you.
This is the one I'm most sad about. I let my job get in my way of living my life. My work / life balance is way off and I've got to make a change there. I have no excuses other than well, work has me busy and when I get home I just want to rest. 
  1. 2 road trips during the summer to somewhere new
  2. Philly in October
  3. Europe in April
This was the easy one. All these were done! Check!
  1. 50 new recipes tried
  2. Learn to cook dad's biscuits flawlessly
  3. Maybe try gma's cinnamon rolls
Another one that made me laugh at how much time I thought I'd have when I put this in the goals last January. Definitely didn't learn how to bake Dad's biscuits or the cinnamon rolls. I focused more on protein for the second half of the year, so the 50 recipes just didn't happen. 
Do one scary thing.

I don't think I did this one. While stepping on the scale is scary, that's not what this meant.  I'm going to have to rethink this one. I really want this to be part of my every day life, and yet my everyday life seems to be too busy to even remember this one. 
  1. PM classes for certification
  2. Photography classes
  3. Scrapbooking classes
  4. Cooking classes
  5. Privacy training
Yah so, none of these but the privacy training happened. I did read several articles regarding scrapbooking things...but that's kinda lame.  I feel like I did do a scrapbooking class, but I think it was last year that I'm thinking. At any rate, education needs to be a focus. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 In Review

I was thinking about the whole It's a Wonderful Life thing and how I didn't feel like I was really impacting people's lives.  While I may be no George Bailey there are things that happen in my life that wouldn't if I wasn't around.

For instance, credit card companies wouldn't get so much of my hard earned cash...

Ok, seriously though.  When I went back and looked at my year in review, there were a couple things that stood out that wouldn't have happened if I wasn't here to instigate them.

Vines & Spines Book Club
This book club would never have been created had I not invited a bunch of my favorite girls out to dinner. And had we not started discussing books we liked. This year we read some great books, some crap book, and some books I didn't read at all.
  1. How to  Build a Girl, Caitlan Moran****
  2. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern *****
  3. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doer**
  4. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty*****
  5. A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah - hated it.
  6. The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty****
  7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin*****
  8. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins *****
  9. The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve
  10. Killing Lincoln , Bill Reily *****
  11. The Pilot's Wife, Anita Shreve
  12. Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls ****
There were two I didn't read: The Weight of Water and the Pilot's Wife. Not because it was the same author, just because it was bad timing for me to actually do any reading.

My favorite of the year? Oh gosh. Probably The Night Circus and Killing Lincoln.

The one I hated was A Long Way Gone. Couldn't even get past the first hundred pages. Blech!

Side note: I read 52 books last year. This year, including privacy books, I've ready 28. Ugh.

 The other activity that wouldn't happen if I wasn't here is Dinner club. The Landlord, Blueberry and I find a new restaurant every month and try it out. The "rule" has been that you have not been there before.  We had some hits, and some misses this year. I love doing this though. Getting an opportunity to try new places seems like it's always what we want to do, but never do.

January -Sear Grill
February -Prime Steak House
March -Volterra
April -Indigo Grill
May -Best Wok in Bellevue
June -Amaro
July -Big fish Grill
August -Chanterelle
September -Hugo's
October -No dinner club...too much work
November -Bottle and Bull
December - Some Thai restaurant in Lynnwood. I missed this one too due to work.

So what else happened in 2015?

Well, I know I didn't blog as much as I wanted to. A total of 51, well 52 after this one, blogs were written. I didn't even cover big events that happened this year. Life got too busy I guess.

Whoa! It was another year of fantastic travel.
  • Spain and the Canary Islands - The big trip was the cruise around the Canary Islands. SIL and I spent 5 days in Barcelona, then hopped on the ship to cruise. I need to go back to Barcelona. Such a beautiful place. 
  • Philadelphia in October - Went to Philly for the 3 Day and spent a couple days before checking out the city. LOVED it! 
  • La Conner and those damn Snow Geese - SIL and I took TWO trips to see those damn snow geese. We saw nothing. What we saw weren't geese, but swans. Maybe this year I'll give it another shot.
  • Road Trip with the Niece - Deception Pass, Mt. Vernon area, other areas up there checking out the back roads. 
  • Tucson - Like every year. Tucson for Christmas

Sunday Dinners
Still doing these darn things. Chose to not have one in November, then ended up having an impromptu Rib Saturday Gathering. The biggest Sunday Dinner was in December. 15 people here. I had originally had 17 coming and was sure I wouldn't fit them all in the place, but alas, 15 were all we had. Two were at other folks places. Maybe this next year we'll do more traveling Ssunday dinners.

Other things:
  • Went to see Pompeii at the Pacific Science Center. LOVED it. 
  • The Niece graduated from Vet Tech School - she ultimately passed the exams too and became an official Vet Tech. So proud of her.
  • 3 day - of course
And that's pretty much it!

Friday, December 25, 2015

It IS a wonderful life...Or is it?

Last night the MomUnit and I watched the Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." You know the story. Man wishes he was never born and an angel comes down and shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. Man realizes life is great and poof...he's back to reality.

I started thinking last night what would be different if I had never been born.

And you know what's sad? I came up with nothing.

I've done nothing "amazing" enough in my life that would seem it would change anything if I wasn't born.

So I started thinking about the people in my life and what their lives would be like without me.

And I really couldn't imagine it. Not that I think I'm such a fantastic person, but I couldn't, literally, think about what life would be like for them. I mean, I wouldn't be around to know anything about their lives...and would their lives be any worse or better without me? Hard to say. I'm not always a ray of sunshine, you know?

By the time I was dosing off I came to a conclusion...perhaps the world would be different without me. Maybe a better place. Maybe a worse place. But the truth is, I'm glad I'm here. And I really don't want to go anywhere anytime soon.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Happy December

I was sitting at my desk on Tuesday and couldn't believe it was December 1st already. I know time flies when you get older, but good heavens this year went by fast!!! I'll be 47 before I know it.

There feels like there's a lot going on lately, but nothing overly exciting to really discuss. So instead I thought I'd fall back to this little list.

Its anyone's guess these days. I bought myself an Amazon Echo. And oh boy do I love it!!! Because I have Amazon Prime the list of music playlists and stations I can listen to is pretty extensive. I find that I now have A.D.D. over music though. As soon as a playlist plays something I don't like I say, "Alexa - play 80's One Hit Wonders." or something similar. Yes her name is Alexa. 

She also does things like tells you the weather, will find a recipe for you, tell you jokes, and she'll put things in your Amazon shopping cart - scary, I know.

Alexa! Play Classic Christmas Songs!

I didn't read last month's book club book (The Pilot's Wife) I was reading instead a plethora of study books for the CIPP exam I was scheduled to take on the 15th of December. But alas, I moved the date out to January 15th. I was getting too stressed and it just wasn't worth it. So I moved the date.

In addition I'm reading the December Book Club book called The Glass Castle.  I'm about a third through it and am hoping it gets moving pretty soon. So far I don't like any of the characters and am going to do my best to stick with it so I can at least participate in book club this month. Well, besides drinking wine during book club.

You may remember that I've moved my eating plan into a high protein / low carb eating plan through a local clinic that specializes in overweight people. According to my scale I've lost 22 lbs. According to there's I've lost 18. But I weigh at the end of the day and fully clothed on their scale, so I figure I'm somewhere in the middle.

When I started this I went to sit in a BOD POD to get my body composition. It wasn't great, but we knew that. This last week I went back - 3.5 months in. We expected all the right numbers to go down. And they did. My % of fat is down 5%, which don't be impressed by that, it's not a lot - it's something but there's a lot to go. My fat weight was down. But my muscle mass was also down! Not the right idea. Turns out I'm not eating enough protein. While the working out and eating relatively good has been a benefit - I'm not getting the 109 g of protein that I need to keep the muscle I'm creating when working out. It's only down slightly and completely recoverable. It was good to see that because now I can adjust and know exactly where my issues are. So I went out and bought some protein powder. My goal is to have at least one meal a day of protein powder - essentially I'll be having this for breakfast. In 4 months we'll go back and check again. 

My holiday decorations. The Friday after Thanksgiving is my tradition to put up the Christmas tree. This year it was also the Apple Cup. So I had a bunch of friends over to watch the Cougs totally blow the game and then decorate the Christmas tree.  The demons cats love it. It's like I put up a big sparkle-ly toy for them. The first night I had 5 ornaments brought to me in bed. Those ornaments have been moved up. I bought some spray that is supposed to be gross to cats so they won't chew on the tree, instead it's like it had cat nip in it. All they want to do is chew on the tree.

This time of year it's all about thinking about next year and what lies ahead. I recently had my one year anniversary at work and was disappointed in myself that I hadn't gotten around to writing myself a letter after I started. See each year I write a letter to the future Jenn. I read that letter on New Year's Day and think about what I accomplished, and what I didn't expect etc. Then I sit down and write my future self another letter. I wanted to do that for work to see just where I think I would have been and where I am. I'm pretty sure I would not have anticipated being the value to the company that I feel I am now (and that I'm told I am - which I love). So I started a letter to my future work self and am looking forward to getting out a letter to my future personal self.

And with that I'm going to go study for the CIPP.  Heading to the Winter Beer Festival today with some friends and then tomorrow is the company Holiday Party...oh goody. So I need to get some studying in while I can.