Monday, January 28, 2008

Staring Down the To Dos

I've been on a bit of an unexpected blog-cation (as Meg Cabot would call it). I'm going through a phase, I think, where everything seems a bit too much like work. Clean dishes? Of course that's too much work. Cooking a healthy dinner? If it takes more than 30 minutes to prep and heat, waaay too much work. Walking on the treadmill and breaking a sweat? Even at 2 MPH, too much work. Typing a coherent and interesting blog post? Yup, too much work. Even getting a good night's sleep seems like too much work these days.

I don't know what my problem is, but I can feel myself gradually coming out of it. Obviously. I'm here, aren't I? This may not be a coherent or interesting post, but at least I'm typing. I'll work on coherent and interesting later. (There's that dirty little four-letter word again.)

I guess it's probably the feeling of being overwhelmed that has me practically incapacitated. I get this way when things are coming at me from all directions. I'm trying to get myself back on track with healthier eating and an increase in exercise at the same time that I'm flooded with freelance opportunities, at the same time that I started a little experiment that I plan to write an article about, at the same time that I'm refinancing my house, at the same time that I was traveling to Minneapolis, at the same time that I'm dealing with some family stress and drama, at the same time that I'm giving up caffeine (of all things!)... The list goes on and on, and just typing that all out made my heart race and my stomach tighten. It's really been a hectic few months. Thankfully most of the activity has been positive, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like curling into a ball in the corner and waiting for it to all go away.

The good news is, I can see the light and I'm learning to tackle things in pieces rather than staring down an ever-growing pile of To Dos. Turns out it's easier that way. The big pile actually gets smaller, one check mark at a time, go figure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Free Cereal

A while back I wrote a little something about a Web site I'd been turned on to: Eat Better America. The site is doing a Resolution Revolution right now, promoting the big effects that little changes can have on your lifestyle. If you're looking for something to keep you motivated to stick to your resolutions a little longer, check it out. And while you're at it, why not sign up for their newsletter and get a free sample of Fiber One Cereal. I know Fiber One doesn't sound all that exciting. It's not Cocoa Puffs or Frosted Flakes, after all. But it's not as bland and boring as the name might suggest. I use Fiber One for a lot of different things:

  • Crush it and use it to bread chicken tenders
  • Mix it with low-fat yogurt for a quick, crunchy breakfast
  • Make Krispymallow Treats
If none of those suggestions sound palate pleasing, then try any of Eat Better America's Fiber One recipe suggestions. We could all use a little more fiber in our diets! Plus, the newsletter is filled with recipes and great tips on living a healthier lifestyle. When the motivation to stick to a healthy diet wanes in February, this just might be the help you need to stay on track for you New Year's goals. Give it a try, you just might like it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Things in a New Year

So it's the middle of January already - seriously, did somebody wind the Universal clock too tight or what? I'm doing my best to be present each day, to stop looking forward so much and focus on what is right in front of me, but that doesn't seem to be helping time slow down any.

2008 is starting off in an incredible way - particularly in my writing career. By the 11th, I had lined up a new freelance client. With any luck, I'll see plenty of future business from this contact. I'll be doing some participatory research this month for a health-related article I'm planning to write. My non-fiction critique group reviewed my third personal essay last week, and I really think I'm getting somewhere with this series. And I've got some crazy ideas rolling around in my brain about what direction to take this blog in...we'll see where that goes.

On a personal note, my birthday may not have been a blast, but I'm looking forward to my trip to Minneapolis this week. Lots of great things planned, and it's always fun to be with Tasha. Girl talk, shopping, nights out on the town - whatever we do we always have a good time.

A new year, a birthday, and interesting career opportunities. And American Idol starts this week! I've always liked January.

And speaking of new things, check out Bleeding Espresso's new site. She's very proud of it, as she should be. Stop by and say hello!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Just Another Day

Saturday was my 32nd birthday.

I ran errands. I mailed my sister's birthday card. I filled a prescription. I treated myself to an Asiago cheese bagel with Sun-Dried Tomato cream cheese at Panera Bread. I went to the bank to deposit a check. I stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a sweater de-fuzzer. I watched I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

Is this what birthdays are going to be like now that I've entered my 30s? I promised myself this wouldn't happen, and yet there it was: my birthday, just like any other Saturday.

I did get plenty of birthday phone calls, including two singing messages (thanks Mandi and Tasha), and there were gifts, too, not to mention gift cards and birthday money. And My Love and I had dinner together (mmmm...sushi) and shared cake and ice cream. Still, I couldn't get past the plainness of it.

I'm feeling better about it today, but I moped around a bit yesterday. I always have such high birthday expectations, and they're very rarely lived up to. This is why expectations suck.

Thankfully, I have a birthday trip coming up in a week and a half, for which I have very high expectations. (Does anyone else see a logic problem here?) This trip must make up for the dullness of my actual birthday, as I'm sure it will. I'll be traveling to Minneapolis and enjoying several days with my dear friend (who will be celebrating her birthday while I'm there). Two birthday celebrations in one weekend. How could it possibly be anything but spectacular?

Here's to Happy Birthdays and living a year of purpose and passion! One dull birthday will not keep me down!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year's Thursday Thirteen

Killing two birds with one stone—Thursday Thirteen and my New Year goals.

Thirteen Things to I'd Like to Accomplish in 2008

1. Travel someplace I've never been before.

2. Finish the first draft of my novel and start the editing and revising process.

3. Send my three completed essays to five mainstream magazines.

4. Write two more essays through to a final draft and send them out, too.

5. Start and finish my first ghostwriting project.

6. Take my vitamins and floss my teeth everyday.

7. Be kinder to my body, mind and spirit.

8. (Re)build habits that will improve my health and well being: (a) pay attention to hunger signals and eat only when I'm hungry; (b) exercise 30-45 minutes 4 to 6 times a week.

9. Send birthday cards on time.

10. Send at least one hand-written letter or card a month.

11. Spend more time with girlfriends.

12. Read at least thirteen hold-in-my-hand books. (Books on CD don't count.)

13. Get more involved in my community.

There are so many other things I could have listed, but I like to keep my yearly goals realistic and attainable. If I accomplish just half of these, I'll be happy. And I'm sure other opportunities and goals will crop up during the year. They always do.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year-End Meme

I'm a little behind on the whole year-end review and New Year goals, I know. Honestly, it snuck up on me a bit. It seems like the end of 2007 passed me by in a tornado of happenings. Thankfully, I'm feeling like all of that end-of-the-year busy-ness will pay off in the New Year and beyond. As for the "2007 In Review" portion of the required New Year contemplation, this meme that I got from sognatrice over at bleeding espresso should take care of it. I'll be back soon to update you on the whittled down list of goals and objectives for 2008. It's gonna be a big one!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?

Bought a house; joined in on NaNoWriMo and wrote almost 39,000 words for a single story; got into a serious car accident

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

After reviewing my blog and any other places I might have stuck a list for 2007, it appears that no official goals or resolutions were made. I do remember goals to do more writing (check) and submitting (no check), maintain my weight and get back into an exercise routine (no check on either count), completing the first draft of my novel (partial check) and network more to increase freelance opportunities (check).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

One of my close friends had a baby boy (her third child) and so did my sister's best friend (also a boy and also her third).

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?

More focus on the things that I'm passionate about.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 17th - the day I signed the papers and became a new home owner

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

38,918 words

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not completing that first draft

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Minor injuries from the accident and minor colds

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My house

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

All those working passionately to make this world a better place

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I try not to let other people's behaviors influence me, but if I'm honest, Mr. President hasn't been on my Nice List for a long time.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The house, yet again.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Writing that book!

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?

Umbrella by Rhianna...If they played it once, they played it a million times.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

(a) I'd say the same; happy and hopeful; (b) Unfortunately, not thinner, not even the same size; (c) Richer, thanks to some job shuffling.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing, exercising, spending time with My Love and my family, making friends

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Watching television, procrastinating

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With most of my family in my hometown

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

I stayed in love, does that count?

22. What was your favorite TV program?


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

My mama taught me to never hate.

24. What was the best book you read?

Grace Eventually by Anne Lammott (followed closely by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows if I can count books on CD).

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't really venture out musically this year.

26. What did you want and get?

My house, a new car (although this wasn't planned or expected), a game night, a promotion/raise

27. What did you want and not get?

An engagement ring, a size 8 body and three more inches in height, a book deal/agent/publisher (although this is clearly my own fault)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I can barely remember all the movies I've seen. I remember thinking many of them were very good, but none of them are standing out right at this moment.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Had dinner with a couple I know. I turned 31 (and will be 32 on Saturday!)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I think my year was pretty satisfying, but I think I would be more satisfied if I had done better at keeping my health (eating and exercise) a top priority and if I had finished that book.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

Uh, I'm not even sure I could call it a concept...professional but relatively casual???

32. What kept you sane?

Having loving people and animals around me to bring me back from the ledge.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Wentworth Miller and Shamar Moore

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Environmental preservation and ending the war.

35. Who did you miss?

Tasha, Mandi and my mom

36. Who was the best new person you met?

The people in my writing group

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.

Happiness, success and accomplishment aren't things that just happen. It's my responsibility to make sure that I get what I want and need.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I'm bringing sexy back?

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