Countdown to 2016 – Things I’m Looking Forward To


Well, it is almost 2016.  Ten days left in 2015.  I had forgotten just how badly 2014 ended last year (and 2015 began) – with me losing my voice and my husband needing a molar extracted, all while we were out of town at my in-laws.  Sigh…hopefully this year will end better and 2016 will start with a great family trip to Monterey (already booked – we just need to stay well for it).  I thought I would do a Countdown to 2016 with my Ten Things I’m Looking Forward To in the New Year.  As you all know, I recently changed my word of the year from Grounded (which I still like – and relates to my new word I think) to Myself.  So, I’m going to focus on Ten Things that Myself is looking forward to – starting out with positives rather than changes that need to be made.  I’m looking forward to a spectacular 2016!  So, let’s start the Countdown with (referral links included):

erin condren planner

My new Erin Condren planner!

I have had serious planner envy for a couple of years now.  I tried to win an Erin Condren planner multiple times and once I got close.  But, I ended up with one of her journal items instead.  It was nice, but not a planner.  I just could not justify spending $50 on a planner, or so I thought.  But, because of my recent focus on MYSELF, I really thought about how much I WAS spending on planning items.  I’ve bought apps (anywhere between $.99 and $4.99).  I’ve bought multiple cheaper planners.  Never totally happy with them, but thinking I could “make it work” only to lose the ability to “make it work” and give up on it (anywhere between $4.99 and $12.99, probably two or three a year).  And every single review I see of this Erin Condren planner is a RAVE!  And there are so many people online who have hacks and ways to use the planner and some real ways of maintaining interest and using the planner well.  I figured, I might as well just drop the funds (Christmas present to myself) and get one for 2016.  It should arrive on Christmas Eve before I leave for my in-laws on Christmas Day, so I’ll be able to work on getting some of it filled in while I’m there!  I am very, very excited about it.  I got the Vertical layout out of the three to choose from:

layout guide erin condren

I toyed with the hourly layout, but felt like it was too constricting.  I also got some “Do-it-all Dots”:

do-it-all dots

I have some favorite Erin Condren visuals that I’ve found online (not that I will be able to keep mine looking as good as these, but I can dream!

weekly view pure sugar
Pure Sugar

I like the cover of mine – “Let the Adventure Begin!”  Because this is MY year and it will be an adventure, to be sure!  I will obviously need to get some cute stickers as well.  I already have some colored pens I should be able to use…

erin condren planner used.JPG
Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Celebrate

I’m back again to participate in Five Minute Friday.  I have a few posts that are rolling around in my Drafts folder but haven’t had the time nor the focus to finish them.

This week was MUCH better than the prior week (not having any family members in the hospital is always a plus) with Bean doing well at school all week and handling the heart monitor with grace.  I felt like every day this week was non-stop for me.  Between meetings at work (both scheduled and emergency), crises that popped up throughout the week, a volunteer post at the Farmer’s Market for a school fundraiser last night and my jobs, it has been insane.  But, I feel like I’ve made it through pretty well.  No major tragedies, but I have a TON to do this weekend and early next week.  Thankful to have the weekend off from traveling and health issues, but it certainly won’t be one of “rest”.


This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “Celebrate!”  So, here goes:

This week I am celebrating small victories.  First, my DD and I were “champions of the morning” as I told her every day this week.  We were able to do everything we needed to do, leave on time and get to school early so she could play before going to class.  I wasn’t stressed or annoyed – even this morning when we had to finish homework in the car on the way to school!  I just felt like we were able to get done what needed to be done.  The biggest difference I can identify – I didn’t get on my computer at all in the morning once she got up.  And she didn’t watch much TV (although she did watch TV one morning when she got up extra early).  So, hopefully we can continue that.

I feel like I have to celebrate the small victories because I’m not scoring many big victories these days.  I am behind at work after last week’s hospital stay and cancelled classes, etc.  I am feeling behind in household stuff, although with my insomnia last night I was able to catch up on quite a bit of that.  But, I felt like my DD had a great week at school and home for the most part.  I felt like celebrating that we were “champions of the morning” made each and every day better.  And I have to remember how meaningful those small celebrations are – both to her and me.

I often berate my small mistakes (and big ones).  And I often feel just a little inadequate when faced with the things I need to deal with: my daughter’s heart problems, my seeming inability to get things done in a timely fashion on a regular basis, one and a half jobs, a traveling husband, illnesses in extended family members and my own health issues (the psoriasis has lessened, but is still there after taking medication for it).  So, I think I have to remember to give myself those little “atta girl”s when I do something well, no matter how small.


Thanks for reading!



Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Find

I’m joining Five Minute Friday over on Heading Home again this week.  Its a five minute writing exercise using the prompt provided and the community is wonderfully supportive.  Join us if you’d like!  Be sure to post your link over at the linkup!


Here goes:

The first thing I think of when I read the word “find” is searching.  Maybe that is a sign of where I am in my life.  After all, it could just as easily mean something good you’ve come across already – a great “find” in the thrift store or book store.  But, for me – it is searching.  I seem to be searching for a lot of things these days…peace, comfort, stability, simplicity, organization, etc., etc.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve found one and then BAM! something knocks me back into the searching mode.

But, maybe this is a stage.  After all, we rarely find anything worth finding without first having to search for it.  I guess there are always those strange instances of instant satisfaction with something we just happen to come across, but most of the time we have to go out there and look for what we want.  Work for what we want.  Dig and dig until we get what we want.

When I competed in debate in college and when I wrote my graduate thesis, the searching was always my favorite part.  I would start re”search”ing a topic and I would be down the rabbit hole of search terms and dewey decimal (dating myself) numbers for the library and citations that would lead to even more things.  I viewed it as both a challenge and an adventure.  Never knowing quite what I would find, I would set out searching with an open mind and a total geek mentality!  Once found, it was never quite as satisfying to have to sit down with it all and try to make it into something usable for the purposes of academic debate or academic writing.  The search was the fun part.

Perhaps that is where I am in my life right now.  The search is what I’m finding to be exciting and challenging and fun, but when I find something that I need to make into something usable in my everyday life, it becomes a little less satisfying.  Its more drudgery at that point.  Perhaps I need to focus as much on the “finds” themselves and stop searching.  At some point, I had to write my debate arguments or my papers or my thesis (and that took a while to get started – not much time to finish, but a loooooong time to actually get started).  At some point, I have to start acting on my organizing, simplifying, stabilizing, etc.


That was a little more than five minutes today – just needed to finish that last thought before signing off.  Hope to see you over at Five Minute Friday!

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Try

I am participating in another Five Minute Friday over at Kate Montaug’s blog.  Join us for a quick writing exercise and tons of friendly readers!


This week’s prompt is “try”.  So…here goes:

I am a big “trier” if there is such a word. I try a lot of things.  I try to change things.  I try to keep the house clean.  I try not to fall behind in getting things done.  I try to have routines.  The problem is that I am not a succeeder (again, is there such a word?).  I try to do things all the time, but I can’t quite succeed.  Or at least, not for very long.  I was talking to myself today about how much I want Fall to be different (yes, I talk to myself…hopefully that is not going to scare any of you away).  I want to be more on top of things.  And I admitted that we are a family that totally lacks discipline.  I don’t mean that my child is out of control – she’s actually pretty well behaved.  I mean that we have no self-discipline.  We don’t do things we should.  We say we’re going to do things and we don’t follow through.  I’m afraid we all have a bit of ADD – we are easily distracted.  We have problems finishing things we’ve started.  We like to pile things up rather than putting them away.  We are…well, lazy, for lack of a better word, about our family obligations.

So, I want to change all that.  I don’t want to try to change them.  I want to actually change them.  I figure I need a RIGID schedule with assigned time to things I want to get done everyday.  It sounds painful, but I feel like it is the only way to actually produce anything other than feeble attempts at change.  And I NEED change.  I know that if I actually got into a routine and got used to doing things on a schedule, I would be fine with it.  I would feel better about things.  I would get more done.  I would enjoy things with my family.  I would have time to do things with friends.  I would spend less money.

So, I’m letting go of the word “try” this Fall.  Instead, I’m going to do.  And do.  And do.  Self-discipline is my focus for Fall.


That’s it.

Health and Caregiving

A Healthy, Happy Life – What’s it Take?

These last few months have me pretty pensive.  I was sad for my mom.  She has lived the last few years in a pretty lonely and unsatisfying condition.  And now that her life has ended, I just wanted MORE for her.  More friends.  More fun and enjoyment.  More life.  When we are living, we should be LIVING!  So, it has me thinking.  Because I had my DD so late in life, I will be aging as she ages.  And I want to age well.  I want to be healthy enough to live.  I want to have friends and be social and have fun.  I want to have fun with my family and enjoy doing things with my DD.  But, that will require that I am healthy.  So, what’s it take?  What do we need to do to stay healthy and happy in our late 40s (where I am now), our 50s, our 60s and beyond.  After all, I will be pushing 60 when my DD graduates from high school (good Lord…) and I want to still be active and enjoying my life with her as she goes through college.  I realize I won’t be able to do what the 38 year olds are doing (and let’s be real, I probably won’t want to be doing what the 38 year olds are doing), but I want to be a good mom who is there for her and who can still do what needs/wants to be done.

So, it has me thinking…what do I need to do RIGHT NOW to make this happen?  What can I do EACH DAY to make sure that I am ready for that future life I want to lead?  Let’s see:

Start building a stronger network of friends.  I am working on that.  I have three friends currently who I feel like are THERE for me.  Two have children close to my DD’s age and I’m hoping we can all stay friends throughout their childhoods and on up to see them as grownups.  But, I need more than that.  I want a wide network of friends.  I have friends but I feel like I’m not very good at making time to spend time with them (especially those who don’t live here where I live).  I’m not good at setting aside time to really enjoy them.  So, that is something I need and want to work on.  Girls weekends.  Family trips together. In addition, I want to be more active in my church.  I want to establish better friendships there as well.  I want a community.  So, that is one thing that I need to continue working on as I go through this year and beyond.

Be more healthy.  I am not talking about losing weight (although that would probably be a good idea as well), but just exercising and eating better (more regular meals, less coffee, more water, etc.) and taking better care of myself over all.  I need to make a doctor’s appointment to get an annual exam (which I haven’t had the last couple of annuals – I use my DD as an excuse, but it really is just something I dread…I don’t want/can’t take any more bad news health-wise for anyone, but especially ME, so I avoid it).  I need to get into the dentist and get my broken tooth fixed and my teeth cleaned.  I want to start doing yoga regularly.  I want to do the a 21 Day Fix challenge to get my sugar and carb levels under control and start developing some muscle mass again.  I am currently suffering from what I am pretty sure is a Guttate Psoriasis.  My strep throat a couple of weeks ago must have triggered it.  And I know that not eating healthy is a contributing factor to these maladies.  I also need to model healthier behaviors and habits for my DD.  She is going to need to eat healthy with her heart issues.

Live it up!  I often turn down opportunities to go out and do things and have fun.  I’m not sure why.  I want to spend time with my DH doing fun things.  I want to do fun things as a family.  I want to enjoy each other and our lives to the fullest extent possible.  We have a bad habit of sitting around when we have time with each other.  On our computers or iPad.  When we should be out and about doing fun activities with each other.  So, that is what I want to focus on – making memories.  And lots of them.

Those three will be my main focus to start this focus on the future me by focusing on the present me.  I will do these things in honor of my mom who often said she wished she had done more when she had the chance, who longed to have a community of people around her and who was constantly telling me to take care of myself.  I love you Mamma!

Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday – I Missed You…

still alive

Just in case you were wondering.

It has been a while.  I was really hoping to be more consistent here, but when stuff piles up, this goes to the bottom of the pile.  So, I haven’t been in a while.  But, today is Monday.  A new week.  It is the first Monday in May.  A new month.  The end of the semester is drawing nigh and I am looking at summer break with a bit of drool on the side of my mouth.  This semester has been a rough one (gee, I seem to say that a lot come the end of the semester).  But, once again I appreciate the teaching benefit of getting to “start over” each semester with new students and a clean slate.  I’m hoping the Fall 2015 slate stays cleaner longer than the Spring 2015 slate did, but who knows.

So – this week’s agenda is busy, busy, busy.


At work, we have our end-of-year celebration for Speech and Debate on Wednesday.  So, I need to get graduation gifts, going away gifts (my Assistant Coach got a full time job at the local CC, so she is moving on), student awards (certificates were not printing right today, so I need to figure that out tomorrow and then have my student assistant get them all in frames on Wednesday) and then we’re Karaokeing (is that a word?) at a local restaurant that is frequented by retirees (we have quite a few under 21, so most of the Karaoke in town is out of bounds for them).  It should be interesting.  I might find someone to talk Murder She Wrote with there.  🙂

I also have committed to really working on getting my grading done for Chico State tomorrow.  That way, I can give everything back during the last class meeting on Wednesday.  It seems kind of insane to even think about being able to do that, but it would be so wonderful to have it out of the way before finals week.  We’ll see how much I actually get done.

My other classes are pretty much on cruise control until Chico is done since they go for another two weeks after Chico is done.  Then I will have to get all of those graded.  Sigh…


My mom has agreed to come up this weekend instead of us going there.  It should be better, but I need to get the house cleaned up.  Right now, it is pretty much a mess.  And my DH is leaving on Thursday morning for a work trip and will be gone until Monday night.  So, not much help there.  We’ll see how she deals with the stairs, etc., but hopefully it goes well.  So, there is laundry to do (lots of it), dishes to wash, vacuuming to do, dusting to do, etc. etc.  It is never ending around here.

This week is Teacher Appreciation week, so I volunteered to help with Bean’s school’s celebrations.  Tomorrow I am getting a traveler of Starbucks and a dozen bagels and some cream cheese from our local bagel place.  There is a potluck later in the week as well.  I want to help out because I really do love the teachers at Bean’s school.  But, tomorrow is going to be an early morning – I need to get it over to school around 7 a.m.


I’m feeling a bit better about things.  I’ve got my calendars up-to-date and relatively synced.  I am getting things done slowly but surely.  I’ve taken my boss’ advice after a meeting earlier this week and I now have a “To-Do list” on each day of my Google calendar on which I put the things that need to get done that day.  The stuff hasn’t got done everyday, but as she says, “as I move it from one day to the next, it makes me realize what really needs to be prioritized.”  So, I’m going to try to stick with this one and really start being more productive.  I’ve already noticed a difference, but I still don’t check it nearly enough and I forget things that are on the list.  But, baby steps.

So, there is my motivational Monday post, 9 minutes before Tuesday.  My goal for next week is to get the Motivational Monday post up more than 9 minutes before Tuesday.  As I said, baby steps.  🙂

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Will I ever get it together?

That, my friends, is what I feel like this week.  And, in reading some of what I wrote three and two and one year ago, it is what I feel like a lot of the time.  I try to do self-help, organizing, decluttering, etc. projects constantly and nothing sticks.  I feel like I can pull it together short term and then I just get tired and can’t follow through.  What is my problem?

I know I need the following things in my life to truly get it together:

1)  A routine/family schedule that includes the following items:

  • Exercise
  • Meal plan
  • Chore list

2)  A budget.

Really, those two things would do wonders toward me getting it together, whatever IT is.  I have a calendar hanging on our wall that no one much checks other than me and often I will forget to write things on there because I put it in my Google calendar or something.  I’ve been trying to follow a plan where at the end of each month (so today for example) I sit with the wall calendar and my Google calendar and “sync” everything so-to-speak.  But, mid-month, things fall through the cracks.  I don’t really exercise.  We are constantly eating out despite having tons of food in our fridge, freezer and pantry – often a lot of that food goes bad before we eat it.  I am the only one who does stuff around the house on a regular basis.  And I get bogged down in other things or leave on a work trip and the whole house becomes a $#%* show.  I’m not kidding.  Garbage piles up on the floor and every flat surface (because Lord knows that walking the five feet to the garbage can to throw away a fruit treat wrapper or a fast food wrapper would be overly onerous).  Clothes are EVERY where – on the living room floor, bathroom floors, bedroom floors, piled up in the laundry room.  I don’t even know what is clean and dirty sometimes.  Dishes get left everywhere.  It is seriously like I live with people who were raised by wolves – and I’m currently raising one of them.  So, what does that make me?  So, I need a new plan.  I need a new determination and discipline.  I need some motivation for myself and others…ideas would be appreciated.

The budget thing is a whole other beast.  Both my husband and I are impulsive spenders.  We have some things we plan for, but nothing is ever budgeted out.  We just spend money until we run out pretty much.  And we end up with a lot of stuff we don’t need/want.  So, that contributes to my overwhelm in the first department – cluttered living conditions.  But, every time I try to set up a budget I realize just how much we overspend, get depressed and just give up.  I vow to stop spending, but don’t really do it and so, here I am. I must admit that I’m also one of those people who feel like I “deserve” things because I work a lot.  But, I don’t realize how many “things” I have/get.  So, yeah.

I need a counselor…that’s what I really need.  Or a life coach.  A serious, kick-me-in-the-butt, make-me-do-what-I-don’t-want-to-do life coach.  Volunteers?