Thursday, December 27, 2012

Annual Goal Evaluation

The best reason to evaluate goals is to see your progress - or not!  This is simply a guide to help you live your best life :-)  As I look back... I see areas where I have achieved MUCH more than I thought... and areas where I totally BOMBED! 

I see achievements (like my 'mile a day' habit) that had side benefits (my husband now joins me daily so MY goal has helped HIS health)

I see goals (like spiritual reading) that never got off the ground.. and now I need to decide a) if I want to make this a goal for 2013 OR b) choose a method to help me make it happen!

I see goals (like the infamous photo scanning project) that were TOO HUGE to measure well that need to be broken down better

This evaluation is simply a tool.  I encourage you to do your own and see where you are in your happiness - and where you want to be!  How will you get there if you don't know where you are right now?

Evaluation of 2012 Annual Goals

Goals 2012:

1.  HEALTH -
         a) continue on weight loss / exercise balance!
              I recognize that this is not specific enough for a goal. I am still working on action steps that will fit in my life and be sustainable.  I will share that journey with you as I go.
             Weight has remained the same which is also an accomplishment!  Looking back to the beginning of the year, I have made good new habits: I walk a mile outside almost every day and have increased that to 2 miles this December - successfully.  I have doubled or tripled my fruit and veggie intake with salads and green smoothies.  I have also identified supplements that help me physically and mentally and am taking them!

      Still working on consistent all over training - especially strength.

         b)Train for and do my 5th Breast Cancer 3Day Walk in Atlanta Oct 2012..
      Location changed to Philadelphia - but I DID IT!

         a) continue to live on a cash basis and work down debt balances
              Debt balances are reduced a little bit....but we are still living on a cash basis AND have pumped up the savings!  We have made improvements in other areas and have 2 kids in college.... we are doing well!  
Ultimate goal?  No debt except mortgage.... 10% long term savings each year (2.5% this year) and 10% short term savings (3% this year)

         b) find other sources of income to assist in this process.  It is important for me to feel financially independent.
             Little progress here... my best way of helping financially still is reduction of expenses.  I have been able to sell a little of my Children's Liturgy plans this year so that is a start!

         c) continue working with tithing.
            Our income is so variable that it is difficult to keep this one where it needs to be.  That said, I do monitor it monthly and we are aware and working on it.  
Our goal - 5% to our home church and 5% to the world's requests. 

Our achievement - 4% to our home church and 3% to the world....  we might be able to up that a little in the next few days... we'll see.

3. CURRENT HOME project -
        This one scares me but I am ready to take it on!  By the end of 2012, this home will be in a condition to sell.  I am working on a plan of action to deal with each room and all the associated STUFF... I will detail this in weekly action plans as I go.
      Yeah - not so much on my part!....  But we did make some improvements that will aid in the energy efficiency of our home.  The final set of ancient windows have been replaced, window wells have been dug out and re-graveled.... the room with water damage has been repaired and painted and is ready for me to decorate as a guest room... 
I think this goal needs to be re-framed and more specific for 2013
          My photo scanning project will continue under this heading.  I will continue to scan and organize photos in folders on my computer in order to share with other family members who are involved in the photos.
        I have made some progress this year but this task is HUGE!  I will need to break this down into more specific and manageable goals in order to feel any sense of accomplishment!
There are: 
      the 'tub' of assorted photos (down from a large 18 gallon plastic tote to a small 20 quart plastic tote) **looking at this alone makes me feel I did more than I thought I did :-)
                  the albums - my personal, my mother's, some older historical ones
                  the framed photos
                  the 'official' posed photos

         Also - I love to learn (as you probably know already) so this year, I will learn to refinish furniture and decorate.  Perhaps I can find some inexpensive course in interior design.... or some good DIY projects to attempt.
         Nope - haven't touched it..

4.  Good Maintenance Habits:
         Good maintenance habits means that I don't have to THINK about them - I just do them.  To that end, I will think about them now :-)
    A) health/weight/exercise - I will deal with those under the "health" category
    B) environmental management - (fancy name for housekeeping!)  I will talk about this as I go through the work of re-newing the house.  I will develop some good maintenance habits as I tackle the larger project.
    Other than beginning the year well with great ideas about how to clean and keep up with this house, I haven't accomplished much here.

   C) relationships -
            Family - regular, purposeful dates / activities with husband and family members - separate and together......  Much better with the hubs... okay with the kids

           Friends - make a point of a 'non-business' meeting with as many friends as possible during 2012....  not well at all :-(

           Birthday cards :-)  I like doing them and it felt good to actually get through the year having done them!   Birthday cards to friends and family took a beating this year.  I started a card ministry at church and did great with the church and lousy with my family.... need to fix this

    D) hobbies -
            *Enjoy my crocheting but work down my yarn stash..  Doing this but it is a BIG stash....  I have not bought much yarn this year though - and every bit I DID buy had a designated function and need.  (no yarn for yarn's sake!)
            * Less crochet - more quilting, loom knitting, knitting, and whatever other crafts I can enjoy with my current supplies     I have gotten back to a little bit of quilting and sewing for the girls but very little as yet.  And that mostly because of ongoing shoulder issues that are worse when I crochet!  But, whatever works, right?
            * Learning: is learning a hobby?
                  a) Read a minimum of 1 book per week.
                          Start on book lists of classics by Modern Library / continue with favorite authors and Oprah's recommendations     Classic book list was too much work for books I didn't care much for so I quit that pretty quickly.... that said - I still read a LOT.. check out my reading list page..  I set a goal for 100 books and have hit 106 as of this writing!

                  b) Watch more movies - Choose classics from American Film Institute List (as well as fun choices as desired!) The list had a few classics I was interested in but others were just not to my taste and I respect that ability to choose :-)  But I HAVE watched more movies.. mostly current ones I chose to get out of the library instead of purchase.  This will no longer be a goal now that I have the HABIT of ordering and checking out items from my local library.

                   c) will put my spiritual reading here.  I still am not sure about what I want to do here but will make a choice soon (by the 1st :-)     this is another thing that has not exactly gotten off the ground in 2012.....  I HAVE regularly pulled Scripture verses or passages to memorize and ponder but haven't done anything systematic this year.

5.  Writing - Keep on with my daily blogging - Journey & Children's Liturgy
                   Join a writers group to learn more about what I am doing and where I can go with it.
                   Keep up with a written journal

    A BIG fail on the writing!  I have kept up with Children's Liturgy to a point because people are beginning to purchase it  - but other than that, I have not been consistent at all!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Where is YOUR Focus??

I can't help but toss a few thoughts in here this morning.....

I have been so OUT OF IT per our culture this year...

Might be my age or stage in life... but I am so TURNED OFF by the obligatory gifting.... and the crass consumerism

It's even ruined Santa a bit for me... though I still love the jolly old elf as a do-gooder... and as an opportunity to both BE and teach my children to BE a "Santa" in the world...  but he is a child's story

But what gets me the most is the constant focus on the Christ Child.  I mean, I love babies....  and remembering baby Jesus is fantastic!

But like Santa, that focus is for the little ones.

We big ones - who are Christian - are TRULY celebrating the second coming of Christ.  So the focus is (or should be) on preparing ourselves to enter the kingdom.

Is THAT any part of the flurry of activity you are involved in this year?  Or are you tied up in paper and bows and "what to buy for whom" and "when is the right time to thaw the turkey?"  Not to mention all the 70% offs and traffic snarls...

Do you remember that it is NOT Santa who is watching.... but God?  Are you ready to meet Jesus if you are called home today?

I'd like to pose a simple question.

Where is YOUR focus?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bread Adventures Brioche filled with Chocolate Ganache

Baking along with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Using up the leftover brioche dough.... I moved on to the next recipe: Brioche Filled with Chocolate Ganache

What a hoot!  I made ganache!  A veteran wordsmith, I have been able to SPELL it forever... even knew what is was - sort of..   But the thought of little ol' kitchen-challenged me actually making something with that name?  Well... yes, I did....  Nobody ever told me it was just melted chocolate with some added ingredients.  How fun!

Of course this is the first time I had to create a double boiler..  see the photo :-)  Bowl in steamer basket over boiling water.  Microwave is an option but the last time chocolate, the microwave and I got together- it was not pretty... so I figured I had nothing to lose trying this :-)

And it worked just fine :-)

I rolled out the dough, spread half the chocolate on it and rolled it up jelly roll style..... then baked it!

 Obviously messed up somewhere because the dough ended up with a hole and chocolate oozed out!  But that is cosmetic, not taste - so it's all good so far for this adventure!

Poured the rest of the ganache over the top and it looks yummy!!

When I cut it open I realized that I hadn't let it bake quite long enough.  I still don't have the hang of timing.... but it was pretty enough to serve :-)

The chocolate itself was more bitter than we like.  If I make this again, I will use a milder chocolate than the bittersweet one suggested.... but we all had fun and enjoyed tasting something new!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Old Town 5K Run/Walk Race Report

This is the second race my husband has done with me - and it is still kind of exciting to think about :-)  He faithfully drives me to them but doesn't generally do them... but is changing about the 5Ks :-)

I wanted to do one on Thanksgiving but was hosting the big dinner at 1pm and really didn't have the driving time to get to a race, do my thing, and get back with an attitude that would suffice my hosting the crew.... so I hunted for another date.... and this was it.....

45 miles away - not too bad for us :-), we left early so that we could pick up our race packet between the times given (7-8am).  Of course, as it turns out, this was a little race and our 7:30am arrival time meant that we had to kill time until the 9am start!  We spent most of that time sitting in the car chatting.  The race started right at the YMCA... so at 8:30 we wandered inside to the gym and did a few laps on the indoor course to warm up.

It was pretty chilly and overcast.... I knew the chill would be in our favor once we started moving - but was a little concerned about rain.

The whole time, my husband was talking about how much he hurt after the last race he walked with me.. and how he was going to take it easy this time.... and how much he didn't care and just wanted to have fun.   Yep..... uh-huh

We lined up and the timer went off... and so did he!  At a good brisk jog.... so I jogged as long as I could and told him to go on :-)  And he did!   I was behind him most of the way... doing a lot of walking and a little jogging here and there.  I caught up at the water station (Mile 2) and when we started again... there he goes!

Seriously I am really proud of him!  I did my best.. and both of us shaved 7 minutes or so off the times we had at the last race.  This was surprising because this time, the course was HILLY!

The only downside for me was that (like the last race) when I jogged down the final stretch, my stomach started heaving.  Like the last time, there was nothing to toss (thank goodness)... just dry heaves.... but I need to figure out what to do about this.  I DO eat breakfast and am hydrated so I'm not sure what the deal is.  I never have tummy issues so it's weird.

The fun thing for both of us is going inside to get food and water.. and watching the board.  No one on the board in my age group - and only one fleet of foot guy in my husband's.  We ended up with place medals in our age group -he took second his his age group with 39:39 and I took first with 40:22.  Kind of cool!

I would encourage anyone to try out these little 5K races...... it's only 3 miles.... and there might not be many people in your age group :-)  In which case.. you kind of get a participation medal for doing it.... which for some of us is pretty important!  I know for me, it takes more energy to get to the start line - than it does to finish the course.

I ALWAYS give myself grief on race morning - like - why on earth would I get up so early for THIS?   AND - from about the middle until 3/4 through... it's like.... What were you thinking???   And from that point on, it's always.... You are almost there, Katy.... you can do this!

And at the end - I am always SO glad I came and put myself out there!  ONE time I remember it being awful all the way through.... but usually races are a good thing for me!

After our eventful morning, it was a quick lunch at Wendy's (we didn't plan on eating out but Don was a little shaky by this point).  He is having to learn how his body reacts to racing.... and I think we BOTH need to have more regular cardio in our lives (which might, in fact be my tummy problem)

Back home and get ready for my youngest son's Black Belt Tea Ceremony.  He was awarded the black belt he earned a month or so ago at this beautiful ceremony.  It was a lot of fun but I have to say I am bushed!  A busy day!

Miles progress:

Week 1 14.5 mi  2 Body Pump class
Dec 8 - 4 miles

total December miles  18.5 miles / 66.75 to go

Other progress..... better left alone....  this was not an achieving day for new habits!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Catch-up day? not so much...

Who would have thought

   that my work email would drop the password?

I thought all was quiet on the work front.... and I was pleased because life is really busy right now!  I was all set today to do some personal financial stuff and work on the quilted placemat project form my class yesterday.... and walk to town... and cut out the dresses I promised the grandgirls for Christmas.. and.. and....

My husband asked me about some things that he knew had been sent to me (work) and when I checked on it....  I had no emails since 11/28!  Needless to say, I spent the entire morning on paperwork :-( 

I need to be grateful that I found my glitch today - when I had a day free.... it could be much worse.. but I have to admit that I am a bit grumpy that I have not gotten the catching up done that I had anticipated!

BUT - by the end of the day... about HALF of the laundry (changed 2 sets of sheets and did the dog rugs)... the work stuff (of course), I did the cutting and sewing on the placemat project (need one more day to finish 12 placemats)... mixed up dough for some bread (for potlucks over the weekend).. still need to put together a fruit crisp to bake for tomorrow night..  planned to cut out the girls' dresses but I'm not sure I will get there

Tomorrow will be a busy day out and about... tonight now will be all about relaxing and preparing for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend!  Probably a movie, some quilt mending and crocheting on a sweater I am making for my grandboy for Christmas!

Miles progress:

12/1 3.5 mi
12/2 1 mile
12/3 2.5 miles & Body Pump class
12/4 4.5 mile
12/5 Body Pump class
12/6 1 mile
12/7 2 miles

total December miles  14.5 miles / 70.75 to go

Other progress:
Mega-project: photo scanning... yep - put in about 30 minutes today
strength training - nope
desk clear - yes!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lost in the shuffle...

I have had a couple of days where my head is spinning.. and I am worrying that I will not be able to manage this self-discipline mega-project idea.  Wednesday was my usual Wednesday with tons of errands plus the serendipity of spending time with one of my grandgirls.  Today I was blessed with the opportunity to take a quilting class about making placemats.  I LOVED learning a new technique!

Thing is....  my original project was FINISHING a quilt.. and I haven't done anything on THAT for a couple of days.  I haven't mended any either.  And now, I've moved forward and (yesterday) bought fabric to make dresses for the grandgirls for Christmas (3 weeks away) and now have a placemat project that will take at least another day to finish (which will probably translate to a couple of parts of days).  All that aside - renewing my relationship with the folks at the quilt shop probably means that WHEN I finish the quilt, I will do a better job..

I have let my mega-project snowball into NEW projects!  And at a time when the deadlines are arriving fast an furious...

I haven't finished Christmas decorating... not a huge deal since we usually get the tree up in mid-December (and we aren't there yet)..  LOTS of Christmas things to do...

Tonight I will work on an afghan I need to finish up (by Saturday night) - so that will take priority.

But I'm a little bummed because I am behind on miles... the good part is that I DID do my class twice this week, am planning more miles tomorrow (because I am planning to be HOME) and I have a 5K with my hubby this weekend.

No photos scanned today either :-(

I guess my take-away for the day today is two-fold....
   A) Don't let your mega-project get lost in the shuffle of new excitement and projects
    B) Some days are very busy!  You have to keep living... but you also have to keep coming back to center.  The self-discipline habits and projects have a purpose - to build a better life for YOU!  So you have to keep coming back to center... and gathering your thoughts and beginning again.

Thank you, God!  For a tomorrow to work with :-)

Miles progress:

12/1 3.5 mi
12/2 1 mile
12/3 2.5 miles & Body Pump class
12/4 4.5 mile
12/5 Body Pump class
12/6 1 mile

total December miles  12.5 miles / 72.75 to go

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Just a Tuesday

... I love the days where I get to stay home and work on my 'To Do's :-)  So much of my life is spent in the car taking people here or there... it's a blessing to stay home!  So - there is the story of today :-)

Today I had several things I wanted to focus on.  I was looking in the freezer the other day - remember all that stuff I put up over the summer?  Especially apples and pears!  Or was that before I got back to blogging?  Welll.. let's just say I learned a lot and my freezers are full! 

Full of single ingredients!

One of the things I want to work on this month as I continue to work on reducing our expenses.. is changing the 'single ingredients' into meals to make our lives a little easier.  So 2 containers of assorted beans.... a baggie of corn kernels.... some marinara.... some chopped peppers.. and a turkey sausage.. became a yummy bean stew that served as lunch, 2 2-cup containers for the freezer.. and a 3-cup portion to bless a friend with.  And I made lasagna with some no-cook noodles that have been languishing in my pantry... enough for us and 3 2-cup containers for the freezer!

I have 2 potlucks this weekend and will use some of my bumper crop of apples and pears to make fruit crisps to take with me... easy to pull together and always gets eaten!

Still need to get to the bills today.... and I have an afghan to finish this week (needs 3 more border rows).. along with whatever else I can come up with!

Personal progress (discipline projects!):

Current mega-project -  Photo scanning:  I scanned more today.  I am still at the stage where it looks like I will NEVER get it all done.  And the jury is out as to whether I will finish in 21 days... but I will be MUCH further ahead if I keep scanning some every day!

New small habit: I still haven't chosen one!  I've been stewing on it and just decided that I am working too hard on such a small thing... so in the interest of moving forward.. I admit.. every time I sit down to my computer I say... Gee I wish my surface wasn't so cluttered!  So... without any further ado.... I grabbed a small container and have swept the paper pile into it.  I'll move further into this later but want to make a decision and get on with it!

So there you go:  clear desk surface daily!

New Life improvement habit: strength training... I went to a Body Pump class at the gym yesterday - now there is a story for you - I will have to remember to tell about this!  But suffice it to say that I finally got to a class and had a blast!  I will go back tomorrow.. and then do basic home strength training later in the week (Friday)

Discipline Projects Round 1:

Quilting:  finished sewing the strips together for the border.. and cut some of them.  Now THESE need to be sewn together and attached to the quilt.  Am working on that step - AND trying to figure out where the muslin backing got cleaned up to!  My beloved helped me clean for Thanksgiving - and, well you know the rest.  I am still looking!  In the meantime, I signed up for a class teaching how to make placemats and got my fabrics ready for Thursday.
This project will not be complete until THE QUILT is completed but I can honestly say that I am using my quilting time most days and am on track to do more and enjoy it!

Bathroom mirror still looks good :-)  That sounds like such a small thing but it makes SUCH a difference in the way the room looks!

Daily biking didn't happen today - but it is because I CHOSE not to do it.  My thighs are really sore from the gym class yesterday and I plan to go again tomorrow.  AND I have done 11.5 miles of my December commitment... actually .5 miles ahead of schedule :-)  So it's all good - and not aggravating my thighs more is a good thing!


Miles progress:

12/1 3.5 mi
12/2 1 mile
12/3 2.5 miles & Body Pump class
12/4 4.5 mile

total December miles  11.5 miles / 73.75 to go

Crochet Post #343-346 & 347-350

Finishing up a few afghans that I have been working on for a long time!

Each afghan used 10 of the Breast Cancer Ribbon filet crochet squares and 10 plain squares in a coordinating variegated yarn.


I've been working on these for a couple of years so was glad to see them finished.  I will use one of them myself and am not sure about the other.  I am trying to decide whether to give it to someone or to auction it off to raise money for my annual 3Day walk sponsorship.

But anyway - below I will share the next 8 dishcloths in my 365 challenge series!

#343 Winter Greeting - pictured below on the upper left.  I LOVED doing this one... the directions were clear and simple and it worked up quickly.  The results you can see for yourself!

#344 Solar Eclipse Dishcloth - pictured on the upper right... again, simple clear instructions and worked up quickly.  Choice of colors is not a favorite for me - but I would definitely do this one again.

#345 Friendship Pineapple Greeting - Cute!!  Fun to do and easy - but I'm not sure I'd do it again.... unless I needed a quick gift at a luau-themed party?

#346 Sunburst Dishcloth - above on the bottom left.  I like this one but I couldn't get it to lie flat and that annoyed me.

The next four dishcloths are pictured below:

#347 Granny's Path Dishcloth - pictured below on the lower left.  As much as I lover granny squares, I don't usually like them as dishcloths.  Somehow the rectangular shape of this one feels more useful to me.  This cloth turned out absolutely lovely - my photos don't do it justice.  This pattern is a keeper!

#348 Penguin Dishcloth...... totally adorable!  This cloth just makes me smile :-)  It worked up well with a little extra stitching for the eyes and beak.  What a fantastic cloth for a child's bathtime!

#349  Snowman Dishcloth - on the upper left.  Another one that the photo doesn't show well enough.  The basic circle is quick and easy... the features are not too hard to figure out and then just a bit of stitching.  But he is so cute, he makes a great gift!

#350  Winter Sunrise Dishcloth - another round favorite for me!  I have truly enjoyed working up so many simple patterns.  This one is lovely.  I could see it done well in several color combinations.

All of these patterns are available free at Maggie Weldon's site in the dishcloth archives.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saving the Day..

waking with a colossal headache!  YUK!

My plans to leave by 8:30 to walk into town have been slightly derailed because I feel so rocky.  It's hard sometimes because my allergies are so strong I can't tell what is a cold and what is allergies!  But we've been keeping a stray dog (in addition to our other pets) and I think I've been struggling with some extra dander overload lately.

But all is not lost - hopefully just delayed.  I have been nursing breakfast and scanning photos - and writing here.  Took my herbal supplements and am waiting for it to kick in.  I DO need to move this body though and soon :-)

It will be a good day - I just need to get a handle on it!


I did go out and do 3.5 miles... so only 81.25 more to go in December :-)  I have a bridal shower this evening so need to spend some time this afternoon primping (so not a usual occurrence!) and getting ready to go.  We will leave mid-afternoon to catch the Saturday evening church service (to make tomorrow morning a little easier... I still have to go in but can go later if I attend Mass tonight) and my husband is driving to give us a little "us" time.

After Mass, he'll take me to the shower and make himself scarce for a couple of hours.  (He will probably go out to eat - I will have healthy snacks, etc packed for me in the car).  Since I don't feel well, it's pretty important that I stay nourished - also that way, I can sample the goodies tonight knowing that my body has been FED well already - so it's a tasting fiesta, NOT a meal.

So - I will be ready!  I am getting ready to get off here and go do my biking... and then my strength stuff... then on to the primping for tonight!

I think what's important to note here is that advance preparations and some routines/ plans & habits can save the day!  My headache is still with me - I hope it will go away as the day goes on.... but I have still completed the things on my list!  My good habits and my plans have not been completely derailed because I woke up with a bad headache.... and this feels pretty good!