Mid Year Goals Review

Although August is not the mid year, that is the time when I always want to review my goals. August is a rough month in my profession. It’s the busiest, moat stressful month in many ways, the time when tensions are high and work is exhausting. In life, August might be one of my favorite months; it’s hot, summery, and reminds me on some of my favorite adventures. These two sides of August always put me in the mood for relections of the past and plans for the future. So Last month I took some time to look back to Jan and see how my goals for 2019 are shaping up.

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Here are the goals I set:

Seek Balance in Life/Work/Art
I make this goal every year and I’m still working on it.
I do make this goal every year and this year was not a good one for fulfilling it.

Create More Than Consume
I’ve become very aware at how much time I spend on my phone and the internet and how little time I spend concentrating on creating. This year, Creating should be the priority.
I would say I’m failing at this goal as well. But I have worked in the garden, taken care of the house, and created systems, worked on the blog, and other creative endeavors. Over all my tally of creativity is low.

Become Better at Being Plastic Free and Zero Waste
One of the best things I’ve done for myself in the last few years was start my Zero Waste journey. Here’s to a more good work in 2019.
I have made strives in this area, at least mentally. When I started ZW was with a sort of mental fever, making me feel terrible as well as good. This year, I feel that I don’t stress quite as much about it, but now I just need to get better.

Blog / Youtube
I dabbled in YouTube in 2018, but this year I want to make it a regular part of my life. Blogging is also a priority.
Zero work on youtube, but I’m happy so far with the progress I’ve made with this blog. I would love to create more plans and be better at blogging in the future. I wonder if I will ever feel satisfied in my blogging habits?

Habit Building / Monthly Goals
In 2018 I tried to build new habits and set monthly goals, in 2019 I want to make sure to do more.
I went strong on this goal until the middle of the year. I hope to get back on track now that it’s fall.

Home Improvement
There are a lot of things we want to do to improve the house. Some we have started, others need starting and all of them need finished! I hope to get a lot done this year!
We did some work on this this year, but haven’t tackled any of the really big projects yet. Since we will soon be sharing our home, some of these will take on a new priority.

Be a Better Wife
I never thought I would be a wife. Now I want to become better at it. This has to do with lots of things that I will go in to depth another time.
I honestly have no idea how I’m doing at this goal.

Travel / Explore
We did OK at this goal last year, but I want to do more!! There are a lot of local areas and some more far afield that I want to go to.
I think we are doing really well at this goal! We have upped our travel game this year and we have more planned for the remaining time of 2019.

Read One Book per Month
Another goal that I set every year is to read more, but this year, I want to set the goal to read at least one book each month.
I’m not sure I have really read or listened to one book per month, but I would love to take a look back and see. I have been reading again, and I love it.

Create one Tattoo per Month
I only created a few tattoos in 2018, I want to make sure to do more in 2019.
Nope.

Study Japanese
I love to learn languages and I miss studying. I want to get back in to the habit of this and be able to converse with more people.
This goal totally fell off the map for me. I decided I’m not really interested in this for the rest of the year (ever?).

Lose 20lb
OK, I usually don’t include goals like this. I usually don’t make them!! But this year, I need to get serious about my health and losing some weight is part of that.
I have worked on improving my health a little this year, so far and I have improved my weight. I wonder if I can fulfill this goal by 2020?

Save Money
Pretty standard.
Despite having to make a few large purchases, I think we’ve been doing well at this goal. I think this would be a great topic for a more detailed post.

Looking back at these goals I feel very detached from some of them. This year as not really worked out how I planned. Now that I have reviewed these goals, I will take some time to contemplate what I want to get done in the rest of 2019.

How are your 2019 goals shaping up? Do you have a point in the year where you feel the need to review them?

Mad Cat Garden | August

August was the best garden month so far!

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We still had some items in pots and containers. This year they didn’t do as well as the previous year. Perhaps it was too hot and sunny.

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Most things in our back beds were growing like mad. Tomatoes and poblano peppers were ripening up and the bushes were laden with them. Shishitos were starting to grow. We transplanted our corn and it survived! Our arugula, lettuce, and spinach had long overgrown.

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Our morning glories that come back every year really started growing and getting in amongst the beds. They really enjoyed the bamboo trellises we made.

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Some of our blueberries didn’t fruit as much as the previous years. We are thinking we will recondition the beds and repot those in containers. Some of the bushes fruited well, but we ate few berries. Most went to the squirrels and birds.

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Our compost squash is growing huge! It’s a white pattypan! Mid month was when everything we grew produced fruit and veg. We ate well and varied.

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Although our front bed looked quite scraggily the entire month, it produced many tomatoes! We really aren’t sure why this bed was so thin this year. Compared to last year, when it was super lush, it looks terrible! We wonder what next growing season will bring.

For our second year of gardening we are very pleased with how everything turned out in August but also very surprised. This summer’s garden has not been what we expected. But there is still nothing better than eating meals grown right out your own door. We already have many plans for next Summer.

How was August in your garden?

The City of Falling Angles

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I bought the audio book of The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt at the Wall book sale for $4.

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I love the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on another of Berendt’s books. I read that book many years ago, so when I saw this audio book I was happy to snatch it up.

Having always been fascinated with Venice, John moves there to see what it’s like to be one of the locals. He unintentionally comes at a time of upheaval, right after one of the grandest opera houses burns to the ground. The characters he meets living in Venice all have something to say about the Teatro de Fenice.

This book doesn’t so much have a concise story line, but a meandering group of stories and experiences. This is what Berendt is known for; observing and gathering these stories and tidbits and making a book with many interesting characters that happen to be real people. Like in Midnight in the Garden Of Good and Evil, this book loosely follows a trial, and that trial doesn’t end in a satisfactory manner. The City of Falling Angels gives an amazing, mysterious and magical picture of a Venice, which seems to be lost or stuck in a history all it’s own. Although the reader is not overly exciting, perhaps a little flat, Holter Graham does a fine job at conveying all the people living there. This book’s main character is the city it’s set in and how it effects all living in it. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in true mysteries that are not gorey, books about Venice, real life personalities, or books about unique cities.

This book made me want to read more about Venice, more fiction and true stories about or set in that city. Do you have a favorite city to read about?

Bullet Journal Check in | July Before and After

I’ve been Bullet Journalling for quite a few years now. It’s a daily practice that keeps me on track with tasks and goals. It has also become a treasured and comforting daily routine.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at at a July’s monthly spreads as they are before being filled in and after they are totally full. Many of my pages have not changed in the years I have been practicing, but some change depending on the journal I’m using or the monthly tasks I need to complete.

The monthly calendar is an overview I reference every day.

The monthly calendar is an overview I reference every day.

I like to have my monthly goals and tasks laid out close near the calendar to reference. These are routine goals that are usually the same each month, or long term goals that I don’t want to loose track of.

I like to have my monthly goals and tasks laid out close near the calendar to reference. These are routine goals that are usually the same each month, or long term goals that I don’t want to loose track of.

My monthly habit tracker changes seasonally.

My monthly habit tracker changes seasonally.

Since starting this journal, I’ve created a new blog log and content calendar.

Since starting this journal, I’ve created a new blog log and content calendar.

I try to use a sleep tracker each month. In this journal, I try to keep more detailed notes about each night.

I try to use a sleep tracker each month. In this journal, I try to keep more detailed notes about each night.

The expense tracker is not always the most accurate of my trackers, but I do like to keep a record of what I pay out and what comes in.

The expense tracker is not always the most accurate of my trackers, but I do like to keep a record of what I pay out and what comes in.

The rest of the month is occupied by my daily spreads. In this journal, I have been trying to use this space for daily tasks and make space to write a bit of diary each day.

The rest of the month is occupied by my daily spreads. In this journal, I have been trying to use this space for daily tasks and make space to write a bit of diary each day.

And below are all the pages filled in after the month.

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I don’t need my bullet journal to be neat and tidy, I like the way the pages look full and messy. Is your bullet journalling style neat and clean, or rough and messy? Are your favorite pages empty or full?

August Plant Update

We had lost of opportunity to observe plants this Month. The weather was amazing and we mostly stuck close to home. We were excited about that garden (more on that soon) and kept an eye on pollinators. We took many long walks, so we were also able to check on the neighborhood.

Our first milkweed pods!

Our first milkweed pods!

Our first monarch caterpillar!

Our first monarch caterpillar!

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Wesley Lake and the swan boats from afar.

Wesley Lake and the swan boats from afar.

Sunset lake and one of it’s residents.

Sunset lake and one of it’s residents.

Overlooking Deal Lake.

Overlooking Deal Lake.

A distinct color.

A distinct color.

Magnolia fuzzy pods.

Magnolia fuzzy pods.

A little truth about me.

A little truth about me.

We are so happy that we still get to see so many flowers!

We are so happy that we still get to see so many flowers!

Overcast but wonderful beach day.

Overcast but wonderful beach day.

Moon over the West side.

Moon over the West side.

Moon over the East side.

Moon over the East side.

Summer was in full swing in August. I was happy to be mindful about the plants and animals around me. What was August like where you live?

September is usually a time of change and transition. I’m excited to see what it brings.

August in Review

I never intend for August to get away from me, but it always does. Bc of my seasonal job, bc of Summer, bc Of my husbands seasonal job, bc of the warm weather, August is always a very busy month. Work is a focus, but we also try to get some beach and nature time in, see family and friends, and prepare for the rest of the year.

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There were plenty of #watchercats out and about in August. Despite the heat, you could find them peering off of porches, or out from air conditioned houses. There were butterflies and bees around all August long.

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We were able to visit with friends and family a bit even though it was a hectic month. BBQs, small adventures, farmers markets and more were more fun with company.

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We spent a lot of our free time this month hanging out in our city by the sea. We took time to walk on the boardwalk, observe the city, enjoy the beach.

August was busy and lovely, but tiring also. I am so excited to celebrate local’s summer and September.

August Life Admin Day 8/7/19

Life Admin Days or reset days, are days to get your life back on track; days to dedicate towards marking off your To Do list. Tasks can be small but those that you keep putting off, or large which you have trouble getting done. To take a life admin day, is to take a day to commit to getting it all done if possible.

I love the idea of Life Admin Days, bc some weeks it’s too hard to chip away at these tasks over several days. It’s nice to block out time to get things done. My general rules for a LAD are as follows:
Schedule the day before the month starts.
Have a LAD early in the month.
Make a list several days before.
Use a time limit to get things done.

I’ve started writing my Life Admin Day list in a spare space in my Bujo. This helps it stay present in my mind, Each morning, I can add to it, or remove tasks if I complete them before the official day. On the Day of, I can leave my bujo open and it serves as a reminder and reward. I love checking off lists!!

I’ve started writing my Life Admin Day list in a spare space in my Bujo. This helps it stay present in my mind, Each morning, I can add to it, or remove tasks if I complete them before the official day. On the Day of, I can leave my bujo open and it serves as a reminder and reward. I love checking off lists!!

Sometimes even when you follow all the rules things don’t work out the way you plan. Although I love the idea of a Life Admin Day, and enjoy the practice of them, I find it’s hard to actually get the done. Having only one day off in a row, and only one day for chores and getting things done, makes it difficult for me to utilize a Life Admin Day to it’s fullest potential and get everything done in that one day.

Recently I have had to take two days to get much done on my list. No matter how much time I set aside, or how much I try to focus, I can’t seem to get one good day or set of hours to get everything on my To Do List. Now I try to get as much as I can the first day, and pick up the slack the nest day. I will continue to use a Life Admin Day (or Days) in my monthly routine. Even if I can’t cross everything off my list, it is helpful for me to get some things done in a set amount of time. LADs keep me intentional and on task.

Have you been practicing Life Admin Days? How do you find they work for you? Have you developed any tricks to stay on track?

Mad Cat Garden | July

July saw the garden really take off. Here is the record of last month progress.

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The flowers and cat nip were still going strong.

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We moved the corn out of a bed and into the ground.

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Strawberries and raspberries growing but slowly.

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Spinach and arugula went nuts. We plan to take them all out when and replant for fall.

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The last picture is of our compost squash. We had to wait until August to find out what it was!

What’s your best growing garden items this year?

Bone Island Mambo

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Bone Island Mambo by Tom Corcoran at the Wall Library Book Sale, which is held twice a year.

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I had no idea what I was getting into when I selected this book. I knew I liked the cover, and I knew I have an affinity for noirs set in Florida. I only found out this was the third in a series when I started writing this review.

Alex Rutledge is a freelance photographer, ex navy officer, a Key West transplant of 25 years, and, it would seem, a magnet for trouble. While innocently taking pictures of the island’s rapidly growing and changing commercial landscape, Alex is attacked and run off the scene. Only hours later a body is discovered at the exact spot. Was he being distracted so he would not see anything he shouldn’t? Was he being implicated? Why and how does he always end up in the middle of things?

The author clearly loves Key West, has an extensive knowledge of photography, motorcycles, cars, and other techy interests which he sprinkles throughout this (and I imagine other) Alex Rutledge novels. Unfortunately, his expertise, such as it is, takes precident over the the actual plot of this novel. He seems to care more about constructing a self aggrandizing fantasy than making a readable approachable book. I find this a common problem in many modern mystery novels. Write what you know is the old saying, but some many writers take it as permission to create a perfect version of themselves; perfectly attractive to the opposite sex, all knowing, devilishly clever and witty, endless stamina. This seems to be what Corcoran is more interested in writing about. Although, the action in this book is compelling, little of it adds up to solving the mystery, and all of the clues feel a bit thin. Bone Island Mambo has some interesting characters, even the seemingly ineffable, perfectly smart and shockingly talented Alex. I may read another in the series, but bc of the many holes in this novel I can’t say I would recommend it.

Do you have a novel you’ve read but haven’t liked? Do you have a least favorite detective?

July Plant Update

After a very rainy June, July’s bright hot days made all nature pop around Asbury Park, New Jersey! It was a great month for plant observations. We mostly stayed close to home, worked on the garden, and the beach.

From the beginning of July…

From the beginning of July…

… to the middle.

… to the middle.

Our clematis is going nuts.

Our clematis is going nuts.

The hostas bloomed.

The hostas bloomed.

My husband picked up some beautiful milkweed. Previously, I didn’t know there were so many varieties of monarch butterflies favorite plant.

My husband picked up some beautiful milkweed. Previously, I didn’t know there were so many varieties of monarch butterflies favorite plant.

Late season honeysuckle still going strong.

Late season honeysuckle still going strong.

Mid month we had some crazy storms, Many old trees were downed.

Mid month we had some crazy storms, Many old trees were downed.

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Lots of mushrooms this year.

Lots of mushrooms this year.

Anyone know what these magic puffballs are?

Anyone know what these magic puffballs are?

A neighbor’s garden in the beginning…

A neighbor’s garden in the beginning…

…and end of July.

…and end of July.

We were able to spend some time observing the sky at the beach.

We were able to spend some time observing the sky at the beach.

A rainbow gave July a good send off.

A rainbow gave July a good send off.

What did you observe this July? Are your favorite plants out now? Are flowers blooming?