March Life Admin Day and GYST List

I’ve mentioned it before but I first found out about Life Admin Days friom MuchelleB on YouTube. This is a day that you schedule where you sit down and get stuff done. It’s a day or part of a day to get those nagging tasks that you keep putting off out of your way. Things that have been on your “to do” list but keep getting put off for another time. Action items that require you to do something you really dislike, like for me, talk on the phone. Your life admin day is a time to knock off as many as these tasks as you can in a set amount of time.

A Lot of people and productivity gurus are now also calling this a GYST Day (get your sh*t together). One of the keys to these methods is to schedule in this time and treat it as work, or any other event you have bc it’s easy to constantly push annoying life tasks aside.

I tried to have a Life Admin Day in February but I kept pushing it back and back! Defeats the whole point, right? This month, I decided to do it early in the month to make sure I got it done. I scheduled the time I wanted to take and put it in my bullet journal as an appointment or task just like I would if I were going to work or writing a blog post.

Here was my list for things to get done:
call for car appointment
pay bills
sort out eye doc bill
sort out urgent care bill
sign up for ez pass
start seed/garden list
clean cat boxes
water plants
lunch with mom

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I also wrote myself a physical list outside my BuJo to be able to check everything off, carry around, or move as needed. I love crossing things off any to do list!! I blocked off several hours to get things done and proceeded to do as much as I could! Not all my tasks were admin tasks, some were just weekly or daily things that needed to get done.

As you can see, I didn’t get everything done. Some items got pushed to later in the day, some to the following day, some to the next admin day (or the next one). Although I didn’t get everything done, It felt really good to complete some tasks that had been nagging me to weeks. I definitely plan to have another Life Admin Day, perhaps making it a monthly event.

Have you planned a day like this? If so, was it helpful to keep your life more organized? Do you have any other tricks for this sort of productivity?

What I Ate 2/20/19

This was a pretty typical of eating for me. And it was a pretty typical day for documenting in that it started off strong, but kinda petered off.

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Everyday, always, forever starts off with coffee.

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But I’ve also been smitten with ginger tea. So simple, so good! Usually this is just ginger slices in hot water. Sometimes I add honey.

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For breakfast/lunch/first meal of the day I had a salad with romaine, homemade crunchy croutons, Quorn chicken nuggets, and store bought caesar dressing. And lots of fresh ground black pepper!
Fake chicken doesn’t always agree with me, but a chicken caesar salad is one of my all time favorite meals and I was craving it! I love getting this brand and type bc it comes only in cardboard (no plastic!) and I can heat just a few nuggs up at a time, so there is less waste. Store bought dressing is one things I want to give up and start making myself, but I haven’t motivated to do it quite yet.

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On this day I went grocery shopping and couldn’t resist snacking on some pistachios in the car. We go on various nut kicks and pistachios have been a hot for a while now. I usually by them in a plastic bag, unfortunately. But we take that bag to be recycled at some of our local shops.

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Grocery shopping usually leads to unhealthy snacking for me! I have been digging these self-serve mochi lately. No plastic!

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My husband prefers the self-serve donuts. If they are around, I’ll take a bite.

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As usual, my dinner pics are a little lacking! We had one of our favorite vegan meals this night: tofu, rice, broccoli, peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili garlic sauce. I wish this meal were a little more zero waste, but the tofu and chili garlic sauce only come in plastic near us.

On many nights, I would also eat something sweet at the end of my meals, but since I snacked on so many sweets today I didn’t feel like eating anything else sweet.

I was happy to eat a lot of my favorite foods today but this could have easily been a vegan day of eating, as well. I find myself trying to assess my meals and see where they can become more vegan and more sustainable.

What did you eat today?

Bullet Journal Check In: February Clothing Tracker

Starting this year, I was curious to see how often I was wearing each item in my capsule wardrobe. The size of my current bullet journal is perfect to be able to write down each item!

I used a very simple layout, in January, writing down all the items first and filling in when I wore them.

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For February, I am writing them down as I wear them. And marking where I repeat items.

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As for the wardrobe side of this experiment, so far, I’m very intrigued by the results. Since I have so many pieces in my winter capsule, they only each get worn a few times each month. It has really given me pause about including so many pieces in each capsule. I was also surprised that I really do try to wear just about everything I have included. I was not surprised at what pieces were my go to items that I returned to again and again. I’ll be interested to track the last 1.5 months of this capsule and see what changes in my next capsule wardrobe as a result of this tracker!

As for the bullet journal aspect of this experiment, I haven’t found a tracker layout that I really like. This feels like something I would like to continue for a few more months, at least, but this tracker is pretty boring to fill out. It’s also a little hard to read. I’m sure if I had less items to list, it would look less cluttered, but I’m not convinced that will happen! My BuJo style is very minimal, so I’m not sure what other type of layout I could use. Does anyone have any ideas for me?

Do you tack your wardrobe?

6 Month of Zero Waste: Trash Audit Review

In January, I wrote about some things to do each month leading up to Plastic Free July. Are you following along?

Last month, we separated and audited our trash. What did you learn? Here are some questions to ask your self:
How much was trash?
How much was food waste?
How much of your trash was recyclable?
What part of each contained plastic?

Now that you know what your trash really looks like, where can you reduce it?
Go ahead and answer these in the comments below so we can share in your observations!!

You may want to keep separating and auditing your trash for another month, or for several month to see how your waste changes now that you are more mindful of what you throw away.

Now that we are making our way to mid February it’s time to start decluttering things, if you haven’t already. All the things. The decluttering craze is upon us so you can find a lot of resources and ideas out there. I suggest paying special attention to duplicates, paper clutter, clothing, as well as little or never used items and appliances. The goal here is to get rid of lots, but also to organize what’s left.

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Do as much as you can do until we talk again!

Back to Cape May for 6th Anniversary

We are not big occasion people. We don’t buy xmas gifts, we don’t go on dates, we don’t dress up. But one thing that we have celebrated for the last six years is our wedding anniversary. We always try to take a little trip around this time and this year, we headed back to an old favorite: Cape May, New Jersey.

We took a leisurely time to drive down to Cape May and stopped at a few thrift shops we enjoy along the way. We arrived just in time for the sunset. They are usually quite spectacular in this town.

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The night was easy and we took advantage of a warm room and a strong shower. In the morning we ate at the hotel restaurant before heading out into the snowy landscape.

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The Victorian homes and square are particularly striking in the snow.

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We always like to take a look at the sunken concrete ship at the end of the state.

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Our trip was very brief but relaxing and lovely. Here’s to another year to decide where to go next.

Past trips:
Philly
Princeton
Cape May
Washington DC

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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

When I went on my first audio book buying binge, I was certain to get a novel by mystery great, Agatha Christie. The Mysterious Affair at Style is the first novel in the famous Poirot series and was read by James Langton.

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Poirot is another classic and famous detective that I have watched for many years, but I’ve never actually read any of his novels.

Hastings, freshly back to from the war is resting and recouperating but edging to boredom until he runs into his old friend John Cavendish who invites him to stay at Styles Manor for a while. Relaxation soon turns to tragedy when John’s step mother is poisoned and the household is sent in to disarray. Although Hastings earns to be a detective, this case might prove to be too much for an ameture. Hasting speculates that if only the odd, meticulous, but brilliant Inspector Poirot were available the case would be solved in no time. And whom should he meet unexpectedly in the village… Why Poirot himself!

This is another first mystery novel that betrays the newness of the author. Long and meadandering, with a lot of contasting clues and misdirections, The Affair at Styles can drag a little. Although not the most dynamic novel, it still has all the great elements that Agatha Christie is known for. Not the least of which is Poirot himself. Fastidious, exacting, Belgian, Poirot demands as much from his suspects and friends as he does for himself. This mystery kept me guessing until the end, and I would recommend it to those who enjoy murder mysteries, famous detectives, or novels about British aristocracy.

Do you have a favorite first novel? First work, first in a series?

Something New: Intermittent Fasting

I would certainly eat all day if allowed. But for several weeks, I found myself eating unhealthily, eating right before bed, or naps, and eating food which I know doesn’t make me feel my best. I searched around for something to reset me, and put me on a better path with my eating habits. I decided to try Intermittent Fasting.

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I had heard about intermittent fasting and decided to give it a try bc it seemed like it might help me get out of my eating rut. The idea behind IF is simple. Here is what wikipedia has to say about it:
”Intermittent fasting (intermittent energy restriction or intermittent calorie restriction) is an umbrella term for various eating protocols that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. Intermittent fasting is under preliminary research to assess if it can produce weight loss comparable to long-term calorie restriction”

When I have heard this term, people are generally using it to mean eating for 8 hours a day and not eating for 12 hours a day or some other cycle of eating and not eating daily.

People use it for weight loss, to reset gut health, to reset eating habits, as an elimination or allergy diet, and more. There are a lot of variations with people eating for less time, more time, different times. Many people do not fully fast for their non eating times but drink coffee, bullet proof coffee, celery juice, a smoothing, or some such other thing.

As with almost every trend I follow or try, I’ve taken a very relaxed approach to trying intermittent fasting. I decided that I would try to keep to the idea of eating for 8 - 9 hours per day and “fast:” for 12 or so hours per day.

I’ve tried this method for a little over a week and here are my initial thoughts:
- The first few days were very easy. I ate from about 1 or 2 pm to about 9 or 10 pm (for reference, I get up around 6:30am and go to sleep around 11:30pm, taking a nap in the early afternoon). I found I was a little more mindful about my meals, ate well, and I felt quite satisfied.
- Even when I was “fasting” I still drank coffee with nut milk, tea with honey, water, etc…
- By the third or forth day I found I was starving and broke my fast early and ate basically all day (as one normally would).
- I’ve worked like this for the time I’ve been trying this method, eating only 8 or 9 hours per day for two to three days in a row and then being ravenous for a day or two, eating whenever I want.
- I’ve noticed that the longer I eat like this, the hungrier I am each morning. I wonder if this is physical or psychological?
- It’s been hard to navigate events, or a differing routines. During the time I’ve been trying this eating method, I went away for a few days and it was hard to keep to only eating 8 hours a day, or eating and fasting at the same time each day.
- The easiest days are those when I stick to my normal routine and take a nap in the late morning, early afternoon. We already fast the entire time we are a sleep and sleeping more makes it easier not to feel famished.
- Most days that the method is working for me, I eat two large meals, one early in my eating time, and one later. There are days (especially when I’m working) that I nosh the whole 8 hours, but AI think I prefer the two big meals.

I feel like I could have initiated this trial in a better way. Perhaps slowly building up my fasting time over several days, or setting more defined parameters for myself. But as I have started the way I have, I plan to continue as such, adjusting as I go.

Have any of my readers tried this fasting method?

2019 Goals | January Recap + February Goals

For every month in 2019, I plan to make and post goals here, and then check in with them at the end of the month to see how I did.

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For January | 2019

Inbox to 0
I’ve already started working on this in the last few weeks and have gone from over 8000 messages still in my inbox to just over 4000. I want to have it completed by the end of the month so I can move on for the rest of the year.

I did not get my inbox to 0, but I did delete or organize over 3000 emails. Only about 3000 more to go!

Find 2 Japanese resources
I’ve already downloaded a lesson book. I would like to find some writing and reading resources to work with as well.
I found several resources for learning Japanese in Jan! I was off to a good start the first week, but haven’t done anything since.

Blog at least 4 days every week
I did pretty well on this in Dec, so I hope to continue in Jan.
I may not have posted four days in every week, but I posted enough to make me happy.

Photograph 6 items per day for mad cat market
Weather permitting. I feel like if I set this lofty goal, I’ll at least do more than I have been currently.

This goal was nowhere near completed, but I did make some decisions this month. I want to totally revamp, rebrand and rethink this shop which I did work on a little in Jan. We can revisit this goal another time.

Add 12 listings per week to mad cat market
This is pretty much the same as above.

See above.

Add tags to 100 blog posts
Right now, I only use categories but I think tags will be easier to find and cross reference.
I prob only tagged like 15 old posts and tried to add tags to a lot of the new posts I made.

Overall, I feel like this was a medium month for achieving my goals. Not bad, but not great.

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For February | 2019

Inbox to 0
Let’s keep trying.

Have 1 life admin day
I learned about life admin days from MuchelleB and I think I need one! This is where you get things sorted that you would normally put aside, things that don’t need to happen every week, or month, but that you’ve been wanting to do. For me, this might mean making appointments, sorting out billings, taking the car to get serviced, etc…

Study Japanese 2 days a week
This seems doable.

Morning Walk 3 days a week
Not sure about this one, but I want to get back to taking morning walks, and them being distinguished from walking to work. This goes along with a goal of wanting to get outside more, as well.

Blog 4 times a week
I want to keep this up before moving on.

Add tags to 40 blog posts
Seems more reasonable.

I’m feeling good about my February goals. It should be a busy month! What are your goals for the February?

January Plant Update

I feel like I spent most of January in doors. I did have some plant observations but this was a slow month for it.
What months are you less inclined to get out and observe?

Bathroom Pothos

Bathroom Pothos

First snow of the year.

First snow of the year.

A visitor and some indoor plants.

A visitor and some indoor plants.

This local magnolia is always fuzzy.

This local magnolia is always fuzzy.

Who knows what February will bring for plants?

What did January look like where you live?

Goals, Habits, Routines

In this series I explain low impact terms, lifestyle terms, and other verbiage that I use on my blog and in my daily life, simply, in case they are new to readers. In some cases, I have done some research on them, but these definitions are mostly what I understand them to be and how I use them.

My readers have heard me talk a lot about goals, habits and routines. For these simple everyday terms I have written the dictionary definition below and then gone into detail about how I use them.

Goal
”The object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”
Goals for me are anything I am striving to do. This can include creating a new habit, or building a new routine. It can also be saving money, traveling, or being productive. See some recent posts on goals here:

Habit
”A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
I try to create habits for things I want to be better at or practice. I want to have habits for productivity, learning, wellness and

Routine
”A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.”
I love to have routines! Utilizing routines help me keep my habits and meet my goals. Some routines I have are long and take hours to complete, some are short (like a leaving the house/checking the cats routine), some are rigid and some are more loose.

Are these the definitions you would use?

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The Big Why Behind the Habits I Want to Create

One trick to building new habits is to have a strong reason for doing them. Most people will tell you that in order to make a habit stick you have to be super motivated for them to work. You have to have a “why” behind them.

When I talk about the habits I want to make, I mention why I want to make them, but here I want to state in a simple, straightforward and brutally honest way,

Here are the habits I was working on in 2018 and continue in 2019:

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Stretch everyday - I’ve never been a stretchy person and I don’t want to be old and feeble, or unable to bend and tie my shoes, etc…
Dish free sink - The sink get gross and I would rather it be free and clear. This helps make doing many tasks easier.
Read everyday - Reading makes you smarter and reminds you that the current digital age is not the only way to live.
Morning pages - I want to be able to clear my mind and think about my issues.
Daily Face Massage - I’m not getting any younger, but I don’t want to look old
Clutter-free couch - Why have a couch if it’s too messy to sit on?

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What are some of the Whys behind your habits?

6 Things To Do This Year to Become More Zero Waste

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.

One of my 2019 goals is to be come better at being Zero Waste and Plastic Free. I made huge strides in this effort in 2018. If this is your goal too, here are 6 ideas, one for each month in 2019 until Plastic Free July, of things to do to generate less waste.

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January - Trash Audit
Since we are mid way thru the month, this is a perfect time to take the next few weeks and observe what trash you are generating. This is a very easy way to see areas where you might reduce your waste. Use paper grocery bags to separate your trash into at least 4 categories: plastic trash, other trash, plastic recycling, other recycling. At the end of January, share your thoughts and results here in the comments!

February - Declutter Everything
The beginning of the year is always a good time to clean and declutter your space. Feb is the perfect month for this bc it’s short! Use whatever method you most like and works for you. Go crazy Marie Kondo style, or just your usual cleaning and declutter routine. When the month is over, give yourself a break, whether you’ve finished or not! Make sure you let us know any insights or tips you might have at the end of this month! What was wasted, what was essential?

March - Switch to Paper
An easy beginner switch to make is to ask for paper bags at the grocery or for your take-out lunch. Asking for paper is a good start to prime you to bringing your own reusable bags. Paper bags can be reused and recycled or composted. These paper bags are great to use as your trash bags. Now you’re choosing to use paper over plastic for trash bags, too! (See how many paper grocery bags you reuse and fill for the month. Was it less or more than your January trash audit?)

April - Compost
I know this one is scary for a lot of people, but composting is super easy. You can compost anywhere and there are more resources than ever before. All you really need to start is a bucket or a bowl and a place to take your compost. This can be your back yard, your balcony, your local dump, your local farmers market, a community garden, or one of many more options. How much food waste do you collect in a day, week, month, year? In April, we’ll talk about what we can do with the compost we are creating.

May - Meatless Monday
The meat, fish and dairy industries are notoriously wasteful. A great way to make an impact is to lessen your participation with them. A lot of people transitioning to a meat free diet will start with one set day a week where they avoid meat. Variations on this could be going dairy free or vegan one day a week, going raw one day, or raw before four, or eating only local, etc… The beginning of Summer (in the US) is a great time to work on this bc there are so many fresh food options. Share what you might give up or some recipes below!

June - No Bottled Water
The month before Plastic Free July can be all about giving something up. If you are still buying bottled water it’s time to give it up!! If you’ve already given up bottled water, try giving up disposable coffee cups, say no to plastic straws, stop using plastic utensils or plastic food wrap. There’s a ton of things that can be given up this month and it will prep you for a month of plastic free living. What will you stop using this month?


I hope these simple zero waste tips help you in the months to come. I will post more about each of these ideas in the month they take place. Would people be interested in a link up for each month?

Remember, going zero waste, low impact isn’t easy. We can only start where we are and do what we can. Every little bit helps.

Bullet Journal Check In: January 2019

I started my current journal half way thru November of 2018. I’m not one to start a new journal for the start of the year. I don’t make a grand show each year switching over with lots of fancy new spreads, etc… I really only do a few over view spreads, like an index and a future log. All of my other spreads I make new each month.

For Jan I have been watching a lot of new journal set ups on you tube and there are some spreads I might try to incorporate this month and in months ahead. But mainly I just use what I know works for me and continue to tweak how my bullet journal helps me be more organized and productive.

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I’ve talked about my current journal and how I thrifted it in another post. It’s a very different size than I’m used to and it took me about two month to figure out how it works best for me, but now I’m loving it!

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You’ll see that my Bullet Journal is very minimal and utilitarian and I really don’t mind if I make mistakes or try things that do not end up working out.

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I like that this journal is so large that I can put my monthly calendar and tasks on the same page. I follow this same practice for my habit tracker and my goals. My tasks are appointments and and items that I try to get done each month. My goals are more aspirations that I want to fulfill each month. Intentions and inspirations.

All of these are different than the monthly goals I’ve been setting in this blog.

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For January, I had room to put a content calendar for this month and the next. I’m still trying to get the hang of using this, but I have found it more helpful than not, so I keep at it. I also have a general idea of the content I want to post each day on the bottom of the calendars.

The next spreads are my sleep tracker and blog tracker. I like the content calendar for theoretical content, but I always track what I do actually post. I use the space under these spreads for various things, different each month.

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New to this month, I’m tracking the clothes that I wear each day. I want to couple this with outfit of the day photos, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’ve tried to track my clothes before, but this is really working for me this month. This month, I’ve been adding the clothes as I wear them, but in the future, I would like to write them all down more neatly.

The next page is an example of my daily spreads. In this journal I find this layout the easiest and most effective. I have been trying to journal a little bit about each day with all the space provided.

Below, after another page of dailies, in which you can see a shopping list, and some ideas for a reset day, is a completely failed cleaning spread. I hope to figure out a way to use this or something like it in coming months, but for now, I just gave it up.

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What do you do with unused spreads?
How do you plan your months? What does your January spreads look like?

Last Bus to Woodstock

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

Last Bus to Woodstock, An Inspector Morse Novel by Colin Dexter. Read by Kevin Whately.

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I finally caved and started buying digital audio books. I really held out for a long time, listened to every free audiobook that audible had (that interested me) before I bought new books. I waited for such a long time partly bc I knew that I would want to buy so many books!! And I was right. I still take umbrage at the prices, but there are a lot of books on Audible that are quite reasonable. I was delighted to find a whole trove of Inspector Morse novels for under $10.

Inspector Morse eyes a possible new partner as he is called to the scene of a grisly murder. As the two investigate and are constantly confronted with lies along the way, Sargent Lewis gains insights in to the odd but effective methods of the cantankerous Morse. Lewis soon learns there’s a softer side hidden there, too.

Now, I’ve long loved PBS’s Mystery series and Inspector Morse is a great one! I also particularly like the spinoff, Inspector Lewis. I’d been looking to read the original books but never managed to pick one up. In this, the first book in the morse series, we are introduced to Morse, not everyone’s favorite police inspector. He’s off beat, weird, love opera and whiskey, is prone to angery explosions. He doesn’t work or think like other officers but he gets things done. He takes a shine to Sargent Lewis, who thinks more traditionally, more by the books. Together their skills combine to solve the convoluted murder of a young woman. It might have been by destiny that they become partners, or it might have all been by Morse’s design. I really enjoy Morses grumpy style and the subtly of the back story of the characters. Last Bus feels like a first attempt, but it was very enjoyable. I can’t wait to listen to more of this series. One of the things I loved most about this Audio book was that it was read by the actor that played Lewis in both series!! I highly recommend this book for those who like police novels, British novels, and murder mysteries.

Do you have a favorite Inspector?

Monthly Goals - January 2019

All the goal setting in the beginning of the year has me itching to get things done. I posted my overall goals for the year, but I want to make some smaller goals for each month, as well. Some of these align with the larger goals. Some are just things I need to get done.

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For January | 2019

Inbox to 0
I’ve already started working on this in the last few weeks and have gone from over 8000 messages still in my inbox to just over 4000. I want to have it completed by the end of the month so I can move on for the rest of the year.

Find 2 Japanese resources
I’ve already downloaded a lesson book. I would like to find some writing and reading resources to work with as well.

Blog at least 4 days every week
I did pretty well on this in Dec, so I hope to continue in Jan.

Photograph 6 items per day for mad cat market
Weather permitting. I feel like if I set this lofty goal, I’ll at least do more than I have been currently.

Add 12 listings per week to mad cat market
This is pretty much the same as above.

Add tags to 100 blog posts
Right now, I only use categories but I think tags will be easier to find and cross reference.

When making these goals, I didn’t realize that they are almost all about technology. I like that without trying, I made a theme for this month.

These seem like actionable and achievable goals for this month. What are some of your goals for January?

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December Plant Update

December tends to be a tough month for plant observations, and this one was the same. It’s cold, Winter has set in, it’s a busy month, and this year we were sick for a big chunk of the month. There were still some good plants this month. December was a month of critters! Perhaps this we should be calling these posts Plant and Animal Observations?

On a warm day, Tom checks out if there’s any catnip left.

On a warm day, Tom checks out if there’s any catnip left.

Our garden, waiting for spring.

Our garden, waiting for spring.

The pines are happy in the yard.

The pines are happy in the yard.

The vines are happy in the kitchen.

The vines are happy in the kitchen.

December was cold, but there were enough warm days to go to the beach.

December was cold, but there were enough warm days to go to the beach.

Can you spot the cardinal and blue jay?

Can you spot the cardinal and blue jay?

Some stray kitties getting special attention.

Some stray kitties getting special attention.

A night visitor.

A night visitor.

A happy sidewalk.

A happy sidewalk.

Very festive front yard.

Very festive front yard.

Also festive.

Also festive.

We don’t get an xmas tree anymore, which overall we are happy about. But there is something nice about having an ever green in the house during the darkest days and winter months. I’m always happy to visit family who continue this tradition.

It’s been a great year of plant observations. I love to go back thru and see what was happening in each month. In the coming year, I hope there are many garden posts, many houseplants observations, and lots of getting outside into nature!

What were your favorite plant moments of 2018?