Cold Hands, Warm Heart

My paternal grandmother (I call her Nana) has poor circulation, just like me. Our hands and feet are always cold. When I was little, she used to take my tiny hand between her own much larger ones and try to bring some warmth back to my chilly digits. While doing it, she’d typically intone, “Cold hands, warm heart.” I still say it to myself quite often.

My apartment is cold. It’s only in the upper 60’s, but there’s a chill in the air, and my fingers and toes feel like fledgling ice cubes. I’m sitting on my couch, where I’ve been mulling over what to write for a couple of hours now. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve started and stopped multiple times. In all, I’ve probably already written 700 words or so, then backspaced them all into the aether.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. It will be 2015 soon. I wonder how things have changed since last year, and how they’ve stayed the same. It’s harder to think it over this year, since my concentration isn’t what it used to be. My thoughts scatter like the wind as I reach for them. I’m exhausted with the process.

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The negatives of this year have been:

Working myself ragged to make ends meet.

Lying to everyone that I was fine when I clearly wasn’t, then worrying about all of the lies so much that I was even more depressed.

Promising more to everyone else than I had to give.

Not promising enough to myself.

Constantly berating myself for not “achieving” at writing, weight, health, money, womanhood, etc.

Shutting out my family because I don’t want them to see how much I’m struggling trying to be someone they’ll be proud of.

Not handling my money as intelligently as originally planned.

Listening too much to other people’s advice. It’s well-meaning, but we are not one-size-fits-all, and other people need to understand that “helpful” advice for how to build a great life can often come across as a condemnation of someone’s shortcomings. Don’t tell people what to do unless they ask you, and even then, be gentle with your phrasing.

 

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The positives of this year have been:

Making up my mind to leave my relationship – then actually doing it.

Falling madly in love when – and with whom – I least expected it.

Holding down two full time jobs, and using the money more wisely than I would have a couple of years ago (yeah, this is on both lists).

Making a home for myself in a desirable neighborhood.

Rolling with the punches in a new relationship with pre-existing issues on both sides that many would have run from, making the bond stronger and sweeter than anything I’ve ever known.

Finally feeling completely at home with being a geek. Nothing to hide, no one to laugh at my interests – just other people who want to play board games, read fantasy novels, and love to dress up in costume as much as I do.

Reaffirming friendships with some of my most beloved friends.

Creating new friendships with a generous helping of new faces.

Coming to terms with the fact that I’m depressed, and need help.

Having the courage to join a really great gym – AND go to classes, even when I was scared.

Beating the back and hip pain that’s been a constant in my life for the last five years (!!!)

happy ending

I think that overall I’ve done a good job. I’d love to look back over this year from a place of perfection, but I’m never going to have that. We’ll never be perfect, any of us, and it’s ridiculous to try. What I can have is love, and friendship, and a decent selection of people who not only get what I’m going through, but are humble enough to know that sometimes they can serve best by just being there.

I’ve been sad and confused and worn out for the last few years, and I had somehow gotten used to it. I was treating it with plenty of wine and potato chips, and lots of sleeping late and trying to avoid conversation as much as possible. But this year I’ve been slowly but surely coming to terms with how much of my behavior has been a coping mechanism for depression. Whether it’s something brought on by my as-yet untreated thyroid issue, the constant back and hip pain, or if I just need therapy (or all of the above), I get it now. Being in a great spot with my love life, and having lots of opportunity to talk about emotions and mental state in person and here on the blog helped me to start to wrap my head around the fact that something’s not normal in my chemistry at the moment.

So that’s what I’m going to work on in 2015. I want to be OK again. I want my warm heart back. I want to put it to work again, and shine for other people. But before I can do that, before I can be bigger for everyone else, I need to get better for myself.

Happy New Year, my beautiful, mysterious internet friends. May you have health and happiness in the coming turn around the sun.

 

Resolutions 2013: Update #3

Weirdly enough, I’ve been thinking it was time to write an update on my 2013 resolutions. Imagine my surprise when yesterday’s Daily Post prompt was to discuss the state of my year thus far. Here’s what I said I’d be doing, and what I’m thinking about what I’ve accomplished thus far…

I said that I’d –

1) Grow my personal freelance business. In January, I said, “I want to have a website, pricing structure, service list, and detailed portfolio put together by the end of February 2013…It would be great to be making at least $45k by the end of the year.” I’m not that far along with everything. I have business cards, an OK logo, a site I’m not really maintaining (and not happy with, which is probably why I’m not maintaining it), and other than that, not much else – other than clients. How I’ve gotten clients isn’t a mystery, but is odd. What’s odder is that now that I have them, I’m not really happy about it. I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a freelancer, at least not now, when everyone’s trying to get you to work for free. If I had to depend on my freelance clients, I’d starve to death, no bones about it. Not to mention that I really feel like I should be working to help the world, and it feels like going into non-profit is the better path…

2) Expand my marketing prowess. I said that I’d like to, “Become a member of the AMA. Sign up for a social media scheduling and analytics program like Sprout or something similar…Blog about marketing daily.” I’m using Sprout Social, contributed to an award-winning project, attended a marketing conference, and have been reading up on marketing & advertising much more than ever before. I feel like I could still be doing more, but that’s probably a common feeling in this business.

3) Declare a new personal style. According to January-me, “It’s time for my clothes to reflect my place in the world. Stat.” My hair is awesome, but I’m still nowhere near where I’d like to be, style-wise. A lot of that has to do with #4, and also with #8. I’ll get there; it’s just not happening as quickly as I’d like.

4) Start seeing a personal trainer! I’m back with my personal trainer, and going to the gym daily. Now all I’ve got to do is keep it up. And stop eating donuts – I just ate two today. Evil coworkers.

5) Join a marching krewe/dance team. No luck yet, and now I don’t know if it’s even worth my time, really.

6) Read more. I’ve read a lot more this year than I did last year, but I could use a stricter reading schedule.

7) Write more. I’m happy with where I’m at with this one. You guys see me here almost every day, and sometimes multiple times a day. It would be good if I could get my schedule worked out so I could do more creative writing on a regular basis, but lately I’ve been feeling very good about following my gut and telling the truth about my life here on the blog. It feels good to use this blog as a place to explore my world and my inner workings – and most of all, to connect with YOU.

8) Pay off my credit cards. One card to go – woohoo!!! I’m really excited about this one. Once I’m done paying off the last card, there are so many great changes I’ll finally be able to make. Hoping it will be doable by the end of the year, if not before.

9) Stop letting my relationships define who I am and how I act. I said it before and it still holds true – for the most part I’m feeling good about my dating relationship. We’ve had hard days and great days, and lately it’s been pretty nice. However, obviously my work relationships – particularly with one client I’d love to lose – could use a lot of work, as they’re definitely creating havoc in my emotional sphere.

10) Travel more! Buy a car! Run longer distances! Downsize my physical possessions! Excel at speaking to people about my professional capabilities! Learn to do something new! Make things! Take my cats to get their teeth cleaned! Go back to Pagan school and learn more!

In the last few months I’ve been to NYC, Savannah, Charleston, Austin & the beach – so I guess I’m doing pretty well. Not yet, but that will be one big change for next year! I’ve actually started running shorter distances, and am happy with it. I’ve been donating/throwing out stuff for months, but am ready to do another big purge. Still not doing so great, though I did give a social media marketing presentation last month! I’m getting ready to learn how to move this site over to WordPress.org soon – eek. Do cocktails count? Done! Joined, but still haven’t done my reading – oh well.

Resolutions 2013: Update #2

Summer is officially here, so it’s time to look into my resolutions and see how well I’m doing. I can tell you that today I feel rather hopeless, a little fat, a lot frazzled. I feel stuck, so hoping that going through the resolutions will help me see that I’m on the right track. If not, guess I’ll have to spend my upcoming vacation to NYC reevaluating what I’m doing on a daily basis. I’ve got a pretty good idea of where my major hangup is – particularly with keeping one client that just wears me out, emotionally – but let’s go through these things one by one and see, shall we?

Here’s what I said I’d be doing with my year…

1) Grow my personal freelance business. Back in January, I said, “I want to have a website, pricing structure, service list, and detailed portfolio put together by the end of February 2013…It would be great to be making at least $45k by the end of the year.” In February I was pulling a site together, and was pretty sure that all I needed to do was work out pricing and scheduling. Unfortunately, I’m back to square one. About a month ago, I went to this convention, and while at the convention a lot of great ideas were thrown my way. One of the coolest things to come out of it all was walking away with a thought for a business name, and a new direction for my business. Unfortunately, new business name meant new website, and new website meant new logo, emails, everything else. I’ve got the site, set up the mail, have things kind of together – but no logo, and no design. My design buddy is moving out of town at the end of the week, and he’s put my stuff on the back burner. Which is cool, but a little stressful for me. Not that I’m doing much better. I need to be blogging about marketing stuff daily and setting up a lot more stuff online, but I feel trapped by the lack of a logo and site design. I don’t want to put my name out there until I look good, but I also can’t get anywhere until my name is out there. It’s not really a Catch-22, but it sure feels like one right now.

The other issue that I’m having is that I’m not managing my time properly, and it’s for the most part because I’m unhappy with the direction my current projects are taking. One client pays well, but I really dislike working with her. It’s soul crushing, and I want to stop, but I need the money. Another client is so fun to work for, but he can’t afford to pay me, like, at all. The other client is sweet, and can afford to pay, but not enough to keep me afloat. The stress is eating me alive, and I’m trying hard to convince myself that it will get better, but will it?

2) Expand my marketing prowess. I wanted to, “Become a member of the AMA. Sign up for a social media scheduling and analytics program like Sprout or something similar…Blog about marketing daily.” I’m using Sprout Social, so that’s a big plus. Also, my company won an award for a project for which I was a main contributor (unfortunately, my name wasn’t assigned to the correct title in the award paperwork, so I lost out on getting the correct praise, but that’s a lesson learned). I’ve also been to a convention and have taken to reading a lot more marketing material online. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m working at it.

3) Declare a new personal style. I opined, “It’s time for my clothes to reflect my place in the world. Stat.” Still working on this, but I’m getting there. Love my hair, have started taking more care with makeup and styling, and I spent a few bucks at Banana Republic and picked up some very chic choices. I’m not perfect, but a look is SLOWLY pulling itself together. Today I’m looking a little sloppy though 😦

4) Start seeing a personal trainer! I was seeing a personal trainer for a couple months straight, and was really doing good with this. Then I got sick, then I had a bad sunburn, and one thing has led to another ever since. Now it’s almost a couple of months of me not going to the trainer or the gym on a regular basis, and I’m officially an asshole.

5) Join a marching krewe/dance team. No luck yet, though my friend still thinks she can get me in.

6) Read more. I’ve been doing OK at this one, actually. Could definitely step up my game, but I’m reading a book right now, and I read one a couple of weeks ago, so that’s something.

7) Write more. Doing better at this one. Still need to work much harder at getting some creative writing done on a regular basis. This is where this post starts to really depress me. Seriously, I’m not doing ANYTHING USEFUL with my life, just majorly sucking at everything.

8) Pay off my credit cards. I paid off two of my credit cards back in February, then promptly ran charges up on both of them, despite promising to never put anything on a CC again unless it was a dire emergency. Realizing my idiocy, I just closed all but one CC, and have paid off two of those. I have two more cards to pay off, one of which I assume will get paid off next week. The other one is a big’un, which is partially why I’m so depressed that I can’t quit my client. She’s my only source of income large enough to put a dent in it. This sucks.

9) Stop letting my relationships define who I am and how I act. Here I am, almost six months in, and feeling good about my dating relationship. However, obviously my work relationships could use a lot of work, as they’re definitely creating havoc in my emotional sphere.

10) Travel more! Buy a car! Run longer distances! Downsize my physical possessions! Excel at speaking to people about my professional capabilities! Learn to do something new! Make things! Take my cats to get their teeth cleaned! Go back to Pagan school and learn more!

Going to NYC! No way in hell that’s happening this year! I ran a 10K recently! I’ve been donating/throwing out stuff for months! Uh oh! I cooked a casserole – does that count? Just joined the 30 Days Challenge! Doctor said their teeth are OK, actually! I joined up but haven’t read a damn thing 😦

Just want to crawl back in bed now. Boo.

Resolutions 2013: Update #1

February will soon be coming to a close, so it seemed like a good idea to peek in on my New Year’s Resolutions and see if I’m still in line. Surprisingly, it looks like I’m actually doing pretty well, or at least staying on target. This, despite having a weird, lingering head cold for the last two weeks, plus living through Mardi Gras and Super Bowl madness.

Here’s what I said I’d be doing with my year…

1) Grow my personal freelance business. Back in January, I said, “I want to have a website, pricing structure, service list, and detailed portfolio put together by the end of February 2013…It would be great to be making at least $45k by the end of the year.” I’ve almost got the website set up, and am still working on the pricing structure and portfolio. I think I should have them done by the end of the month.

2) Expand my marketing prowess. I wanted to, “Become a member of the AMA. Sign up for a social media scheduling and analytics program like Sprout or something similar…Blog about marketing daily.” I’m not all there yet, but I have signed up for Sprout, and my company just won an ADDY Award. We’ll find out on Saturday what the award was for, and hopefully it was something to which I contributed my time and ideas…I’d love to have an advertising award under my belt!

3) Declare a new personal style. I opined, “It’s time for my clothes to reflect my place in the world. Stat.” I’m still getting there. I’ve decided that I’m going to give it one last major push at dropping a dress size before spending money on new clothes, but I’m still spending here and there to update the products I use to make myself presentable. I’ve been reading this awesome book called How to Look Expensive, and have been stocking up on recommended beauty buys that are slowly but surely turning me into a polished, glamourous girl. It’s pretty awesome that I’ve got the Kindle app on my iPhone, because every time I go shopping (Walmart, mostly) I flip through the book to see what products are recommended and see if I can buy one. I’m getting one product at a time, sticking with the least expensive buys, and then I’ll budget for the bigger purchases (I’d rather go cheap on my eyeliner and splurge on anti-wrinkle creams).

4) Start seeing a personal trainer! I’ve been seeing Eric Capers at Pro Fitness Trainers of New Orleans for about a month and a half now, and my arms are definitely seeing some difference. I’m not losing weight or seeing results as quickly as I should just because I’m not giving myself enough time to get to the gym and yoga like I should, plus I’ve been really sick all this week. That’s changing, though. Tomorrow I start back at the gym and it will be non-stop, no-holds-barred action.

5) Join a marching krewe/dance team. I haven’t joined a marching krewe yet, but I talked briefly with a friend of mine who marches with the Pussyfooters and said she thought she could get me in. Plus, Eric (the personal trainer) trains a Pussyfooter who might be able to get me in if my friend can’t. So it looks like a serious possibility! Now that Mardi Gras is officially over, I’ll get in contact with my friend in the next week or so and find out what my chances are – I’m ready to lace up my pink corset and shake it!

6) Read more. I’ve read a few books already this year, and since my goal is to read a couple a month, I’m doing OK. I still need to find time to dedicate to reading marketing materials, though. I guess it’s time to make a very detailed life schedule and stick to it (boring, but necessary, I guess).

7) Write more. Sucking at this one. What’s weird, though, is that I met a published fiction author the other day who invited me to come out and join his writers’ group. Hmmm…is the universe trying to tell me something?

8) Pay off my credit cards. Have I mentioned lately how much I rock? I paid off not one, but TWO, YES TWO, credit cards last week, and put a substantial amount of money into a third card. I still haven’t gotten paid out for those stocks yet, but as soon as that check comes in I’ll pay off a third card and then all I’ll have left is one more. I can’t imagine how much nicer it’s going to be to not have credit card debt! I’m never ever EVER putting purchases on a credit card again unless it’s a dire emergency.

9) Stop letting my relationships define who I am and how I act. Taking care of this nicely. It’s always an uphill battle…it’s strange to be so strong and yet so very weak, especially when the other people aren’t trying to control me at all – it’s all me, making up boxes that I have to then fit into.

10) Travel more! Buy a car! Run longer distances! Downsize my physical possessions! Excel at speaking to people about my professional capabilities! Learn to do something new! Make things! Take my cats to get their teeth cleaned! Go back to Pagan school and learn more!

I will! Could happen! Already happening (signed up for a 10k in March)! Just got rid of two boxes of crap today! Just worked on talking to people about marketing today! Not yet, but soon! Starting a once-a-month craft group with friends! Ooops, need to do this! Signed up, now to schedule it in!

 

On Going Boldly – First Thoughts on 2013 Resolutions

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With Christmas right around the corner, and the new year not too far behind, I’m in a bit of a funk today. It doesn’t help that I’ve got an awful tummy ache, a HUGE zit slowly coming to fruition right on the corner of my lip, where no amount of concealer will help, and The Man and I seem to be having some kind of standoff re: my inability to come up with any ideas on what to cook for his parents’ Christmas Eve shindig.

None of this matters a year from now, so it’s time to take away the power I’m giving to these stupid little non-happenings, and put that intention into something more useful. Let’s start planning what I’ll be working on making better this year, shall we?

First, a little recap on last year’s resolutions is in order…

1) Learn to swim. I took classes, and did learn some basic water safety and managed to learn to float on my face and on my back, plus swim short distances. There’s still a lot to learn, and I’d love to get better when I can afford more lessons, but considering that it took me 30 years to get to the point where I wasn’t deathly afraid to be in a swimming pool, I think I’d call that a resolution accomplished.

2) Start running 5K races again. I ran one 5K this year – resolution not accomplished. However, it’s important to note that I did run lots of 3 mile runs on my own, which is one of the reasons I wanted to sign up for 5Ks in the first place. So this wasn’t a complete failure, just not as fleshed out as I would have preferred.

3) Budget food expenditures. I did great with this one. My food costs did go down significantly this year, in part because I was dirt poor after quitting my job in May, but also because I started putting a cap on what I allowed myself to spend on groceries. Now that I’m eating better, my costs have gone down even more.

4) Put money in my savings account. Totally rocked this one! For the first half of the year, I kept a savings account in anticipation of my summer trip to Croatia and Italy. After returning from the trip, I started saving 30% of every freelance paycheck; the amount I’ve saved will hopefully not only pay off my taxes at the end of the year, but will also give me enough left over to pay off of a credit card. Which leads me to…

5) Pay off credit cards. I did pay off one credit card this year, but promptly opened another to pay for an iPad (idiotic, yes). Now I have four cards, and about 11K in CC debt. It’s kind of shitty, but I’m not panicking. Once again, I’ve got a plan – and a better reason to make it happen, but I won’t go into details just yet. Let’s just call this resolution a complete failure so far.

6) Be happy and have fun. I’ve had some great times this year, and overall have gone out of my way to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. In comparison to where I was last year, I’m a MUCH happier girl with a lot more going for me. It can always be better, of course – can anyone be TOO happy? – but overall, I feel like I did a great job on this resolution.

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7) Finish writing at least one of my books. Failure…utter and complete failure.

8) Create a schedule and stick to it! Hmmm. Not sure I’ve accomplished exactly what I thought I would when I wrote that line, but my scheduling ability has definitely improved greatly over the last year. I pack a lot more stuff into each day now than I used to, but could still stand a lot of improvement. Procrastination remains one of my biggest flaws, and it’s something I’m probably going to spend my whole life working on. The biggest thing that’s helped me start putting my thoughts and activities in order on a daily basis is the new planner I started using a few months ago, the Action Day Planner. It’s great for list-makers like me, with places to separate out weekly tasks, daily goals/deadlines, your daily appointments, and then space to make notes about your big-picture goals and steps to help achieve them. If your mind gets jumbled with tasks and goals at all levels of importance, it’s a great planner to have. It’s made my life SO much easier.

Action Day Planner

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So, what am I thinking about for this year’s resolutions? My biggest concern lately is finding a kind of personal freedom that I’ve been lacking lately. I experienced so much beauty and joy on my trip to Europe this summer, and also  had a great brush with extreme spiritual power. I walked away from Assisi with a heart full of joy and light – part of it from visiting St. Francis, but part of it from running into one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding an hour’s conversation with. In her, I saw a portion of what my life could be if I could just start taking a look at the world through different eyes – so I did. And it worked.

I want to expand on that, and to live my life with much greater spiritual intent, but certain parts of my life have me feeling trapped and powerless after a certain point. I’m at a weird crossroads where I have to decide between two extremely different kinds of lives, and choose the person I want to grow to become. I’m frightened – incredibly frightened. Paralyzed might be a better word for it, because I’ve had a pretty good idea for some time that only one of the two possible roads would suit me to a t, and it will involve causing pain to others in the beginning. I’m finding it hard to dredge up the courage to move forward with doling out the pain, even though the adventure that lies beyond is so tempting to me. I’ve just got to spend some time working up to it. I found the strength to quit my job this summer – I’ll find the strength to do what I need to if I just keep working at it.

So here’s what I’m thinking overall. This list will probably grow and/or morph by New Year’s, but it’s a start.

1) Grow my personal freelance business. I want to have a website, pricing structure, service list, and detailed portfolio put together by the end of February 2013. I’ve got enough work on my plate right now that I don’t necessarily need more, but I’d like to get my schedule together a little better to maybe free up some time for one or two more clients. It would be great to be making at least $45k by the end of the year, between my full time gig and my freelance situation.

2) Expand my marketing prowess. Become a member of the AMA. Sign up for a social media scheduling and analytics program like Sprout or something similar, so I can schedule more, faster, and set up analytics to give my clients more information. Blog about marketing daily (on my business site – don’t worry, I won’t bore you with too much business stuff here, hopefully).

3) Declare a new personal style. I’ve been working towards this slowly but surely, but it’s time to move forward in fashion. I’m a 31 year old professional with a creative streak, but all my clothes say is that I’m stuck in the 9os. My “uniform” is jeans, a t-shirt, and Chuck Taylors, which would be fine if they were nice jeans or cool t-shirts, but that’s not the case. It’s time for my clothes to reflect my place in the world. Stat.

4) Start seeing a personal trainer! This one’s in the bag, because my newest client is a trainer, and we’re going to swap specialties. My goal is not to lose weight (though it will be a great side effect) – I want to get into the best shape of my life, feel healthy and alive (with more energy to think straight and work hard), wear a smaller pants size, and feel strong and capable enough to join one of the many dance teams that dance in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades.

5) Join a marching krewe/dance team. The Sirens of New Orleans, the Pussyfooters, the Bearded Oysters, the Camel Toe Lady Steppers, the Muffalottas…the list goes on. It’s a pretty new phenomenon, but ladies are lining up to get in costume and dance their way through Mardi Gras – and I want to dance, too!

6) Read more. I’m going to start off small on this one – with just a book or two a month. I used to read voraciously, a few books a week at the least. Now I’m lucky to read a few books a year. That’s just complete bullshit, and it’s got to change.

7) Write more. See last year’s failure, above.

8) Pay off my credit cards. Even though I didn’t manage to make this happen yet, I am proud that I’ve been able to move away from using my credit cards over the last few months. Sure, I’m still in debt, but just being able to stick with my actual bank account and not overspend money that I don’t have is a HUGE step for me. What can I say – I’m just not great with telling myself no. But I’ve gotten better, and will get better still. As soon as I pay my taxes, the rest of my savings is going to paying off a card. Also, I’m waiting on a payout from some stocks I bought a few months ago, and that should pay off another card. Then if I play my cards right, I can live off of my day job and use my freelance jobs to pay off the remainder of the CC debt. To make this more attractive, I’m going to tell myself that I’m not allowed to save for travel until the cards are paid, so that as soon as the cards are paid off, every cent I’d normally be using for CCs is going to go into my fund to go on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

9) Stop letting my relationships define who I am and how I act. I won’t go into this any further, but I know what I mean, and that’s enough. It’s time to start following my own path, and if anyone doesn’t like it, they’ve got to go.

10) Travel more! Buy a car! Run longer distances! Downsize my physical possessions! Excel at speaking to people about my professional capabilities! Learn to do something new! Make things! Take my cats to get their teeth cleaned! Go back to Pagan school and learn more!

Take control of my life.

Resolution Update #7 – I Can Swim!!!!

It’s almost April, and definitely time to regroup and consider how far I’ve gotten with my 2012 New Year’s resolutions.

1) Learning to Swim. I’m still doing swim lessons once a week, and today for the first time I actually swam correctly and confidently. I’ve been doing all of the moves right for awhile, but not quite putting everything together correctly. Some days my kicks would be weak, other days I couldn’t figure out the arms, and most days I got tired and ended up breathing water. Today everything just came naturally and I knew I had finally figured it all out. I’m still working on being a strong swimmer – that’s going to take awhile – but now this means I get to move on to learning my backstroke (for which I started learning the basics a few weeks ago).

2) Start Running 5K Races Again. OK, I suck at this. I ran one 5K, but then stopped running altogether. Must begin running again.

3) Budget Food Expenditures. According to my bank account, I’ve been doing pretty well with this one. I was originally supposed to spend around $160/month on food, and instead it’s looking closer to $200/month, but that’s still not bad. Now it’s time to start working on buying healthier stuff…yesterday I bought chips, dip, cake mix & frosting, and pimento cheese spread. Horrible.

4) Put Money in My Savings Account. I’m doing GREAT with this. I could be doing better, but I’m pretty happy with where I’m headed.

5) Pay Off Credit Cards. I should be CC debt free by the end of April (fingers crossed).

6) Be Happy and Have Fun. For me the first major step towards this goal is getting another job, and I have a job interview tomorrow, so here’s me working hard to get where I want to go. Also, I’m putting in more time in practicing music, since singing with the band always puts me in a great mood. I’ve been taking baby steps toward getting (and keeping) in touch with all of my friends who live far away, and have also not been so strict with myself when it comes to food and fashion, which I know directly contradicts my earlier goal of saving money, but both make me happy and I’ve somehow got to learn to balance so I don’t die with money and a frown on my face.

7) Finish Writing at Least One of My Books. (I haven’t even started working on this goal. Shame on me.) That was actually what I wrote in late January when I first started recapping my work on reaching New Year’s goals. I’m officially a twit.

8) Create a Schedule and Stick to it. Some things are just never going to happen, and we’ve got to be honest with ourselves. Schedules and tidy living spaces will never be my forte. Meh.

If I were grading myself I suppose I’d have to give myself a bad grade, but I’m pretty stoked about swimming FINALLY at age 30, so I’m giving myself an A++++

Buddha and Mr. Potato head also agree that it’s a great idea to go easy on myself and enjoy my triumphs without letting not-so-triumphant moments overshadow.

Resolution Update #6 & Total Lean 7 Day Fast Loss: Day 6

Cutting up Credit Card

For those of you who have been tuning in now and then since January 1st, I just wanted to jump up and down and celebrate with you for a second – two minutes ago I just paid off Credit Card #2!!!!!! It’s the second one that I’ve managed to pay off since New Years, and only two more to go before I’m in a much more relaxed debt situation (just student loans left, which we all know are inescapable). So very happy right now.

Also, while I’m at it, might as well do my daily update on the diet scene. Yesterday I ate a bologna sandwich, bowl of soup, helping of yogurt, and 100 calories’ worth of popcorn, and with that and the shakes, I managed to blow my Weight Watchers points for the day out of the water. Thus, it should be no surprise to me that today I am again 157.4 lbs. Oh well, at least I’m holding without exercising. I’m going to start working out again as soon as my cold has gotten better, and I think between the shakes, counting points with WW, and working my butt off, I’ll drop weight very quickly.

Speaking of shakes, I ordered more from GNC.com last night, and had some really annoying difficulties at checkout. In the end I actually had to call customer service to get everything fixed. The customer service guy was very nice, and helped me address the problem (which had to do with Paypal not ‘talking’ to the GNC page correctly). After I got it all sorted out and paid, I was invited to do one of those short online surveys to talk about my experience. I told the truth about what had happened, and how unhappy I was that it took me 30 minutes to check out. How surprised was I this morning when I got an apology email from GNC, in which they explained more about the tech difficulties I had gone through and also told me they were refunding me for the 2 day shipping costs I had paid?!? So cool of them. I hope they get the tech bit figured out a little better, but overall I’m really happy with their level of customer service, and the fact I just saved $15 on my order.

Resolution Update #4

Now that we’ve reached the third week of January, I thought it might be time to write another update on how it’s going with my New Year’s Resolutions. I’m actually doing pretty well, despite a few minor setbacks that I should be addressing at the end of this week.

1) Learning to Swim. I did sign up for swim lessons again, and last week I did a front stroke across the pool and was able to take two breaths while swimming. My instructor says that my kicks and arms are great, and I can actually feel a difference now in the way my body moves through the water. I think if I can stop over-thinking things when I’m in the water, I’ll be able to breathe while swimming pretty soon. I understand now that when you’re swimming, your body naturally rocks side to side, and that it’s all about letting your body’s natural movement tell you when to lift your head to the side and take a breath. All there is now is to keep working at it until I’ve got it down pat. Oooh, I also learned to float on my back without help, which is HUGE, especially since I started swim lessons being pretty terrified of not touching bottom.

2) Start Running 5K Races Again. I haven’t signed up for one yet, but I’m going to run in a 5K race on January 29th. I’ve been running daily, and though my time isn’t great, I’m actually running, not walking. Even cooler, a friend and old coworker of mine got into running after I ran my marathon in 2009. He started running longer distances just about the time I was in too much pain to continue. Now he’s been running longer races, and I asked him if he’d be interested in doing a 5K with me. He was enthusiastic about it, and now we’re on the same street team in RunKeeper and encouraging each other via Facebook daily. It’s nice. I know we won’t be racing against each other or anything like that, but it’s great to have a buddy to do this kind of stuff with. It only makes me want to improve.

3) Budget Food Expenditures. Honestly, I’m not doing great at this, but I’m a lot better off than I was before the New Year, so we’ll keep working at it. I at least haven’t been spending exorbitant amounts on snack foods, so that’s something. It’s just that I know I could really cut back on my grocery spending, and live for a while on what I already have stored up. I’ve been better about eating the food I already have, but I did break down and go to Whole Foods the other day to stock up on soup and eggs, which definitely could have been avoided. One funny thing that happened with this is that on Saturday, I did end up buying brie, crackers and prosciutto at the store. When I got home and tried the brie (it was a new brand), it was so gross that I ended up throwing it away. It was kind of like a tap on the shoulder from the Universe, to remind me I wasn’t supposed to be wasting money on stuff like that, anyway.

4) Put Money in My Savings Account. I did! I’m awesome! I organized my budget so that the first expenditure of every paycheck is to put money in my savings account, and since it’s such a pain to withdraw money from the account, I should end up doing pretty well on this goal. In addition, as I mentioned awhile ago, I’m receiving a spot of loan money that is going to help me with my next resolution, thereby in the long run helping me save money away, as well.

5) Pay Off Credit Cards. Like I said, I’m trying to carefully watch my money in order to pay off my cards, and I’ll also be getting a little chunk of change next month that will help me with this goal. I hope to be CC debt free by May, and maybe even sooner, depending on where I’m able to make more cuts in my budget.

6) Be Happy and Have Fun. Still working on this one, but it’s much easier to be happy when you’re physically fit, so that’s something I have going for me. One thing that’s impeding my ability to go out as much is still not having my license renewed, so got to take care of that on Friday. Otherwise, I’ve made plans to hang out with a new girlfriend that I’ve been playing Weds. night trivia with for the last couple of months. We’re going to go out dancing on Saturday, which will be the first non-trivia thing we’ve done together. Hopefully it’ll be fun, and I’ll have made a new friend.

7) Finish Writing at Least One of My Books. I haven’t even started working on this goal. Shame on me.

8) Create a Schedule and Stick to it. Um, so no. I haven’t been able to create a schedule OR stick to it, other than the calendar I put up on the fridge the other night that I fill in to prove that I’ve run, done Zumba and weighed myself every day. So I guess that’s kind of a schedule, but what I really meant by this resolution was to wake up earlier and get more work done. Now that I’ve got my little part time copywriting job, this is even more important than ever. Needs improvement.

Overall, I’d give myself a B- on this, though I’m somewhat biased. What do you think?

Are you doing better on your resolutions, if you made them?

Resolution Update #2

I got paid today. Since my biggest resolution is to create a budget and stick to it, I logged in to my account and starting paying bills, knowing that after paying everything I’d be broke again for 2 weeks. Now suddenly I’m frozen. I just can’t make any decisions, even though the bills I have to pay are all mapped out for me in an Excel document. I know it’s just a matter of visiting some websites, typing in some numbers, and sucking it up, but when I think about another two weeks with no chance of a social life or a meal I truly salivate over, everything tenses up. Still, this is just me being extremely spoiled. Think about all of those people who neither make enough money to pay bills nor eat at all. Think about all the children going hungry, the families being kicked out of their homes. Think about what it would be like if I suddenly lost my job and was in as much debt as I’m in now. Truly unpleasant, as upposed to just a tad unpleasant. Got to do this. After all, it’s my own damn fault that my CC’s are where they are, and that I’m having cravings for food that I could never actually afford, anyway. What a horrible little brat I am.

Off to delete my paycheck. I’ll check back in later.