Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Seventeen in '17 Update: January

Alright, time for update number one!  January went by in a total blur; I honestly cannot believe that tomorrow is the first day of February.  With that being said, I was able to work on a few things on my 17 in '17 list!  I count this as a huge victory since "blur" usually means "nothing gets done besides the absolute basics".  Let's go through this one-by-one, shall we?

1.)  Finish Amalia's room redo. - Nope.  Didn't get done.  But Mollie has impressed upon me how important this is for her, so I think this might just be the next project.

2.)  Make our quilt. - I did it!  Well, maybe I should say WE did it.  My mom and sister have made tons more quilts than I have, so I enlisted their help to get this one done.  Christine did the majority of the cutting, Mom did the pinning, the ironing, and the final quilting, and I did the piece sewing and helped feed the quilt to my mom while she worked it through her sewing machine for the quilting.  I am so excited about how it turned out.  (Though now that I look at the picture, I think my husband may have put it on the bed sideways ... still lovely, sideways or not.)

3.)  Make/get the kids Traveler's notebooks. - I didn't get that done, but I think that events (i.e., some impressive meltdowns) this month highlighted to me why I want to get this done.

4.)  Find a new doctor. - I worked on this a bit, but I haven't scheduled an appointment with one yet.  Hopefully this will happen in February.

5.)  Exercise at least five days a week. - This didn't happen, but I got pretty close to it.  I exercised all the days I actually could, so I'm going to chalk this one to a win.

6.)  Stop eating by 9:30 p.m. - I was successful about half the time with this one.  I think more awareness of what time it is will help me be more successful.

7.)  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. - Nope.  Not once.  The closest I got was 6 hours and 45 minutes, and a couple of the days I didn't get above 6 hours.  *sigh*  We'll see how it goes this month.

8.)  Drink more water. - I was able to do this most days, and I was particularly successful on days I exercised as well.

9.)  Clean off my desk and maintain it.  - *sigh*  Nope.

I mean, it looks slightly better than this now, but I still have to move a bunch of stuff if I want to sit down or actually use my desk.  Definitely need to work on this one.

10.)  Get the unfinished side of the basement into a usable state. - Um ...

Not so much.

11.)  Keep the counter cleaned off. - One end has been stubborn ...

 ... the other end has been more cooperative, but still not ideal.

12.)  Add recipes to my repertoire. - No success here.  I need to work on this one a little more diligently.

13.)  Take more pictures. -  I definitely succeeded at this one!  My family wasn't always thrilled about it, though.

14.)  Write five blog posts per month. - I did not accomplish this one entirely, but this is my third post so I consider that a vast improvement.

When last I wrote, this was the end of the list, three shy of a full seventeen.  Since then I have come up with a couple more goals.

15.)  Do something each week to support or further a cause I believe in. - With the new administration making good on so many of its campaign promises, it has not been difficult for me to find ways to meet this goal.  I started out with the Women's March, then wrote to representatives in my state about 38 "under-performing" schools that may close this year, called three U.S. senators to voice opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos, and wrote our two Michigan senators about the rollback of environmental regulations.

 As more issues arise, more opportunities to help will undoubtedly present themselves, and I look forward to doing all I can to lend support.

16.)  Keep a gratitude log. - I have noticed my stress level rising as of late, and I am hoping focusing on what I am grateful for will help lift the fog a bit.

I still have yet to come up with the seventeenth goal, but that is my temporary goal for the coming month.

I look forward to the February update!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's March on Lansing 2017

On this surprisingly warm day in January, my mom, my sister, and I joined the millions of women and men around the world in protest of this new administration and it's promises of "greatness".  After a stop at Arby's, we headed over to the Capitol.

We were surprised and delighted by the turnout, and the signs were plentiful as well.

Many were clever.

Some were blunt.

And many, many were hopeful.

Fear was there as it often is when change is upon us, but with so many voices behind this movement I am hopeful that we will only move forward in our quest for equality, healthcare, environmental protection, and kindness.

There were so many people there that some decided to get a better vantage point from a nearby parking garage.

The speakers, as it was more of a rally than a march, spoke of unity, of mobilization, of participation.  We got to hear from gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, who was well-spoken and passionate about making Michigan a safe, healthy, wonderful place to live.

A women's choir performed songs of hope and unity.

We heard Lavonia Perryman, Dr. Farha Abbasi, Barb Byrum, and Jessica Lumbreras speak, all strong women ready to lend their voices and experiences to the movement.

Chants of "Yes we can!" and "Yes we will!" rang out between speakers, invigorating the crowd.

It was so awesome to be there with my mom and sister!

One of my favorite signs was that made by a little girl.  It read, "We are all different" and it spoke to the diversity of the crowd.  The thing is, it didn't feel like we were all that different, it didn't feel like we were divided.  For the first time since the election, I could feel a sense of unity building.

People were kind and courteous, no harsh words spoken against any people in the crowd, no signs of hatred held high in the air.  (And I didn't see a single spelling or grammatical error on any of the posters or signs!  The nerd in me really loved that.)

At times, while looking around the audience and seeing new signs pop up every few minutes, reading over their messages of hope, urgency, and strength, I was overcome with pride and happiness to be part of something bigger than myself.  Something that could affect real change in our world.  Something that could have a significant impact on the lives of my children and children across our nation, in ways big and small.

It was a beautiful day for so many reasons, not the least of which were the messages of love and peace around us.

We left early - standing still for so long can really take a toll on your body - but we were glad we went.

As we departed the Capitol lawn, we saw this girl holding a sign that brought a bit of levity to the day, and she graciously let me photograph it.  Kate McKinnon and Hillary Clinton's smiling faces were just the right ending to a great experience.

The important part of all this, though, is that this is a beginning, not an end.  That this is a call to action, not a one-time shout to those in power.  I may not be suited for office, but I know I can help in other ways.  I know I can join the millions out there and work to have our voices heard.

Who's with me?

Friday, January 13, 2017

I'm Back! - Seventeen In '17

Well, that was a long, unintended hiatus from the blog.  I couldn't believe it when I looked at my blog roll over on the side and saw that I hadn't posted on here since October!  October!!  It has been way too long, and I have missed this space so much.

I had intended to do a whole "17 before '17" list with seventeen things I wanted to accomplish before 2017 started, but wouldn't you know it I didn't get a single one done.  Not a one.  In fact, I didn't even finish the list!  I ended up with twelve things, and then the holidays came and it didn't matter how many things were on my list I was just treading water.

But those things, those twelve things, were things I REALLY wanted to get done.  Things that I felt would enrich my life and the life of my family.  Things that would maybe even make life easier.  Maybe?

So I can't abandon them.  Not going to happen.  Instead, I am turning them into my 17 in '17 list!  To be fair, I don't have seventeen things yet.  I have been working on it, but I want to make sure they are attainable and useful; no use setting myself up for failure for nothing, right?

They have sort of naturally fallen into a few different types of goals, and I think it's important to keep this mix going since they will require different amounts of energy.

First, come the finite goals.  These goals have a specific end to them.  They are tasks that need to be completed.

1.) Finish Amalia's room redo.  (Basically I have to work on the art gallery part of her room by finishing the frames I bought last March.  I want this task to be completed before her birthday.)

2.) Make our quilt.  (Yeah, I "gave" Bryson a new quilt as our anniversary gift in 2015.  Thing is, it wasn't even started.  I am hoping to have that one done soon because it is super cold out and I am tired of having two smallish blankets on our bed that end up sliding onto the floor before morning.  We are adults who should have a proper quilt.)

3.) Make/get the kids Traveler's notebooks.  (I told the kids I would make them some after I made my own last year, and it never happened.  I am sure you are shocked by this given what is already on this list.  Anyhow, I want them to start learning how to budget their time and learn how to accomplish their goals.  Hopefully they'll be better than I am at it by the end of the year.)

4.) Find a new doctor.  (This one is rather personal, so I won't be sharing the details, but suffice it to say, I am in the market for a new specialist of a particular sort and need to do some research.)

Second, I have the goals I call "the daily habits".  These are things that I want to do on a daily basis, things that are mainly for me alone, too, now that I look at them.

5.) Exercise at least five days a week.  (Better health, more energy, etc.  You get it.)

6.) Stop eating by 9:30 p.m.  (Bingeing on food right before bed just makes me have to listen to my stomach digest while I try to sleep.  Not much fun.)

7.) Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  (I am already busting this rule tonight if I do my math right.  *sigh*  Will I ever learn?)

8.) Drink more water.  (I want to be more specific with this goal - like a more exact amount - but I haven't figured it out yet.)

Third are the "long term" goals, if you will.  Things that I want to get done but need to be maintained and sustained.  These take the most work, and some of them are things I struggle with the most.

9.)  Clean off my desk and maintain it.  (My desk is a pit.  So much so, that I cannot even use it.  To actually complete a project on my desk, I have to spend a significant amount of time just cleaning the thing off.)

10.)  Get the unfinished side of the basement into a usable state.  (It's like an episode of hoarders down there, complete with a particular path you have to follow through it.  I am done with it.)

11.)  Keep the counter cleaned off.  (I mainly mean our "peninsular" counter, and I focus on that one because it sees the most action and has the most crap on it.)

12.)  Add recipes to my repertoire.  (We have fallen into a rut so ridiculous that the kids know exactly what we will be eating on any given day because of which day of the week it is.  I can't abandon this entirely - it keeps me sane - but I need to use it as a skeleton to build on instead of a crutch to help me limp along.)

13.) Take more pictures.  (This one is just fun.  Plus, my kids are growing up way too fast, and I've been feeling the need to capture as many moments as I can, even the mundane ones.)

14.)  Write five blog posts per month.  (Sad that I think I can only muster up five a month, but that is life right now.  We're almost halfway through January and this is my first one, so I have a feeling five will feel like a stretch at first.)

And that's all I have so far.  I am going to come up with three more, but like I said, I need to make sure I actually have a chance at accomplishing them.

To keep myself accountable, I've decided I'm bringing you all on the ride with me!  You're excited, aren't you?  I am hoping to be able to show off progress, admit when I am struggling, and keep myself going knowing at least someone is watching.  I have pictures to go with future posts, so hopefully they won't be as endlessly wordy as this one has been.

Now, off to try to nab somewhere close to seven hours of sleep!