Sunday, September 28, 2014

Year Four Goals: Quarter 1 Check In

It  has been a few months since I wrote up my next set of goals...let's check in and see how we're doing.

Culture Vulture
1. Read 15 Books - Between Book Club and a Leadership Program I am in through work, I don't think I'll have any problems at all with this one - I've already fit in 11 since January!
The Light Between Oceans - dragged a bit towards the end, but I enjoyed it overall.
Crucial Conversations - part of my leadership program homework. Helpful ideas for success at work and in life!
Made to Stick - Another in the leadership series (this will become a common refrain this year!). Great thoughts around making your ideas last.
The Marriage Plot - While it took me about 50 pages to get into it, enjoyed it while not like any of the characters - a feat. Note to self: re-read Middlesex.
Playing the Enemy - The book Invictus was based on. I went in thinking the book would be mostly rugby, but it was so much more and taught me a lot about Mandela's life and rise to leadership.

2. Watch 120 Movies - The habit continues. Latest Netflixes at home - getting through the tail end of the Woody Allen pics I have yet to see. Highly recommend The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters.
34 since end of June. Plowed through Homeland: Season 1. Loved The Lives of Others. Could have done without 2 Guns.

3. Visit 2 Museums - I just came back from the WWII Museum in New Orleans - amazing exhibit. Ready to tackle a couple new ones, and maybe an old favorite like the Art Institute!
June - Bob takes me to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago for the evening. Bonus points: we find that they have live jazz on Tuesdays in the summer!

4. 2 Trips to the Theater - Breakdancing with Bach is coming up this weekend, that's definitely something new!
August - Not sure if this fully counts, but I took in a Broadway themed Concert in the Park! 11 Chicago-bound shows were highlighted with live performances. I'm counting down 'til I can see Newsies!

5. Visit 3 New Cities - If I want to keep up with my 15-places-in-15-years list, I think I may need to be crossing Austin or Savannah off in 12 months time. . .
An August wedding in Encampment, Wyoming allows me to cross State Number 30 off of my list.

6. Plan an International Trip - Peru was a hit, but after several trips learning about ancient civilizations (Egyptians, Incans and Mayans), I think we're ready for something completely different.

How Entertaining
7. Create 4 New Freezer Meals - We've been getting lazier in the kitchen lately, all the more reason to have more grab-and-go meals to pick from. 
August: Homemade Tomato Soup gets the freezer treatment.

8. Cheesemaking, Second Phase - attempted mozzarella, with room to improve. Shall we try the next level up afterwards?

9. Host 2 Parties - Our annual Harvest Party is a given, but also hoping to fit in a late summer bash to celebrate a (hopefully) done second bathroom.

Health and Wellness
10. Get Outdoors More Often - I'm a self-described indoor kid, but here's to long walks, camping trips and afternoons on (someone else's) decks.

11. Learn how to Swim - I shouldn't admit this since I grew up a lake, but I can barely swim. I don't love the water, but know I need to learn how to do more than flounder. Maybe I let Bob take me to the pool once or twice. . .

12. Keep Drinking More Water - Already doing more than I ever have before thanks to a steady supply of cucumbers and strawberries added to our drink dispenser. Keep it up.

13. Make More Appointments - I hit up the eye doctor and dentist for the first time in a long time this month. I told my eye doctor I thought it had been about a year and a half since my last visit. It had actually been close to 4. Make the follow up appointments early and stick to them.
I actually made my 6-month-from-now appointment for the dentist. That never happens. See you in January!

Adventures in DIY and Home Ownership
14. Sew Something Else - I promised my family their very own mantel scarves, and also had visions of a puppet theater stage for the nieces. First step: Detangle the thread that jammed up the machine last time I used it.
3 custom made mantel scarves are on their way to my mom, aunt and sister after this weekend. Post to come!

15. Second Bathroom Renovation - Tub, sink and tile has been taking over the garage storage area. We're gearing up for demo days in July and preparing to learn a lot.
Drywall is up, mudding is almost complete, painting is next. Lots of surprises along the way, but it has been fun and our budget loves us.

16. Closet Organization - Thanks to a revamped laundry room, our coat closet has mucho storage space and the wheels are turning with how to use it.

17. 12 Pinterest Projects - Recipes, crafts and holiday decor here I come.
Some pinspiration gave me a new way to decorate for Halloween using an old printer's drawer.

18. Complete Entryway Decor - With a church pew benchentryway table, some art on the walls and a storage crate, we're well on our way to calling this area done-zo. Now to finish off the wall above the table and pick up an umbrella holder.

19. Purchase New Nightstands - Our nightstands are ridiculously short compared to our bed height. We finally picked up new bedside lamps, so the end tables can't be far behind, as long as we find the perfect ones.

20. Find a Buffet - Sigh. We came very close last month when we spied this awesome buffet at an Antiques shop in Andersonville at 75% off. Someone else had it on hold and swooped in before we could make it ours. Might this be the year we discover our match?

21. Install New Ceiling Fan/Lights - We bought a ceiling fan a year ago. so in the box it sits. We moved in three years ago and can't reach the dining room lights even with the ladder, so in the dark we eat. Time to make a change here.

22. Make 50 Cards - Using my new Cricut machine to be sure. I'm running out of birthday cards, so a pile of those is next on my list.

23. Update Photo Albums - The wedding album is complete, but stacks of photos stare at me from their bin, waiting to be cut up and added to the memory books, including trips to London, Italy, Belize and Peru!

24. Make the Advent Calendar - I have a vision of creating wooden blocks that fit within a printer's drawer. The drawer was bought on eBay a year and a half ago and there it sits.

Professional and Personal Development
25. Learn Guitar - I received a guitar as a gift a couple years back. It is a nice display item, but it turns into a bit of a joke when I realize I don't even know how to hold it properly.

26. 65 Blog Posts - I'm trying to be a little more realistic, bringing this number down a bit from past years - but at the same time, would like to make sure that I hit at least 5 or 6 posts a month.
Only 12 in 3 months - should pick up a bit more now that this bathroom remodel is coming to fruition, but I finally made a list of potential posts to keep me motivated. The list has 22 items on it, so now it's just a matter of sitting down and writing.

27. Keep Driving - I haven't taken the car out as often as I should to keep up the practice, but here's to another year of behind the wheel, one trip to Target at a time.

28. Support 3 Charities - Whether it be time or cash money, here's to supporting the causes out there.
Good luck on your Walk to End Alzheimer's, Meika!

29. Find a Speaking or Writing Opportunity Through Work - I've had a chance to write an article and present in front of the department in the past 6 months. I'll proactively look for more opportunities in the professional arena.

30. Volunteer Once a Month - Chicago Cares, Ronald McDonald House and more on are on my regular rotation. Is this the year to try out something new?

31. Create 2 Positive Rituals - After reading the wonderful book, The Power of Full Engagement, I'm going to focus on finding at least two areas to create positive rituals to help manage my energy.

Money Matters
32. Purge 100 items - Last year I collected several bin-fulls to sell at our yard sale. Between clothing, old games and never used household items, I see some craigslistin' and yard sellin' in our future. 
25 items of clothing = gone from the drawer. I also made some tough decisions and pared down our pile o' reusable bags. We really only use a few, so goodbye to 8 rarely used or starting-to-rip ones.

33. Meet Savings Goal - A year and a half ago, I made up a goal to get to by our 2 year anniversary. We're getting closer, but hit a couple roadblocks called "Special Assessments" and "Elaborate Vacations." Not that I would give up our holidays, but if we can hit the goal by the end of 2014 you can count me as a very happy camper indeed.
Well, this would not have been a problem at all, except we recently found ourselves with an investment opportunity. We took advantage, which set back my goal a bit, but in the end we believe we'll come out ahead. 

34. Find 3 Extra Cash Opportunities - Between Lollapalooza Year Four, the odd focus group and collected pocket change, there should be at least a handful of extra moolah opportunities coming soon to a wallet near me.
I've had a nice surge in Etsy sales for my Every Holiday Blocks - sold out of my available 8 sets! Time to make some more, methinks. As mentioned, Lollapalooza gave us another round of easy cash in early August.

35. Back Up eFiles - This blog alone has hundreds and hundreds of photos attached to it, not to mention thousands of words. Between my music, my photos and my personal documents, it would be a good thing not to lose them all suddenly to a virus or sledgehammer to the computer.

36. Complete an Inventory - I always read about how you are supposed to have a home inventory on hand in case of a fire or disaster or a robbing rampage hits our house. Research how to put this together and make it happen.
The list has begun in GoogleDocs. Now I just need to work through model numbers, price estimates and finish it up.

And. . .
36.5. Be a great wife, aunt, sister, daughter, friend, boss and co-worker.
The old "do unto others" thing.

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