Archive | January, 2015

Blouse Grouse

27 Jan

I don’t own a single blouse. Which gets ridiculous if I have to dress professionally, have some occasion to attend, or an interview. I have tons of clothes, but not one nice looking–or even passable shirt.

The big-boss at work said he gets all his professional wear from this thrift store near my apartment. Since I hate spending money on clothes I don’t even really want or wear often, I thought that was genious. And my mom attributed my success (that comes later in the post) to my petite size.  Which I concur is an advantage.  Buying professional wear thrift had never occurred to me before, and I had been cheaping-out best I could at WalMart.

Once I got to the store, I really liked it. It was clean and they had hung everything up, rather then stuffing a mish-mash of stuff as thrift stores usually do. The only thing I hate more then shopping, is rifling through a random, disorganized pile. And trying on clothes AT the store.

But being motivated to spend less, I put on my big-girl panties and looked for blouses.  Turns out I don’t own any blouses, because I’m just not a blouse person.  They are non-breathable fabrics, too tight, too low, or too froo-froo for me.  I want a modestly cut, comfortable, breathable shirt that doesn’t showcase any of my pieces.  Apparently, that’s not a thing.  I really didn’t like any of the blouse options.

But I did see a lot of sweaters.  And They are professional (enough) and warmer.  Also, they tend to cover more skin and not be as tight-tight-tight.  So I bought a LandsEnd power-yellow, Charter Club sparkle-plum, Croft & Barrow forest, Eddie Bauer ocean-blue, Polo Jeans Company chocolate brown, and North Crest lavender.  Make no mistake, I could care LESS about brand names.  I actually loathe the practice of paying more for a similar product just because it features some designer name.  I bought these sweaters primarily for the colors.  And they weren’t allowed to be low-cut or too tight.  Anyway, I scored!  They were all for under $20!  SIX name-brand, perfectly new-looking sweaters, with no stains, tears, or problems.  Which if you’ve ever looked at department store sweater prices–you know is amazing.  One sweater could easily cost $30–and usually they’re more.  So now I have a week’s worth of professional attire that I can wear to class and in my career.  That is–if I am accepted to school (small details).

I have no idea what I’ll wear in hot weather–is there a blouse-alternative?!  But I’m set for winter and air conditioning.  Next–pants.  I’ll go back after a couple of paychecks to get some professional-looking pants for school, clinics, my externship, and eventual work.  Again, IF I’m accepted to my audiology program. . .

How I Accomplished a Daily Mile

20 Jan

I didn’t have a FitBit on January 2, 2014–the day I began my mile runs.  But here’s statistics from mid-Jan 2014 to exactly 1 year after that:

in 1 year I took exactly 3,518,249 steps, which is 1,2738.26 miles.  Actually, it’s not exact because of times I forgot to wear the FitBit (not often) or when I took steps but my FitBit wasn’t counting them because the battery had died unbeknownst to me (too often).

The week I took the most steps was May 12-18.  Because I was finished with school for the semester and apparently studying had made me stir-crazy.  Which explains why my week with the least steps (only 2.7 miles) was April 21-27.  My best single day was Nov 15 = 13.6 miles!  This was because of running and work.

Now that you see in the data that it’s totally 100% true, I’ll share how I managed to run at least 1 mile every day (and increase my overall activity level over the year).

uphill rd

-3 words underlie the majority of the success of this goal:  In a row or Break the chain.  As in, once you get so many days in a row, no amount of laziness, sickness, or business will allow you to “break the chain.”  Seriously, there WERE many days I did not want to run my mile.  Realizing I’d be throwing away 40, or 100, or 377 days in a row of keeping my goal = MOTIVATION.  All caps necessary.  I encourage anyone wanting to really succeed at any goal to do it “in a row” so you will not under any circumstance want to break the in-a-row streak.

-Make it a priority.  It’s cliche for a reason.  It also is a big factor in keeping any goal.  I put my run first.  If I had an exam to study for–I planned ahead and studied earlier to make time to finish my daily run.  If I had to be at work at 4AM (this is real life) I woke up at 3AM to finish my mile FIRST.  When I traveled, I took my sneakers, and found a route the night before.  Because I told myself I WAS doing the mile no matter what else was going on–I arranged things in my life so it would get done.

-Do it first thing–very first so your brain can’t conjure up excuses reasons not to.  I am the best at coming up with reasons to go back on my self-promise and start. . .  Tomorrow.  Perpetually tomorrow.  I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  Now I’ve put food and water in my stomach so I might barf if I run.  There’s nothing to wear.  I don’t want to drive anywhere and deal with parking–to run.  My neighborhood is dangerous.  Work called me in at the last minute and there’s no longer time.  I should be studying.  I mean, once my mind is awake there are more then a billion reasons why I can’t run today.  Stumbling directly out of bed and into my sneakers doesn’t give my mind time to formulate any excuses.  By the time I’m thinking–I’ve finished a mile.

-I also, made my goal as easy as possible for myself.  Which took some self-evaluation.  I know I’m a fair-weather runner.  I could tell myself–“I’ll be tough, I’ll get out of my box and be a big girl, I’ll FORCE myself to run in rain and snow.”  But it’s not super-practical.  Let’s be real–that’s not going to happen.  I looked inward and said:  I know I’m lazy.  I don’t want to go anywhere to get the run done.  I don’t like having to make myself presentable.  I hate driving places.  I’m not a fan of rain/snow.  I’ll never go outside and run if it’s less then 60 degrees.  And sure, maybe all these things make me a baby, and I should work on THOSE.  But really, I’m trying to work on running.  So I worked with myself.  I bought a treadmill on Craigslist.  That way I could roll out of my bed (scrubbin’), go only as far as my living room, and have no excuses!  Whatever your scene–just be honest with yourself and do what you can to make it easy.

-Did I mention I’m lazy?  Totally true.  I swear.  I know you’re reading that I managed to run a mile for 365 days in a row (actually as of today it was 384 days) so you think I’m an insane, super-strict, disciplined runner-type fitness freak.   Nope (I swear!) I’m not.  My favorite activity is watching TV.  Which is why my favorite day of the week is Sunday–when nothing is scheduled.  I love carbs more then anyone should, and routinely partake in Ben & Jerry’s.  I’m so lazy, that even though I worked 4 more hours/wk then required (during busy school) in order to get a free gym membership–I have NEVER used it.  Read–I work at a gym (YMCA, actually), yet have never worked out there.  That’s me.  So if I can make a mile a day happen–anyone can.  Wanting it was a huge part of the goal.  I wanted the bragging rights (which after 100 days in a row you are completely entitled to), and I wanted to show myself I could get it done.

-Get enough sleep.  You’ll just feel more fresh and energetic come morning.  Plus, it’s good for your overall health.  The military did a study that showed sleeping 7 hours a night for a week (a.k.a. missing 1 hour/night of sleep) had the same effects as a blood alcohol level over the legal driving limit.  Yes, your cognitive powers, coordination, and demeanor are the same as a drunk person’s when you get less then 8 hours of sleep/night.  True story!  So set yourself up for success and mind your sleep hygiene:  Sleep at least 8 hours, go to bed at the same time nightly, etc. . .

-Less important–get your family and friends trained that you are unavailable before your mile.  It’s certainly not essential to have outside support.  After all–you can only control YOU.  But if you make it clear you’re not available to do chores/hang out/work/whatever before your goal run is over–you’ll be surprised at how your support system not only helps create that time–but DEFENDS that time to others.  Now you have running goal bodyguards to help protect your running time.

-Change it up.  I LIKE the treadmill.  I’ve said it before, and it’s true.  Not everybody does.  If you don’t, go outside or to a gym.  Change your route–or your music.  Buy a new pair of shoes.  If you have to be on the T.M. make it fun.  Change the incline, set small goals for yourself, create an interval routine.  You can even make things exciting by watching TV while you run, listening to music, or creating a special playlist you’re only allowed to listen to while you run.  I do something different on the T.M. every day.  Every.  Day.  No two runs are the same.  So keep it fresh to keep your motivation alive.  And set goals, whether it’s speed, calories, distance, or BPM–just work toward stuff.

bumpy rd

-That’s how I did it, but some people also swear by a workout buddy.  It helps keep them accountable and provides a social outlet.  And while I like my alone time, and prefer making the running ME time, where I get to focus on my own inner thoughts and do something nice for my body–that might work for you.  But hold yourself accountable–because this is about sticking it out, not having someone drag you.

So all you have to do is want it and start.  Don’t break that chain!

A Month Wasted

19 Jan

I finished my last final December 17th. Which meant technically that I was free. And I had have big, big plans to really be productive for this semester off.

-I want to clean/organize/pack everything, donate things, or preferably sell them for a profit.
-go through my school stuff, organize, and consolidate it.
-prepare for an interview by reading news, journals in my field, reviewing lecture materials, and planning what I want to say and how to downplay things I don’t.
-I want to observe an AuD.
-And of course do those pesky little things that always get moved to the bottom of the to-do list, like cook meals, play with my cats, and keep in touch with people better.

And obviously do my taxes, complete the FAFSA, pack, move, secure school funding, and read and outline my 1st semester textbooks before school begins.

bee 3

Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve maximized this time out of school so far. I went right to house-sitting after classes got out, into Christmas, into New Years, and now I’ve been working extra to afford my interview trip. Also, because of work and tiredness, and I guess just general disorganization from the work/tiredness things have not been happening like I want. BUT it’s not too late to change things! I just need a plan and I need to break things into small, manageable steps.

First, I’m going to log what I’m currently doing with my time to see where I’m losing it. The days just seem to fly past without my knowledge and without much productivity.

Finding energy will be a big step in DOING things. So even if I have to caffeinate, I think it’ll be worth it.

Then, I need to do small tasks toward the big tasks.

turtle family

Also, I need to be happy about what I HAVE done:

-cleaned the pet-closet, reorganized my bookmarks, cleaned the coat closet, wrote Christmas thank you cards, followed through with weekly grocery shopping, organized under the bathroom sink, read my “Get into Grad School” book, started reading “The Alchemist” during my breaks at work, consolidated 6 school binders into 3 (I really need 3″-4″ binders), got through my 2014 albums to write the blog, got my scrapbook up to date, and bought my bus/hotel stuff for the potential interview.  So that’s something–but not enough considering I’m out of school and work part-time.

Today, My Mile Was More Reasonable [1st interview thoughts]

14 Jan

I completed it in 11.5 minutes with only 3 breaks.  And with the help of Nyquil I slept better last night then I had the previous week!  It still took everything I had to vacuum the apartment today, and as such I’m going to do my sitting down tasks to avoid wearing myself out.  I have to make it through 8 hours of work tomorrow.  Here is some info from my anatomy coloring book.  Then, from an audiology journal article.  And lastly, my very first go at answering potential interview questions.  I’ll work on this 3rd part much more next week.  But I DID  finally buy my bus tickets, hotel room, etc. . .  for February so I can attend said interview–IF I am invited.  If I don’t make the interview I will be pissed, and I guess it will become a vacation because nothing is refundable. . .

uu garden 3

-The ANS has 2 divisions:
–Sympathetic NS- leaves CNS from thoracic & lumbar regions and mobilize E in times of threat (dilates pupils, increase sweat & HR, stim adrenaline).

—Adrenaline mimics the sympathetic NS, but lasts longer.
–parasympathrtic NS – leaves CNS from brain & saccral regions and conserve E in times of quiet (increases digestion, constricts pupils & blood vessels)

brainstem

-use aided cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEP) in ppl whom behavioral testing isn’t reliable.  Shows if a stim. is encoded by the cortex, so can’t yet be used to determine gain or signal-to-noise.

-kids w/HL have difficulty recognizing speech in noise.  Room acoustics impact hearing.  Kids have to rely on working memory to hear adequately.  Especially at poor signal-to-noise ratios, and this can affect auditory comprehension and overall learning.  Glimpsing is a process where ppl take advantage of background noise fluctuations to understand the message.

-Pp w/hearing loss have to use working memory to understand speech–especially with background noise, where a normally hearing person relies on their automatic speech recognition system.  It’s why someone w/HL is exhausted after a day of listening.   Measures of hearing aid response are typically sensitive to background noise equal or less then the signal, where 5-15 above the signal are more realistic.  Therefore, a better test is needed to test the actual capability of hearing aids in noise.  The better the hearing aid is at cancelling outside noise (SNR of +7-+9 over the signal) the better people can recall with accuracy what was said.  In other words, the more an aid can cancell background sound, the less working memory is required to receive the signal, and the more memory is allocated for actually working with the communicated signal.

pinna piercing 2

-What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Wait, wait before I practice answers to potential interview questions I need to think about what I want the committee to know, and what I want them to minimize.

What they should know:

-I am a hard-worker

-I’m not a quitter

-I am a team player

-I’m not in it just for the money

-I am not closed to any of the audiology career avenues (even though right now I’m interested in aural rehabilitation, which I see less as a niche, and more as EVERY aspect should utilize it).

 

What I Want to downplay:

-I am in no way a flake or flight-risk because of my strong veterinary past

-My undergraduate GPA is not representative of my brainpower, ability, or effort.

-My lack of audiology experience does not make me less enthusiastic or naive about the profession.

1]  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

The fact I am 31 years old gives me the advantage of maturity and experience.  This will not be the first time away from my parents, it isn’t the first time I have moved to a novel state, and it isn’t the first time I have attended college.  I can better rise to the rigors of the audiology program because I will be able to focus on that rather then other logistical concerns.

I also, have the determination to see all 4 years through.  Since I have been on an alternate path, it makes me that much more dedicated to finish this training to completion.

My weakness is the fact I am not independently wealthy and do not have a benefactor to pay for my educational or living expenses.  It is nothing I am not used to however.  For the same reason, I applied for every scholarship opportunity in high school and was awarded 8 different scholarships.  In college, I worked half to full time throughout while maintaining my coursework.  This time around I plan to apply for any assistantship available to secure funding.

My other weakness is also a strength.  I have not known I wanted to be an audiologist since childhood.  I did not observe AuDs since grade school, nor was I involved with projects and the profession throughout my undergraduate years.  But my varied experiences in veterinary hospitals, animal organizations, and other things gives me perspectives not every audiology student shares.   I can take those outside experiences and apply them to this career.

I Got BronchITis!

13 Jan

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This is the 2nd time I’ve been sick in the last few months. After having a years-long dry spell from being full-on sick, it is SO not cool.

I blame the Y. My sleep schedule still isn’t what it should be, and combined with all those germs–then cold weather. I have no chance. It’s the trifecta.

I hate being sick though. Somehow, I thought being sick would be nice–you get to sleep a lot, sit around watching TV, catch up on your reading. Maybe clean the house and cook some things you haven’t had time for. . .

What I forgot was–being sick sucks. I can’t sleep either because I’m congested or in this case–coughing uncontrollably. Nothing is less uncomfortable then being prompt to a near-sitting position, on your back–all night. I am comfortable sleeping on my side, but that’s not possible with a runny nose or cough. So I’m mostly awake all night. When I need sleep the most.

And waking up? Awful!!! You are farthest away from being medicated and very unrested so getting out of bed is horrid. I finished a mile–running,no less–this morning, but it just about killed me. I completed it in a slow, slow 17 minutes (my slowest EVER was 13 minutes) with many (7?) intermittent sitting rests. But I got it done, and have now run for 377 days in a row.

But I don’t recommend that. It really wiped me out. Pretty much all I’ve accomplished today is folding my clothes. And that’s with many rest breaks in between–who know sitting on the floor folding could be so strenuous?! And I still haven’t put all the clothes away, because it requires standing up.

It’s frustrating, because I can’t sleep, but you’d think I could study for my interview, or read, or do something productive. But I feel too sick and fevery to do any of that. I’d better feel good tomorrow so I can get ANYthing done.

P.S. Dave Matthews Band announced their summer tour–which is really exciting.

Dave face

Except it’s also VERY disappointing. We don’t know where we’ll be, or how much money we’ll have by summer. And of course all the Western venues are in the last week of August and later–when my classes potentially start on the 24th. . . They are so close (the Gorge, Tahoe, CO) but yet so far. So we have to look at, and be teased by the dates–and sadly miss out. I hate that.  I am telling you that I’m going to literally be crying crocodile tears when we have to hear all about the tour and miss every show for lack of planning, money, and time.  Sad, sad, sad!

So that’s that. I guess I’ll try to watch a movie without feeling guilty. Because I sincerely feel like a$$.

Lots of Little Things

7 Jan

My future is on hold as I wait to hear from my (1) potential school. Again. And I only have 1 because the others just weren’t feasible. Either I couldn’t take my family–mate and cats (Seattle), or we couldn’t afford housing (everywhere), or there were no jobs (Idaho), or the moving expenses were too much because it was farther away (Kansas). So I’ve had to put all my eggs in one basket. Again.

But what do you do? I have to live within my finances and this is it. So I’m waiting, but trying to squeeze so many things into the time.

-Delve into my professional journals

-Prepare, plan, and PAY for the interview

-Get apprised of the general news

-Clean things out, organize, and pack

-organize school supplies and notes

-Read things I haven’t had time to finish (or start as the case may be)

-Cook

When I write it out, the list doesn’t seem overwhelming, but all those things do add up to a lot of time. So I’m trying to do lots of little things every day.  We’ll see how productive I can be.

I felt like I had more to say then this, but I guess that’s really it for now. . .  To flesh out the post, I’ll talk about what I learned about Hearing Aids and The Brain (journal article)

-Children have best results if they are implanted with their cochlear implant no later then their 1st birthday.  Cortical responses can differentiate neural signals initiated by an auditory signal from random noise.  In lay terms, Cortical Responses give information that a signal has proceeded through a device and is being interpreted by an infant’s brain.

-auditory evoked potentials can be used in pediatrics to estimate aided audibility, assess speech discrimination, and

-Hearing aids raise the sound, but also the noise-floor.  Altering signal to noise ratios can interfere w/biological codes that encode stimulus intensity level–which has implications for design of future hearing aids.

-People with hearing loss have to use working memory to understand auditory cues.

more toorrow–this article is MUCH longer than I thought.

What I Learned from My July Issue

5 Jan

As mandated by by 2015 New Years resolution, I’m trying to stay aprised of my new field. I have journals, e-mails from professional memberships, community forums of AuDs and students, and the internet to leaf through. The goal: Just to remember anything–or the gist of what the audiology field is about, what’s important, and what’s new. So here’s what I learned today:

bling h-haid

-only 20% of those who COULD benefit from hearing aids, get them.
-Those who seek treatment, wait an average of 10 years before being fitted with their first hearing aid.

-91% of adults have a cell phone, and 60% have Smartphones.
-The fastest growing demographic of Smartphone users are 55-64 years old.
-74% of people aged 65 and up have a cell phone.

To connect the phone to hearing technlogies, AuD’s should:
1] stay apprised of new technologies and be ready to answer Qs

freq inside cochlea

-over 50 OTC products claim to alleviate or cure tinnitus–none of them are FDA approved.
-AuD Tinnitus Eval
1) detailed case history
2) review current meds & side-effects
3) review diet + supplements
4) establish a timeline of any meds/nutrition changes and notice of tinnitus
5) otologic exam
6) blood work
7) comprehensive audiological eval (include otoacoustic emissions)
8) self-assessment tool for tinnitus handicap

fractal 406

This one’s short and sweet and really just getting into the routine and getting started.  I’ll post some new info periodically (at least once a week, probably more) as I learn new stuff.  This is exciting and will help prepare me for my interview–school–my career.

Oblivious

4 Jan

My new job is at the YMCA–the central branch, right off of town down and adjacent to “felony flats” to be exact.  The Y’s mission is to allow everyone.  They will give memberships on a sliding scale, accommodate all ages through the lifespan, and let people loiter in the lobby even if they don’t have a membership.

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As such, I’ve seen some things.  Lots of naked people in the locker rooms, a ton of diapers in the trash, and some weird sketchy people casing cars or digging in the dumpsters.  But for the most part, people behave themselves.  Except the unruly teenage boys, which they try to keep in the Teen Center or the gym.

Anyway, I’m on the janitorial crew which is fine.  It’s non-stressful.  It’s mindless.  I don’t mind doing it.

I walked past 3 “wet floor” signs in the lobby, on my way to vacuum the 5 rugs by the less-used back double doors of the lobby on Friday.  Since that set of doors is to the rear entrance, my back was to most of the people and activities in the lobby.  I was on my last rug and I heard a loud crash.  BUT there are constantly loud sounds at the Y:  Maintenance working in the ceilings, the membership staff dropping huge piles of towels on the front desk, workout equipment being slammed, and teenage boys slamming each other around.  Talking, shouting, music. . .  It’s always loud, so I’m desensitized.

I didn’t turn around when I heard it–which I see now was a mistake.  When I did finish cleaning the last rug and turned around to unplug my vacuum, I immediately saw my boss holding the mop and standing in a puddle of soapy water by the other set of doors.  He must have accidently kicked his bucket over while he was mopping!  I hastily unplugged my vacuum and dragged the cord (instead of rolling it up as usual) to help him clean up the mess.  The mop water was right where people are going in and out all the time, and a major slipping risk.

I squeezed past some guy to set my vacuum by the wall, yanking my cord to get it out of the path, joking, “Man down!”  to my boss.  Not paying attention to anything (or anyone), I went to the front desk to grab some of their towels to sponge up the slick water.  My boss was still just standing in the middle of the puddle like a deer in headlights, so I proceeded to step on the towels and scoot around to dry the scene.

Then, the big-boss came up and asked, “What’s going on here?”  I thought, because there was a big puddle of water at the front door and he was worried about liability.  Because spills happen, and we I had all but cleaned it up (and because the big boss is nice and he likes me) I gave the cheeky response, “We thought we would make a water feature in the lobby.”  Then, my boss answered, “This guy kicked my mop bucket over–on purpose.”

And suddenly, I realized I had missed what happened and had been reacting WRONG–I had assumed my boss spilled his own bucket by accident, I didn’t realize sinister forces were at work.  The guy I pushed past with my vacuum was sitting on the chair right by the puddle.  And when my boss said someone had intentionally kicked over mop water, my first instinct was to give this perpetrator a glare.  That kind of crap infuriates me.  Janitors don’t have a glamorous job, and it’s pretty ridiculous to heckle us or make our lives harder.  But when I looked in the guy’s direction, I saw he was not to be provoked.

He was sitting stiffly in the chair, and you could see anger just exuding from him.  I looked back at my boss, and saw (for the first time) his face was shaking with anger.  I thought uh-oh!  There’s going to be some nose-punching!  My boss has some false teeth, because he lost some fighting in the past.  The big-boss gave the guy several chances to share his side of the story, but like a douche-bag he denied doing it purposely, then evaded the question.  Which always annoys me–if you have the kahonies to do the bad thing, have the kahonies to take your consequences.  As far as I could tell, the guy felt like my boss mopped too close to his personal space, so he retaliated–who does that?!

I thought I’d better get my boss out of the scene, before he exploded so I tried to take the mop, saying I could finish the rest.  He was like, “That’s OK, I got it.”  And I said, “Why don’t you go take a moment.”  And he hesitated and I kind of patted him/pushed him away and was like, “Go take a second, Man.”  So my boss went away to cool off while I mopped the rest of the lobby.  I could hear the big-boss STILL trying to find the logic for the guy’s behavior, and finally telling him that the janitors have a schedule, people are tracking in mud and we have to clean it so nobody slips, it’s not against anybody, or intentionally in their way, and here at the Y, we all need to play nice, and try to get along.  Which, I’ve seen the big-boss pull people aside and give them stern lectures, I’ve heard him talk in a firm voice, and he’s kicked people out and even banned them for life.  But you could tell this guy would do something terrible if pushed, so the big-boss fairly gently told him the story and just left him sitting there.

And the guy just sat there, in a tense position–for the next 2 hours!  It’s an open floor plan, so I could see him as I went about my cleaning business, up the down the stairs, as I walked to the family lockers, and of course I avoided the lobby.  He sat, motionless and you could read ‘rage’ from his demeanor.  I thought he was probably waiting for my boss to leave so he could finish what he started.  Finally, the big-boss went him to him briefly and the guy stood up, without a fight of any kind, and left.  I was surprised to see him leave so easily.

Later, I asked my boss if he knew they guy, because past history would be the only reason I could imagine for such an act.  My boss said the guy was a stranger to him.  He said he was just spot-mopping the wet muddy spots, in the vicinity of the guy.  No looks or words were exchanged.  Suddenly, the guy just stood up, went over to the mop bucket and threw it over with his hands.  Then the guy then told my boss, “I guess you have to clean that, huh.”  And my boss said, “You know you’re on camera, right?”  The the guy started rambling on about how he was a drone, he was always on camera, and he had drones following him. . .  OK so something’s not right there.

The next day, the gal at the membership desk (who was the 4th person there at the time, and had looked up at the sound) said she saw the whole thing.  She confirmed that unprovoked, the guy smiled and got up and threw the full bucket over, then lied to the big-boss about it.  She also added that he had been sitting there for 3 hours before that happened.

So he had sat in the lobby of the Y for 5 hours!

And later that next day my boss said he was to 711 after work where he knows the clerk.  Apparently, that same guy had gone to 711 and stood in there for an hour before the clerk asked him to leave.  Once he was asked to go, the guy started flipping over candy and donuts and generally making a scene to the point the clerk called the police.  As he was calling, the guy finally left.

So the weirdest story about an erratic person–and I didn’t bother to turn around–so I missed it!  I’m always on guard outside the Y–when I take trash out, or go to my car, or when I have to walk from the corporate building to the main one.  But I wasn’t aware enough inside the building.  Where there’s weirdo’s, there’s potential trouble.  I will turn around every time from now on. . .

 

Best Music of 2014 [I Ran Out of Time]

2 Jan

This is supposed to be a post about my top 10 newly released albums of 2014.  As you know, I still haven’t posted 2013’s because I ran out of time then too.  Maybe I’ll just post the unfinished version since I’m now 2 years behind on it.  But this year I was not about to (totally) fail again!  So I just wrote a little blurb about each artist that ended up on my somewhat-narrowed list from throughout the year.  It’s not a true top 10, but gives you an idea of the ones that I found good enough to make my list.  The number of songs are the actual songs that made my list’s cut.  And number of songs I liked is an indication of how well I liked the 2014 album, but isn’t always indicative of a true spot on the list–some artists just had longer or shorter CDs.  So there you have it–and I hope you have the stamina to read this all the way through!

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Imogen Heap (21 songs) had a long album, but the instrumental music was interesting.  I like things I can study to, or work without distraction to, and this fit the bill nicely.  It’s not my absolute favorite of the year, but it gets the job done.

Phillip Phillips (12 songs) was one of my favorite albums of 2014.  He has the characteristic foot-stomping sound and who wouldn’t like that?  “Thicket” had a nice instrumental background that added layers to the sound.  Aside from depth, it made the whole effort seem less poppy and more substantial.  I wish Behind the Light was more lyrically complex and less repetitive though.  I’d like more depth throughout the next record.

Mariah Carey (10 songs) has always been a favorite of mine–that gal can really belt it out!  And I can always FEEL what she’s singing about.  The long-title of the album sucks, but the songs are solid, featuring her characteristic range and emotion.

OK Go (10 songs) is in a top spot, but there are less favorite songs only because their album was shorter.  I think they’ve grown musically, and become less poppy (not that it was ever a bad thing for them).  Hungry Ghosts is still as catchy as ever, but their is an added layer of seriousness to them.

James Vincent McMorrow (10 songs) was a fortunate find.  The music is mellow like Bon Iver and just as easy to listen/study to.  Though the songs aren’t heavy, they bare no less weight.

Boys II Men (9 songs) are back!  I can truthfully say I enjoyed Collide as a present day effort–not just a retro throw back to my middle school years.  It even surpassed some of my staple-bands in 2014.  They have nice harmonies and developed a lot of emotion throughout the album.  “So What” was a soulful ballad of longing that moved me.  “Talkin Under Water” was another standout song.

Eric Clapton (9 songs) obviously knows how to make a successful record.  And Eric Clapton & Friends is no exception.  It has blues, rock, and country and features a smattering of other greats.  I especially liked the old-country “I’ll Be There.”

Jason Mraz (9 songs) is a sentimental favorite of mine since he was my very first concert.  YES! is quieter then his usual pop, and I can’t imagine what the single must have been because it lacks that one super-catchy tune.  I liked the more emotive depth and think it shows maturity.  It’s more serious, but I think with a few listens, all the songs would become favorites.

Spoon (9 songs).  I have always liked Spoon, and this album did not disappoint.  It’s relatively harder then their last effort, which was great to study to.  This one seemed to speak a little louder, but I could still concentrate on other things as I listened.  And instead of only one catchy song, there were a few on They Want My Soul.

Sarah McLachlan (9 songs) was much of the same.  Which is good, but sort of blah too.  I’ve always liked her low-key, feminine sound, but I wish she would take some more risks in her career.  “Monsters” did speak to me, and was my 2nd favorite track on Shine On.  The closer, “In Your Shoes” was my very favorite, because it had a very positive, and uplifting message behind a singable melody.

Lilly Allen (9 songs) has a smattering of different sounding sounds–which I liked.  “Hard Out Here” a feminist anthem, especially resonated with me.  And her cover of “Somewhere Only We Know” surprisingly–hit the mark.

Colbie Caillat (8 songs) put out one of my favorite 2014 albums, Gypsy Heart.  It was sassy/feisty, it was sweet, it was uplifting.  I thought it had good voice throughout the duration, and you know how I like the more bitter samplings, which were provided also.

The Script (8 songs) was never really on my radar before.  I only listened to No Sound Without Silence out of obligation because I recognized their name.  Surprisingly, it was of my favorite offerings of the year.  There was a wide vareity of sounds, from soft, to rocking, to an Irish-sounding fight/drinking-style song (“Paint the Town Green”).

Little Big Town (8 songs) is an eighties band, right?  I recognized the name, but not the sound.  I like the country-pop, the harmonies, and especially–the cheekiness.

Weezer (8 songs) has to be listened to as a collection.  The songs do best as an album unit, not really singing (pun) individually.  It’s a relaxed album, but also has punchy spots like “Cleopatra’s” number shouting segment.  Weezer is always catchy, but I like the range and harmonies highlighted here.  PS–I just love the cover art.

The Kooks (8 songs) are, I swear, a band on my “Feeling Groovy” CD of 1960s hits.  Is that accurate or is this a different band?  It reminds me of hipster music, actually.  Something I might hear at SXSW.  It’s got a quiet, cool, vibe so it’s good.

Jason Derulo (7 songs) had one of my favorite 2014 albums with Talk Dirty.  He jumped from the romantic “Will You Marry Me” to sexy club sex-staple “With the Lights On” flawlessly.  And “The Other Side” proves Jason can sing!  I love the high-notes and think it makes for a perfect single.  I like when an artist can display this range.

Maroon 5 (7 songs) was a long-awaited release for me.  But it spoke to me less then their past efforts.  Maybe it was the hype that let me down.  It was good, don’t get me wrong, I just thought it would be in the top two for the year.  “In Your Pocket” was a standout musically.  It’s the type of song that will get stuck in your head, and it showcases their vocal range and layers.  Unfortunately, I think the concept/lyrics are stupid.  Cheater, show me your phone?  Is this a thing now?  It may be because I’m anti-phone, but this seems random and lame.  “Sex and Candy” was successful–I like the Marcy Playground version more, but this slow, smoldering version was nice in a different way.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks (7 songs), aside from having an obnoxiously long name was a decent listen.  Though they sound very much like Ben Kweller to me.

Tim McGraw’s (7 songs) album started out quiet and I was disappointed he got a little old a tired.  BUT about halfway through the songs gained speed, and he cemented his place as one of the top country artists of today.  Anthems, love, drinking, and sing-alongs are all represented here.

Green Day (7 songs) probably should have ranked higher in my list.  I have very high expectations, because Dookie was amongst my first 12 CDs ever (BMG Music Club) and “Basket Case” is one of my all time favorite songs of ever.  So having said that, Demolicious was good.  And a good concept for between new release albums–just not enough.

Counting Crows (7 songs) talks through the songs too much, which is, apparently, a major pet-peeve for me.  I did like the songs though they were much like they always are.  I’d like to hear something refreshing, while still keeping to their roots.  “Scarecrow” was my favorite on Somewhere Under Wonderland.

I liked Train’s (7 songs) last album better.  It was catchy and had a couple stand-out songs.  This one has a sense of desperation and sadness to it.  Also, I feel like they tried to include a peppy/catchy song, but “Just a Memory” and “Angel in Blue Jeans” just comes across as poor renditions of “Drive By” sometimes crossed with “Somebody I Used to Know.”  I mean, it’s good, but it’s not really a happy sound–or original.

Enrique Iglesias (7 songs) had a star with “Heart Attack.”  I usually don’t like spanish-language albums, because I don’t know what they’re saying and lyrics are the major reason I love most music.  But his primarily spanish, SEX AND LOVE (are these all-caps Spotify, or a thing?) had a lot of longing behind the mystery lyrics, and as I said, the stand out song made this a keeper.

Lenny Kravitz (7 songs) has a solid 2014 contribution, but no song became my favorite.  I really liked his 2006? CD, so every following album seems a disappointment by comparison.  Strut was fine though, and it lacked nothing that I can put my finger on. . .

John Butler Trio (6 songs) transcends genres and I love that!  Blues, calypso, etc. . .  I liked the variety on Flesh & Blood best of all.  I also liked the low-key singing and the background music.

Lady Antebellum (6 songs) is so fun!  I love to listen to them, whether it’s when I’m chilling, in the car, or running.  And I liked 747 so much I consider it in my top 3 (probably, and we’ll see).

Weird All Yankovic (6 songs) is played out.  But is he?  Judge as you will, but I like him and think he’s clever.  I also like Vitamin String Orchestra, if that puts my mentality in perspective.  I saw a biography talking about how hard he works to find the perfect word replacements, and I respect that.  And yes, he’s not technically conceptualizing songs or writing music, but his job is not EASY.  I give him props for coming up with a fresh new spin on the Top-40 songs for decades.

Kristen Chenowetch (6 songs) sings some sort of show-tunes or opera–I’m not sure how you categorize it.  Anyway, it goes in my top selections, for sure.  I heard pure talent. . .  Once my initial shock and trepidation wore off.  I’m glad I listened through the whole album, instead of turning it off for genre-aversion reasons.  Small gal, BIG voice, and big talent.  Color me impressed.  If nothing else, check out, “Popular” which features multiple languages and humor.

Karmen (6 songs) seems like an anomaly to me–the style of music sounds immature.  Not as in novice, or bad–just like Ke$ha–like low maturity members.  But the beats are slammin’, the rapping impressive, and melodies stay with you.  Nothing immature about the production value of this album.

Melissa Etheridge (6 songs) obviously has to be mentioned for This is M.E..  I felt like she was past her prime and trying a little too hard.  The songs seemed contrived and formulaic.  An example, “A Little Bit of Me” with it’s sappy lyrics and na-na-nas had no edge at all–it was Disney, for lack of better word.  Still, after such a long career, the artist didn’t have a total miss.  Songs like “Ain’t that Bad” redeemed the 2014 effort with a raucous rock about lesbianic drama.  And “A Little Hard-Hearted” a lament about love-long-gone with meaningful lyrics spoke to me.  P.S.  Melissa SING, don’t talk through your tracks.

Timber Timber (6 songs) is kinda weird and discordant.  But I can get onto it.  It reminds me of listening to a Donnie Darko sort of thing.

Ray LaMotagne (6 songs) wasn’t as good without Brandi Carlile’s featured vocals, but it was an easy listen all the same.  I like the low key vibe–pre the usual.

Fray (5 songs) is a band I expect a lot from, and I was a little disappointed until the closer, “Love Don’t Die.”  The prior songs were fine, they were good–but not like before.  But the last song was so great it mostly made up for the lack of stand outs.

Shakira (5 songs) has that disgruntled ex-girlfriend vibe on her self-titled album.  In a dancable way–of course.  I especially liked “You Don’t Care About Me.”  Obviously, it’s one of my favorite releases of 2014.

Blake Shelton (5 songs) makes me feel like I’m at the only tavern in town.  “Neon Lights,” especially, made me reminisce about my small-town upbringing.  Bringing Back the Sunshine as a whole was that way–I had fun imagining myself in the middle of nowhere listening to some real country.

Likin Park (lost count) had a cool concept.  I thought it was neat that they released vocal tracks and instrumental background tracks in addition to the full songs.  Though, because the band has been one of my staples for a long time now, I didn’t really feel this album was up to par.  I couldn’t pick out a song that spoke to me as I usually can, let alone multiple songs. . .

311 (5 songs) is good syncopated, robot rock.  I like the slightly less edgy sound of Stereolithic.  Though it has wisps of POD, I think this band found some maturity, while still staying true to their main thing.

Bush (5 songs) always has their own distinct sound which is true of Man on the Run.  I like the rock, like the beat, and feel the industrial vibe they convey.  It’s not Razorblade Suitcase quality, but it’s not a loser either.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (5 songs) are a staple–obviously.  They’re also older, and settled into their careers, not necessarily striving to produce the most popular album of the year.  Still, they took risks with “Hypnotic Eye” and had a more bluesy sound that was interesting.

Johnny Cash (5 songs) posthumus album brought mixed feelings.  Was it released for the money or because the songs are too strong to remain unheard?  Unfortunately my opinion leans toward the former.  Though I did like the more country feel, and especially liked the actual singing, rather then talking through songs.  At least check out “She Used to Love Me a Lot” as I think it’s the best of the bunch.

Lana Del Ray (5 songs) sings. . .  Pouty music.  Is that a thing?  I feel it’s an accurate description for the dreamy, waif, sound she brings to the table.  I do like it because it’s easy on the ears and I always like anything that I can play while studying.

Beck (5 songs) was not an album I’d call a star–it was mostly just innocuous.  I feel like in the past, Beck shared his point of view, but these songs were quiet and a little meh. . .

Nick Jonas (4 songs) had many things going for him:  Catchy, singable, dancey, and that bitterness I like so well.  His self-titled album is at the top of my list for 2014 efforts, even though I only love-loved 4 of the songs.  Those few were so good, that the album rose above some other artists.

Mary J. Blige (4 songs) sang the songs of a spurned lover on Think Like a Man Too soundtrack.  Though this is her go-to genre–the brokenhearted, bitter ex–she is awesome at it.  And this is probably my favorite type of music just because the lyrics are meaningful and it evokes so much emotion.  Someone dispassionate or out to make a buck just can’t pull it off, so I liked this 2014 offering.

Christina Perri (4 songs) is one of THE best singers out there, but head or heart got a very slow start.  She didn’t show her chops until “i don’t wanna break” and into “Only Human.”  When she does her stuff, though, she does it well.  “be my forever” is another favorite song in the bunch, and one that will stay with you awhile.  PS–I’m not a fan of lowercase titles, just so you know lack of grammar doesn’t make you cool or give you edge–it just makes you look ignorant.  Speak English, not text–rant over.  And excuse any of my own spelling errors in this entire post-ha!

Jennifer Lopez (4 songs) has a very different, more mature, sound in all but “AKA.”  I like it a little better, actually, then the club and R&B/Rap pop stuff she used to do.  She shows amazing vocal range as well as heart, in “Let it be Me” and “Never Satisfied” is a pretty little song.  I like J-Lo 2.0.

The Doobie Brothers (4 songs) are legend.  But I thought Southbound was some sort of re-release because I already knew the songs.  After further investigation, I realized each song featured a current artist.  And it did breathe new life into old staples.  Good concept, good way to re-enter the spotlight.

Santana (4 songs) is a lot like DMB in that you can’t be a partial-fan.  You have to listen closely for subtleties in the music to appreciate it.  As a partial-fan, the album begins to blend together for me.  I can tell Santana knows what he is doing on that guitar.  And I like all the featured artists.

Annie Lennox (4 songs) had a good concept for Nostalgia.  And it’s a good way to get back out there, put out a new record, without all the hassle of conceptualizing and writing your own new material–despite sounding sarcastic, or snarky–I don’t mean it that way.  I feel she gave respect to the songs, and put her own bluesy stamp on each of them.  She especially gave a respectful and haunting version of “Strange Fruit” which is a brave thing for a white person to sing.

Nickelback (4 songs) found some maturity.  I especially like the uplifting vibe of “What are You Waiting for?”  They’ve all but abandoned their objectification of women and sexualized hard-rock for a still-rocking sound.

Better Than Ezra (4 songs) reminds me of the Blacked Eyed Peas combined with. . .  Something less dancy and lower key.  I could get on to this.  I felt like “Dollar Sign” was a nice message about appreciating the important things-not just being capitalistic.  I like the sentiment.

Cold War Kids (4 songs) are a little too. . .  Whiny.  Maybe that’s the word I’m going for here.  They have this pleading sound that’s a bit dramatic and off-putting, but I like the TYPE of music they do.

Foo Fighters (4 songs) were also among the artists who grew up in 2014.  They still rock, but it’s a little LESS hard–soft is not accurate.  I didn’t fall in love with any particular song though, so they’re toward the bottom of this list.

Hard Working Americans (4 songs) has a gravelly voice and feeling in their album.  It was similar to John Mellencamp–but with actual singing.  The idea of blue-collar rock music is a good one–especially when the vocals are executed properly.

Kenny Chesney (4 songs) is not someone I usually listen to.  “Rock Bottom” and “American Kids” are both really catchy and I liked the easy-listen.

Joan Osborne (4 songs) is still around–I’ll bet you didn’t realize that.  She had more of a beat and a jazzy feel then her “God is One of Us” days, and it works for her.  I always picture a Southern jazzy club when I listen as it’s smoky and bluesy in a folksy way.

Tori Amos (4 songs) is more of the same.  I like piano, but I’m never super-excited to listen to her.  And I’m not sure why, because she’s a feminist, she sings with heart and a message.  But it’s a little show-tunes, for me and sometimes comes across. . .  whiny.  I did like “Wild Ways” pretty well though.

Coldplay (4 songs) kind of pissed me off last year.  For the longest time ever, they refused to put their music on Spotify.  Which is super-lame, because the ads mean the artists get their money.  So I saw that as greedy-greedy and pointless.  Because they are RICH mo-fos.  But once I was able to hear the songs, I thought they were less than par with previous efforts.  So I’m not sure what all the secrecy was about.  Call me unimpressed.

Bruce Springstein (4 songs) is not a good singer.  But it’s not always just about vocal prowess.  I like the community feelings invoked throughout High Hopes.

Kid Ink (3 songs) “Hello” is amazing.  I had to mention this album for primarily that song, but I did like 2 more as well.

Lee Brice (3 songs) is a good-time good ‘ol country boy.  I like his softer country, especially his blue collar anthem, “Drinking Class.”

Ariana Grande (3 songs) sounds a lot like J-Lo–at least her voice does–to me.  I love an empowered, bitter rant song and “Problem” perfectly fits that bill.  Watch this gal!

Against Me! (3 songs) can be described in 2 words:  Cheeky and honest.  I liked the direction of Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and everything the title and the front artist stand for.  I think this album would be a bit stronger if a few earnest, slow songs were mixed in with the angry punk-rock vibe.

Pixies (3 songs) are new to me.  I thought they were a neo-punk band, but it’s more like The Foo Fighters after a hangover.  It’s rocking, but not with the strength behind it–a little toned down.

Manchester Orchestra (3 songs) was, as far as I knew, a Christmas thing.  But “HOPE” is not x-mas, it features nice harmonies and a quiet simmer of songs.  It’s a little bleak, but substantial all the same.

50 Cent (3 songs) primarily made my list for. . .  The cover art.  I know, I know, but it’s a pretty awesome-looking lion.  I also like the sentiment, toughness, and growl in “Animal Ambition,” the title track.

Toni Braxton (2 songs) is back!  Sort of.  You know how I love a bitter anthem, and she provides a good one with “I Wish.”  In it, she says what every ex thinks–and it’s a little bit of awesome.

The Vamps (2 songs) have a couple of stand out songs.  “Wild Heart” is a foot-stomping anthem of sorts.

Ryan Adams (2 songs) is a little depressing to listen to.  I’m not sure if that’s the intention or not.  I did like “Stay With Me,” so I thought this self-titled album deserved mention.

Pharrell Willimas (1 song) had a good album, but got edged out of the top 10 by the strong competition.  The standout, “Happy” is a catchy, danceable song with a positive message that I think deserves mention.

Young the Giant (1 really good, and all listenable songs) sounds (to me) like a cross between Arcade Fire and Keane. It’s chill enough to study to and a nice listen. It just isn’t assertive enough of a sound to be a contender for the top spots. They need to find their voice, and it needs to say more.

Mya (1 song) spoke to me on the album, I felt “meh” about the rest.  But “M-O-N-E-Y” is worth mention (pun!).

The Black Keys (1 song) had a superb last album, but Turn Blue was a disappointment.  Only one song, maybe two even made my list, and not because they were super-outstanding.

President’s of the USA (1 song) seems played out to me.  Maybe I’m past their target audience?  I only partially liked “Electric Spider” but found the rest of the album silly and tiresome.

Honorable mention:  The Flaming Lips.  The concept–a re-do of the Beatles–is outstanding!  I really love the idea.  Trouble is, With a Little Help from My Friends is largely unlistenable.  It’s hard to take a psychedelic, out-of-the-box hit like Sgt Pepper. . .  to a crazier state without crossing the line.  And cross the line, the Flaming Lips did.  I wanted to love it, but it’s just too much.  I love their bravery and their creativity though.

A Look Ahead–2015 Goals, Not Resolutions

1 Jan

Last year, having a monthly post with my goals already written out was really helpful.  I liked doing a monthly accountability check–even if it was boring for you to read.

This year, I think I’m going to have less goals, but no less important.

Gorge N1 2014

2014 Maintenance Goals–keep these going!

The key is to be specific, but not box myself in a corner.  And to be mentally prepared to do it, have a plan, and establish a routine.

A]  run at least 1 mile 1st thing in the morning every day.

B]  For school I would like to read and outline all my textbooks before school begins in the fall.  Additionally, I think it’s worth mentioning (to myself) that I want to keep up on making my flash cards and study sheets as close after class as possible–for every class.  All semester.

C]  I want to be better about collecting my positive moments in a jar (minimum of 2/mo), as well as listing (in my head) what I’m thankful for daily.  As part of this, I want to appreciate nature, love, and things I already have.  Worrying can only take up a maximum of 15 minutes/day.  EVERY day.  Also, I need to remember to do my very best, but not stress out and look for perfection.  It’s a fine line.

D]  Dental health.  Floss daily, brush twice daily for an adequate time, and find a way to make the dentist happen at least once in the next year.

2015 Aspirations (in no particular order):

#1:  Get the money.  Make it, keep it.money

a)  I would like to do the 365 day money challenge where you save a dollar +1 every week of the year.

b)  Sell a minimum of 1 item on Craigslist per month and have one yard sale.

c)  Apply for every funding opportunity at UU, and go for scholarships once I’m eligible for them.

#2:  All about the AuD.Audiogram-Familiar-Sounds

a)  read the journals, e-mails, forums–and the national news (minimum of average of 1/wk)

b)  practice and prepare for the interview (at least 1 question/wk)

c)  really follow-up on observing an AuD.  I need at least 3 hours for admission to UU, and of course it’s important that I get more.  It would also be ideal to get it in a variety of settings, but I’ll start with the minimum of 3 hours and scale the goal up from there if I can accomplish it.

#3:  Cool.Spring Finals 001

This is highly dependant on Cool’s bipolar, anxiety, and medications.  I want to be more affectionate, dare I say, sweet and less judgemental.  I will look at this as a continuum though since this is very dynamic area.  I’ll try to be one level more than the responsible that I always am then Cool’s current mood state.   I define this as:  tolerant = overlook silliness, don’t engage or poke the bear.  Affectionate = say random I love yous, introduce touching (nuff said, and you get the idea).  Sweet = make a spontaneous grand gesture, do something for her, that I maybe don’t normally like or do.  So if she’s having a terrible month, being a real jerk, irritable, mean, and lazy–I’ll try to be both responsible AND tolerant.  If we’re having an awesome month without problem, I’ll try to not only be affectionate, but go the extra mile to sweet.  So I’ll rate Cool’s behavior on a level of 1 (awful) to 3 (beautiful) and try to be tolerant, affectionate, sweet in accordance with that.  This way the goal is more in my control and works with whatever is happening to Cool.  Mental illness complicates things, but I want to rise above it.

#4:  Make a menu, do a grocery list, grocery shop, and cook. I think if I start out simple in order to establish a routine, this will go better.Easter 022

a)  I thought of the 7 easiest meals I know how to cook:   quesadillas–>tacos, spaghetti–>fancy pasta, mac & chee–>add-ins, PB&J–>grilled chee, oatmeal–>add-ins, eggs–>scramble, pigs in a blanket–>snake bites.  We can start with the easiest version, then move to the more complex as we get into the groove.  If we really find success, we can branch out with new dishes.

b)  I’d like to start with 5 days of cooking per week (with opening a can of chilli, stew, hash, soup, or bag of salad for a cheat day) and hopefully grow it to all 7.  So that takes care of the menu and helps the cooking.

c)  We can grocery shop once weekly, let’s say optimally Sunday morning, but if that’s not possible Sun-Tues (to save time).  I WANT this one, it’s just hard to make it a habit.

#5:  Prepare, but don’t stress out.Laurel's pics 026

I want to do everything in my power to set myself up for the move, for school, and excelling throughout the school year.  I want to work continuously on this one, doing at least 1 thing every week towards the future.  I’ll start with a big 3:

a)  Starting all these goals

b)  Completing my taxes and FAFSA just as soon as I receive my paperwork.

c)  Finally cleaning, organizing, and packing (pick one new area every non-work day).

d)  Then set a monthly deadline for at least one additional task.

To help me accomplish these 5 new goals and maintain the 4 older ones, I’ll do a monthly accountability post like last year and make a poster I can see daily.