Monthly Archives: June 2024

Mid-Year Check In 1

Mid-Year Check In

Now that 2024 is just about half over, it’s a good time to take stock of my 24 in 24 goals. As you may recall, in January, I created a list of 24 goals I would like to accomplish this year. I got the idea from journalist Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft, who together host the Happier Podcast (which I highly recommend.)

Before I report on my progress, shout out to what is still holding on as my (perhaps) greatest achievement this year – getting thousands upon thousands of likes for my comments on the Frannie’s Fight Instagram account.

Mid-Year Check In 2

For those of you who need a reminder, Frannie was an extremely obese golden retriever who lived her life on a concrete slab until Rover’s Retreat in California rescued her. Thanks to the love, hard work, and diligent medical care from her foster mom (now adopted mom), Frannie has lost a total of 46.6 pounds. She has about 13.5 pounds to go to reach her goal weight.

I find myself more invested in Frannie’s story than anything else in pop culture at the moment. It’s filled the Ted-Lasso-Sized hole in my heart. Even on days when I take a social media fast, I allow myself five seconds to open my Instagram app to see if there are any new Frannie posts. This essentially means that instead of social media fasting, it’s a no-social-media-scrolling type of diet. Which I’m okay with. Frannie is worth it!

Without further ado, here is my 24 in 24 progress report:

  1. Order a passport to replace my stolen one.
    1. Some progress: A replacement passport requires a certified birth certificate, which can be ordered online. However, the website requires the shipping address and billing address to be the same, so it wasn’t until two weeks ago that I felt confident enough that we were staying in Colorado to update my billing address to our PO Box in Boulder. The birth certificate has been ordered, and I’m waiting for delivery. Once I have that, I’ll take the next steps for a passport replacement.
  2. Move for at least 24 minutes a day.
    1. Gold star! I’ve only missed five days of intentional movement this year. Although some friends have argued that I should count the days I walk for transportation in this category, I don’t because that movement is a means to an end and not for the specific purpose of keeping my body fit and mobile.
  3. Meditate for at least 24 minutes a day.
    1. Gold star! I have only missed six days of meditation this year. These are not the same days as when I also missed my daily movement goal. Meditation and movement are two of the most important things for keeping me healthy and happy, so if I ever miss one day for one of them, I always make sure the other gets fit in.
  4. 2-4 minutes of breathwork, 2-4 times per week.
    1. Gold star! I missed one full week of breathwork in June, and the week of April 14th, I only did one breathwork session. However, for five weeks so far this year, I surpassed my goal of 2-4 sessions; for three weeks I did breathwork every day!
  5. 24-hour social media breaks every week.
    1. Silver star! As I mentioned above, because of Frannie, I’m not taking a full social media break at all. But I do limit my social media one day a week to just the Instagram peeks for Frannie content. On those days, I don’t partake of any other social media website or app.
  6. 24-hour game breaks every week.
    1. Platinum star! In addition to my weekly game breaks (Daily Wordle excluded), it has been 61 days since I’ve wasted any time playing Royal Match. I found myself consumed by the game this winter and early spring, and I decided to take a mental health break from it in May. Because I’ve been keeping track of days off the game, I didn’t want to break the chain and start up again. Unless something catastrophically stressful happens in my life, I hope I won’t need to open this game app ever again in my life.
  7. 2-4 months of news fasting.
    1. Gold star! So far, I’ve fasted in January and May. I plan to do another fast in August as a birthday gift to myself, and I’m contemplating July, as well. One of the downsides of a news fast is that I miss reading the NY Times Well newsletter where I learn cool psychology stuff, so perhaps what I’ll do is fast from political, climate, and war news and only read the NY Times Well Newsletter every week in July. For what it’s worth, I extended my January news fast into February. When I finally watched the news the second week of February to be social with some friends, 90% of the news stories were the same ones that were reported in December.
  8. Review 24 dog books for a new Instagram account.
    1. Minimal progress: I *FINALLY* got a library card here in Colorado! So now I’ll have a cost-effective way to obtain the books that I want to review. Not that I’m opposed to buying books. In fact, even though I’m a minimalist, I often buy children’s books because I have so many friends who are authors. Once I’m done reading them, I send them off via media mail to my friend, who just happens to be a school librarian. However, not having had a job for 13 months has reinforced the need to be cost-effective in as many aspects of my life as possible. So, library books it is for the time being.
  9. Create 24 dog posts for a new Instagram account (same new account mentioned in #8).
    1. Minimal progress: I’ve created 2 posts. Because this goal is tied to #8 and my lack of a library card impeded #8, I didn’t prioritize this goal. Now that things are moving along for #8, this goal should be more of a priority for these next six months.
  10. Eat 24 baby spinach leaves 2-4 times per week.
    1. Hit or miss! Having been plagued with gut issues since childhood, whenever I have an IBS flare-up, the first thing I do is cut way down on insoluble fiber. So even though I want to eat spinach or drink a green smoothie because I consider leafy greens to be the most energizing food, sometimes my body can’t handle it. Also, I didn’t start keeping track of this goal until the middle of February because I was moving around so much, and I didn’t have the luxury of being able to transport fresh produce from house to house. So gut flare-ups aside, of the 18 weeks this year I felt comfortable enough to eat leafy greens, I met this goal 13 of those weeks. I’m pretty pleased with my progress and here’s hoping the second half of the year is more gut-friendly.
  11. Revise 2-4 manuscripts I’ve already written.
    1. Silver star! I’m delighted to report that my revision of a middle-grade novel I wrote last year is completed, and I’m now working on a revision of a 97,000-word adult romcomantasy (ie, a romcom-fantasy for those of you not familiar with this word). Working on the romcomantasy is taking so much longer than I anticipated, although I can’t be too surprised because I knew that the manuscript needed a lot of revision. I only have six chapters left on this go around, but there are some new developmental issues I need to flesh out, so I’m going to have to take at least two more passes at it before it will be ready to share with beta readers. As you can imagine, 97,000 words is A LOT, and compared with the 37,000 words of my middle-grade novel, I find it impossible to remember all the little details, so I’m constantly highlighting points I need to double-check in later chapters that were first mentioned in earlier chapters. I drag my feet a lot on this manuscript simply because it is so daunting. Nevertheless, I’m going to get it done.
  12. Watch 24 sunrises outside.
    1. Platinum star! I have already watched 51 sunrises outside! However, I’m taking a hiatus from making any further progress on this goal because now that it’s summer, the sun rises so early.
  13. Do yoga 2-4 times per month.
    1. Gold star! After a slow start of squeezing in two yoga sessions at the end of January and February, I found a renewed sense of yoga vigor when my friend shared with me this 12-sequence series to help prevent bone loss. I now average yoga 2-4 times per week instead of monthly. YAY!
  14. Visit 2-4 friends out of state.
    1. I visited friends in Norfolk in February, and I’ll be back again in July. So consider this one accomplished!
  15. Go rucking 2-4 times per week.
    1. Hit or miss! I got off to a great start with rucking 2-4 times per week in January and February. Then I inflamed the insertional Achilles tendonitis in my left heel, and I still haven’t fully recovered. So, while I’m currently lifting lighter weights during workout sessions, the stress from climbing mountains with a weighted backpack was too much on my heel, and this goal is currently on hiatus for the foreseeable future.
  16. Meet 24 new dogs.
    1. Platinum star! Is anyone surprised I’ve already met 57 new dogs this year?
  17. Write and post 24 new blog posts.
    1. Bronze star! This goal was based on writing a new blog post every two weeks. Sometimes, I meet that deadline, and sometimes, it stretches to three or four weeks between posts. So we’ll see if I can course correct for the second half of the year.
  18. Listen to 2-4 Great Courses.
    1. No progress: I’ve been embracing podcasts this year, which I never have before, and so I’m reluctant to give up listening time for a Great Course. But there’s at least one course I would like to take, so this is another goal where we’ll see if I’m course correct, knowing I haven’t made any progress.
  19. Attend 24 cold-water plunges (assuming we stay in CO).
    1. Platinum star! So far, I’ve attended 16 cold-water plunges with a Meetup Group. The best part was that they asked me if I wanted to be a leader. I said YES!, and I’ve now led four meditations and one full group experience. Years ago, I listed all my life goals, hopes, and dreams, and meditation instructor made my list. How amazing for this dream to come true without any additional effort than showing up (and practicing meditation almost every day).
  20. Buy 2-4 outfits I genuinely like and that feel comfortable.
    1. No progress: But I’m optimistic that I’ll soon be making significant progress on this goal. It will help to have a steady paycheck again.
  21. Hike 2-4 times at Rocky Mountain National Park (assuming we stay in CO.)
    1. Some progress: I hiked at RMNP in January, and Heath and I visited in March, although we didn’t hike. I’m optimistic that I’ll make this goal in another 6 months.
  22. Sell my book, D Is for Doggo, at 2-4 events.
    1. No progress, and unlikely to happen in 2024. Despite my best intentions, I really didn’t think it would take me over 13 months to get a new job. This goal requires a steep financial investment upfront for me to purchase my book in bulk to sell at events, and I’m not in a position to do that right now. So unless something truly unexpected happens (and you never know because I once went from single to married in the course of three weeks), I’m not optimistic that this goal will be met (and I’m okay with that). There’s always 2025!
  23. Give 2-4 psychology presentations.
    1. Some progress: I’m delighted to report that I’m scheduled for two psychology presentations this year. Both will be in November. One is for Eco-Cycle, and I’ll be presenting on The Psychology of Stuff: Why We Have So Much and What We Can Do About It just in time for Black Friday, and the other is Today Is Not The Day: Procrastination Hacks for Writers for YA (Young Adult Writers) Connect of the Rocky Mountain Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrations. The latter presentation is like a procrastination presentation I gave on spring cleaning at some CT libraries in the spring of 2023, so I’m excited to revamp the presentation for my writer friends.
  24. Color 2-4 times per week.
    1. Bronze star! I like coloring as a wind-down/relaxation technique, and I was on quite the coloring roll for most of this year. But since I’ve been at three different housesits in June, I’ve fallen out of the habit. I started keeping track in February, and of the 22 weeks that have since elapsed, I met my target 13 times. Not bad, but there’s room for improvement.

All in all, it feels good to see how much progress I’ve made towards goals I deemed important for my life. Here’s hoping the next six months bring even more success! And many more dogs.

Mid-Year Check In 3

To Love Them All 4

To Love Them All

At the end of May, I returned to North Boulder to housesit a dog and two cats. Everyone, meet Noodle the Labradoodle,
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and Momo.
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Noodle is a silly and sweet dog who requires very little effort. Her most consuming care is twice daily walks around Wonderland Lake. But when this is your walking area, it’s not a burden at all.
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Heath is also quite taken with Noodle and he dotes on her quite a bit. It’s all very cute.
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The problem is she’s such a delightful dog that we want to take her with us everywhere. Yesterday when we went to see The Fellowship of the Ring, which was re-released in the theaters this weekend, we lamented that we had to leave Noodle behind. So unfair!
Nevertheless, we persevered and went without her.
When people ask me if I’m going to get a dog once we settle down (which is very, very soon, by the way),  I tell them no. And it’s because of dogs like Noodle.
And Max.
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And Maka.
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Who are Max and Maka, you may be wondering? They’re the dogs I took care of in Central Boulder for most of May. Every morning we walked in the open space areas by their house and it was such a joyful experience to see them zooming all over the place.
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I became so attached to them that in the week following the housesit move to Noodle’s house, I went to visit them twice and walk them once. Not because they needed someone to walk them but because I missed them so much and wanted to spend time on the trails with them.
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When I also take into account the other dogs across the country that I love, frankly, I don’t have it in me to want a dog of my own.
In Connecticut, there’s Dodger, Annie, Chloe, and Fergus. In Tennessee there’s Rafiki. In Washington there’s Arnold, Kona, and Bitsy. And in Colorado, there’s now Foster, Mookie, Willow, Arthur, Stella, Max, Maka, and Noodle.
And this doesn’t take into account the cats and goats I love, too.
Because I know myself so well and I know how attached I get to animals, it’s best for me to spread all my love out and care for other people’s animals.
Maybe someday I’ll see things differently. But for now, it’s my goal to love all the dogs as much as I can. And cats. And goats.
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