Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Old (Good) Habits

I spent a large part of today doing something I used to do all the time, but haven't done in a long, long time--reading other people's blogs.  Sure, I've read the occasional blog here and there, but once upon a time I made it a habit to keep up with a number of them.

Why was it a good habit?  Partially because I avoid any kind of official news source like the proverbial plague.  I tend to learn about things going on in the world through social media, including blogs.  Also because many, many times reading others' blogs would be inspiration for my own.  (I was writing more about the Craft then.  I'm willing to let myself go on this a while longer, as I try to establish a habit of writing again, about anything, but I do want to get back to that eventually.)  Lastly, it helped me connect to people in a non-threatening way that my very introverted self really needs.

I had a ton of things to do, so I felt guilty about doing it, but at the same time it felt good.  I'll definitely need to make more time for it in the future.

What habits have you let go that you wish you hadn't?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Trying Not To Fall Into a Black Hole

I'm not feeling this at all today. Yesterday was a spectacularly bad day, and I'm still feeling it. I consider it a major accomplishment to write this much today.

I've been having some health problems for a couple of months now, and they've been getting me very down.  I've been fighting to not fall into depression because of them. It's not just the problems directly, it's that I finally felt I was on the right track to losing all the weight I need to lose, and that's been totally derailed by the fact that I can't exert any effort without being physically ill.  I can't even mentally concentrate for very long without feeling nauseous.  It's not good for my mini-habits, either.

But after multiple appointments with multiple doctors, they finally think they've figured it out.  I'm having minor surgery next Tuesday which I very much hope will take care of it. That hope is the only thing keeping me from serious depression.

I've been crying frequently and easily, seeing the positive less and the negative more, not enjoying things like I had been, and so on.  It's just too easy to despair.

My DH has been completely wonderful and fully supportive.  I really don't know what I would have done without him.  I love you, Sweetie!

I realize this post is disjointed, but I just don't have the heart to try and clean it up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Background Pic

NOW I remember why my blog has sat in the "construction" phase for over two years!  I set the generic background when we moved out of our house in Ontario, meaning to replace it with a picture of whatever house we got in Texas.  I took this picture when we first moved into this house, back in May of 2013. 

Then I started fooling with Blogger and templates.  I vaguely remembered it was a pain from back when I first set it up with a picture of the Ontario house.  Obviously I had blocked out most of the trauma.

I fooled with it for I don't know how long back in 2013 before giving up in frustration and disgust.  But I decided the blog had been in it's "temporary" state for way too long, and since I was actually writing in it again I should have a picture of where my life takes place now.

Aaarrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Let's start with a myriad of computer problems, which those of you who know me know I've been having since I've become Wiccan.  So, I started the process already annoyed and frustrated.  And it only went downhill from there.  Sigh.

But, as you can see, I at least got so far as to get an image up there this time.  It's not exactly how I wanted it, but it's up there.  I feel some sense of accomplishment at that.

I know I should probably move away from Blogger, but I'm way to lazy to really look into it much.  Although I was really tempted this morning!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Week of Mini-Habits

It's been just over a week since I started my Mini-Habits, and I'm happy to report that they're going pretty well.  Some are going better than others, but I suppose that's to be expected.

I had originally only planned to do the blogging, creativity, and nature journal Monday to Thursday, and the cooking only when I was home.  I'm finding I may need to modify that plan.

My nature journal habit is definitely going the best of all of them.  I love doing it, and I'm already to the point where I WANT to do it seven days a week instead of the original four.  Here's a couple of pages of what I'm doing:

The blogging you can see here online.  I think I need to be doing this every day, even if it's just the minimum.  This mini-habit is definitely helping me get back to it, but it's happening more slowly than I'd like.

My creativity habit is going fairly well.  So far, it's been aimed mostly at my nature journal.  I added decorative papers I love to it.  It's probably helped a lot with the journaling, lol!

Front Cover

Back Cover

Inside Front Cover

Inside Back Cover

I'm also working on a pencil pouch I can attach to it so I can add color to my sketches in the field, and possibly an envelope for embellishments.

As for cooking, that's not going nearly as well as I'd hoped.  I'm definitely going to have to change that plan to every day.  I need to add a minimum activity for days I'm not at home.  Maybe reading the recipe, or even deciding what I'm going to make the day I am home.

I can't wait to see where I am in a month!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Appliance Woes

For perhaps the first time ever, I'm very glad about the horrendous heat here in Texas. You might wonder if I've lost my mind. I have not. What I have lost, is a water heater.

Last week we noticed we had no hot water in the master bathroom. I should probably call it the owner's bathroom, or the main bedroom bathroom, or some such, but moving on...the next morning, when it was cool enough not to actually boil your blood in the attic, DH went up and took a look. Turns out the pilot light was out.  Luckily, it has an automatic cut-off for that very purpose, so we didn't blow up or anything. Bad part about it, he couldn't get it lit again, no matter what he tried.

He came back downstairs and we resigned ourselves to cold showers, as it was a workday with no time to do anything about it that morning. And of course, being the geeks we both are, we immediately hit the 'net and started researching what could be wrong with it. Turns out it's a fairly simple do-it-yourself figure-out-what's-wrong and most likely a simple fix. And I'm very lucky that DH is very good with stuff like that (as well as lots of other things.) Me, not so much.

So it was simple, but it wasn't a workday evening type of job. We have two water heaters, one for the owner's suite and one for the rest of the house, so we could still wash dishes, clothes, etc. And we could, if we wanted to, go upstairs and use one of the guest bathrooms.  But it turns out we didn't need to do that. It's so hot here that we don't really need the hot water at the moment. Even the water in the 5000 gallon holding tank out back is pretty warm, sitting outside in the sun all day. So all we have to do is wait for the cooler water sitting in the inside pipes (shaded and somewhat air conditioned) to flow past, and we can take at least a tepid shower. Yay.

And that turns out to be really good, because in doing further research, both online and in talking to professionals, we found out that we probably shouldn't fix it. Water heaters are guaranteed for 6-9 years. This one is about 18 years old.  Why is that a bad thing? Why shouldn't I be happy it's lasted this long?  Because everyone we talked to and every site we read said that when water heaters go, it's usually spectacular. At the very least, they tend to leak and cause major water damage. At worst, they explode!

So now we're looking into replacing not only it, but maybe the other one, too. The other one's iffy, 'cause it's in the garage, so if it leaks it probably won't cause much, if any, water damage.  But the possible exploding part, that's a concern. At any rate, we're going water-heater shopping this weekend.

Meanwhile, as I write this, I'm waiting for the washing machine repair guy. It's on a totally non-related issue, and thank the Goddess it's under warranty, being as it's less than two years old. 

Still, feeling a bit appliance picked-on this week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Great Weekend

This past weekend was a fabulous one for DH and me.  We had a blast for three days straight, and it wasn't a long weekend or a holiday or anything.

 We start our weekends on Friday whenever we can.  I drive into work with DH and work out at the company gym until lunch, when we go out and eat together.  In the afternoon I run errands or sit and read until he can escape, which he often manages to do a little early.  Most Friday evenings are all about our Friday Feast (FF), in which we eat too much and occasionally drink too much.

We usually have our FF at home, either cooking something special or getting take out, but this Friday started with the first of what we hope will be regular date nights.  We actually went out for Mexican food and Mexican martinis.  We sat in a restaurant and everything!  This was followed by beer and live music at a local pub.  Dinner was great, but we got to the outdoor pub a little too early.  The sun was still out, and as the live music was out on the patio we nearly roasted alive.  But we're determined to make it work.  Next time, wait 'til the sun goes down!

Saturday morning was filled with massive sales.  We, or at least I, started at the Sew Much More warehouse sale.  (DH napped in the car while I shopped.)  It wasn't as impressive as I'd hoped, and almost exclusively about machine sewing and machine embroidery, neither of which interests me over much.  I did snag a couple of handy accessories, though.

Next we headed over to the Citywide Garage Sale.  My main objective here was to meet my fitness goal in the air conditioning.  I also hoped to find some really cool jars to use as water glasses for my watercolor painting.  No luck there (everything was either too fancy or too expensive, or both) but I DID meet my fitness goal of thirty minutes of motion.

After lunch we headed to the grocery store.  We'd found an appealing grilled shrimp recipe we wanted to try, and while we were there we picked up some gorgeous salmon as well.

An evening spent cooking, grilling, laughing, and drinking WAY too much wine turned into a very late night of watching hilariously bad movies.  We didn't go to bed until after 2:00 am, four hours or so after our regular bedtime, because we were having so much fun neither of us wanted to quit.  (This was actually a bad thing, as both of us are night-owls who will stay up until dawn at the least provocation.  We fight that proclivity and try to go to bed closer to 10:00, but it's hard.  And we've been paying for it for the last three nights as we try and fail to get to bed before midnight.  Well worth it, though.)

Sunday started late, not too surprisingly.  We cooked up a yummy frittata for a late brunch, then spent the rest of the day being productive around the house and running a couple of local errands.  We basked in the feeling of accomplishment from everything we got done, and then the weekend ended with fabulous fish tacos made with the salmon we grilled the night before.  Culinary delight!

Something about the everyday stuff that made up this weekend was magickal, and I truly wished it would never end.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A New Beginning

I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I was here.  Just over ten months.  The thing is, I really enjoy writing this, when I do it.  And it's easy.  So I have no idea why I just don't.

No matter.  I've been reading a book by Stephen Guise titled Mini Habits:  Smaller Habits, Bigger Results.  It's all about setting what the author calls "stupid small" goals to try and form habits that will turn into something larger.  The idea is to make them so small that you won't resist them and they won't cost you much willpower.  He claims he got into shape by setting a Mini Habit of one push-up a day, and he swears by the method, so I'm willing to give it a try.

I've set four Mini Habits for myself, which is the maximum he recommends at any one time.  He actually encourages people to do two or three, but as per usual I'm impatient.  :)

The first one has to do with starting a nature journal.  I've been wanting to do it since I moved here, and I'm hoping this will start me on that path.  The Mini Habit I will try to cultivate is simply to step outside for thirty seconds each day.  I tried it earlier, and it did make me wish I'd brought the journal with me, so tomorrow that is what I'll do.

The second stupid small habit I'm trying to acquire has to do with writing this blog.  I will achieve success by writing ten words each day, Monday through Thursday.  I can always do more, as I'm dong here, but I must do the minimum.

The third is being more creative in general.  The habit here is to go upstairs where most of my arts and crafts supplies are.  That's it.  I don't have to do anything once I'm there, I can simply turn around and come back downstairs if I so choose.  But most likely I won't.

Lastly, I want to cook more, so I have set myself the minimum goal of gathering the first ingredient.  Again, that's it.  If I choose to not go any further, to put whatever it is back up, I still win.  I'm hoping once I get over the resistance to starting I'll go ahead and make whatever it was I was planning.

According to the book, studies have shown that habits take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form, depending on the habit, the person, how much they want to form it, and so on.  Much different from the 21 or 30 days most pop-psych books claim.

I guess I'll find out if it works somewhere between three and thirty-six weeks.