What I Read: January 2019

Rereads

The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson. I realized when reading this that I’d read this as a child. Funny enough I guess, but maybe not quite as much (nor as endearing) as the Christmas one.

Popular Nonfiction

Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal by Ben Sasse. He can be SO Luddite-sounding, even though he claims not to be. I had trouble with the first part of the book, I think he tries to reach everyone, but I don’t find it accurate, and I don’t think he should be making some of the claims he does without statistics. The end (the actionable part) is far more encouraging (similar to the other book, except that book was mainly actionable). One of the best parts (if not the best) is his highlighting and explaining the difference between civics and politics, something I hold to be highly important.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This is good for motivation if you are in the right place for it. It could definitely lose some repetitiveness and be made into a booklet.

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski. This had interesting information, but quite frankly, I’m not sure what her point ended up being. I think her thesis was that a group of home economics educators played a pivotal role in universal American stylishness in the 1930’s-1950’s, but I find that quite a stretch. She didn’t include readership statistics of their books or participation in their courses. And this was such a small period of American history. Also, most of it wasn’t really a historical treatise but rather focused more on the “Dress Doctors” programs and advice. She doesn’t address the past style of American women for context, nor does she give a reason for the overall lessening of formality (which also applies to Europe, but we declined into outright slobbishness and trends, at least per the average person or fashion site). Also, America is so widely different, even now, you can’t honestly lump everyone together. The rural states had less need and less access to fashion as more urban states with wildly different lifestyles and incomes. She mentions very briefly the divide of the deep South farm girls and the New York city girls, but not very comprehensively. And she focuses so much on urban working women and university women (the later an especially tiny minority) without acknowledging wide differences to or their relative significance to the broader picture.

Light Fiction

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout. I’m not crazy about these, so many ethical issues.

Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout. I decided to try one more, but no.

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer. I’d read two Heyer’s before, but while I enjoyed parts, they seemed to drag (also, both were apparently her Georgian novels, this one is Regency, more on that below). I started Regency Buck but couldn’t get into it, and I meant to try again later (I still do, but now our library doesn’t have it anymore). However, this one starts fast and is almost constantly hilarious. My love was dampened by the death and the poor taste response to it though. I gave this four stars.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. This also starts fast and is hilarious. It also seems deeper and better writing-wise than the above. I gave this four stars. This one is also Regency.

The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer. Hmm, I wanted to like this (there are some hilarious episodes), but Rule’s adultery. Pointless too, he didn’t care for the woman, he had no reason to be with her, and it’s especially awful that he is trying to woo his wife at. the. same. time. So many layers of NO. Also, as other reviewers pointed out, the heroine is blah. Which is too bad because she starts off so strong. The is Georgian, I could hardly bear the description of the ludicrous Georgian finery and silliness, and I know the period was decadent and immoral (the Regency and the Victorian periods were a reaction to it). One star for the adultery.

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. This is puke. Ugh. The age difference bothered me more here. Heightened by the constant epithet of “mon infant” and her servile, worshipful, constant “Monseigneur”-ing plus her overall worshipful attitude towards His Abominableness. More of the same Georgian decadence and shallowness. If I could give this less than one star and have it mean something, I would. Except heightened especially with being in France. I decided to take a Heyer break for a few weeks after this one.

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Interesting and fairly unique (to me) fantasy. I disliked the silly, shallow heroine though.

Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. Cute middle-grade story. Feels like The Boxcar Children.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. The residents of an island slowly lose their legal ability to speak. This is funny, although I feel like I probably missed a lot of the jokes.

The White Stag by Kate Seredy. Um, no, I don’t want a stupid, contrived (felt very copy paste as did the illustrations which were an odd mix of old West, Greco-Roman, and who knows what else), fantasy story about an extremely violent historical person.

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera. Interesting conception in parts, annoyingly stock Darcy/Knightly/Rochester trope. Silly heroine who doesn’t have any believable or developed change, much less awakening. Unexpectedly Christian.

What I Watched January 2019

Once again, Hallmark craze (or just laziness) takes over.

Hallmarks
Jingle Around the Clock. Cute except for a period of slanderous jumping to conclusions.
A Midnight Kiss. He acted, she was non-human. And the writing/plot was dull.
Winter Castle. Cute.
One Winter Proposal. Cute. This was a sequel and actually ended up good. It won’t beat the first, but it was decent (my only Hallmark sequels previously, that I can remember, were the awful All of My Heart ones)
A Winter Princess. Cute.
Winter Love Story. The girl who plays in this always plays whiny, selfish, bratty, petty idiots. This was no exception.
Snowcoming. The girl in here is an awful actress and the couple had NO chemistry which is too bad since this had the possibility to be good with better acting and writing, the concept was really sweet.

Classics
The Shop Around the Corner. I’d been meaning to watch this, but our library didn’t have it; I watched it on Google Play with a $0.99 deal (I watched You’ve Got Mail and now I need to watch In the Good Old Summertime). Um, I adore watching Jimmy Stuart, he is so handsome (until he aged to ancient in his 40’s!), but man, the girl is this is AWFUL. She’s shallow, petty, cruel, doesn’t look his age, she’s not pretty, yet she is absolutely cruel and snotty and bullying to him about his looks and mind and worth. And he still likes her and wants to be with her?! Definitely disappointing.

February 2019 Goals

I’m adjusting some of my expectations in light of January and then setting a bit higher standards where I think I can/should.

Wellness

  • Build up health habits, maintain other habits
  • Lose 5+ lbs
  • Start a weekly reset habit (Sat/Sun?), maintain daily routines
  • Get hair cut
  • Buy cosmetic and health items
  • Set up tech guards, habits, and sabbaths
  • Buy some of my self-help books?

Financial

  • Have enough to pay Jan and Feb’s obligation
  • Pay March’s credit card bill
  • Start paying loan back
  • Work on process of living off last month’s income (minimum account balance and max credit usage)
  • Get a temporary job
  • Pursue other side gig options
  • Put at least 1/3 of earnings towards emergency fund
  • File taxes and put at least 1/3 of refund towards emergency fund
  • Open a 2nd tiny (for now) savings account

Personal Development

  • Read 8-9 books, including: 4 nonfiction, 1-2 Classics Club reads, and catch up and keep up on War and Peace on Serial Reader
  • 2 major knitting projects and 1-2 small ones
  • 2 major sewing projects
  • Buy planner punch and fun stuff for planner
  • Determine next Spanish steps
  • Determine next graphic design steps

Daily Routine Checklist

I used Evernote to create basic morning and evening routines. I took ideas from Sleep Smarter and Miracle Morning and the whole idea was from MuchelleB. As I used them I modified them. I tried to work all my habits in, and I decided I needed a midday routine as well. None of this is set in stone of course, but I’m happy with this for a basic guide. I ended up finalizing it in Word then printing and laminating it.

Daily Routines
Miracle Morning
 Drink and read to wake up (no more than 30”)
 Exercise, snack, stretch
 Affirmations, visualization, positive journaling
 Fill water jug and eat breakfast
 Get dressed and prepared for the day (ready to be on call)
 Review any to-do’s and goals
 Check email and apply for jobs (10″ max)
 School email and announcement check
 Start on school

Midday Lunch
 Eat
 Refill water
 Make any phone calls
 Check email
 Duolingo and Tinycards
 Read intensive books

Evening Routine
 Finish school
 Graphic Design, CodeAcademy and Treehouse
 Supper, refill water (don’t drink after 7) and any meal prepping
 Check email (10”) and unfinished to-do’s
 Write down tomorrows to-do’s and list daily accomplishments
 Check all battery charges, check weather/work, and turn off electronics
 10″ tidying, prep clothes and such for tomorrow
 Knit
 Put on a wash off face mask or treatment
 Journal
 Shower
 Put on a leave on face mask or treatment
 Make Sleepytime tea
 Read relaxing books
 Any other tips from Sleep Smarter

Habit Trackers for January and February 2019

I liked how AmandaRachLee sets up her habit trackers. I’d really only seen and “tried” the more “log” style ones, but these are just more visually appealing. Also, I’ve tried to work every single habit into my daily routines (more on that in another post).

Here is are my spreads. When noting goals and such that I hadn’t done in January, I decide to expand February’s habits.

  • Bedtime and rise time. I’ve been going to bed late and getting up around 8 (I need like 9-10 hours, at least recently) which means I don’t have much of a morning.
  • Hydration. I’m trying to aim for the optimum amount.
  • Exercise. I’ve been using the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home Instant Access app and the Fitify apps Ab & Core and Lower Body on my phone.
  • Stretch. I’ve been using the Fitify Stretching app.
  • Job search. I’m trying to be more proactive.
  • School. I need to make this a regular habit. Also, my school has started tracking everyone’s logons as participation! Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy mentioned setting fake deadlines for traveling planning, well I have been using “fake” deadlines for school for quite a while. I’m pursuing my associates in Computer and Information Technologies: Internet Technologies: Web Programming Specialization Sequence. The following two habits are to help me with the idea of becoming a website developer.
  • Coding. I’ve been using Treehouse (I have an account checked out via my library, be sure to see if your library has such a program), but I now want to add CodeAcademy as well.
  • Graphic design. I read a mention of needing to learn graphic design for website development and found this free sort of course, so I’m slowly working my way through the articles, resources, and the books my library has.
  • Spanish. I’m trying to get back into Duolingo. I got my 80 year old grandfather into it, and so he’s been learning Spanish the last week+ and even bought himself a book.
  • Reading. I am an erratic reading, so I wanted some discipline and habits.
  • Knitting. I am also an erratic knitter, so I wanted some discipline and habits.
  • Journaling. I feel like my memory isn’t great lately. And I never was good at keeping a record of memories, so I’m trying to prioritize that. I also wanted to incorporate the motivational kind of journaling from Miracle Morning.

 

January Goals 2019 and Success

I didn’t get all my goals and planning posts done in time to do a January goals post, so I’m showing my goals and my success on them here. I’m not expecting myself to just breeze through everything, I’m trying to work my motivation and habits up. My January goals were:

  • Pay a monthly obligation (or have enough to pay Feb 1st). Technically I have enough, but pragmatically, I’ll try to pay quarterly.
  • Pay Feb’s cc bill. Yes.
  • Start paying a loan back. No.
  • Start seriously funding my emergency fund. No.
  • Start raising checking account balance (min=$60) to begin process of living off last month’s income. Yes, but I should’ve also included, start pushing max (self-determined) credit balance down.
  • Aim for minimum income this month. Not even close.
  • Start weekly reset, morning and evening habits. Yes! I haven’t got weekly reset down, but I’m really working on my daily routines.
  • Start daily habits. Yes! I did poorly on the health ones, but I’m going to double-down on those this month.
  • Family (niece!) and pet time (and memories). I need to work on this one.
  • Read 8-9 books; 4 nonfiction. Crushed this with 15 books, 1 a re-read, 3 nonfiction.
  • 2 major knitting projects. No. I added this to my habits chart.
  • 2 major sewing projects? (I may need materials). No. I want to add this to a weekly habits chart.

 

Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party Tag

I thought I wouldn’t have enough mental space to be able to participate in Cordy’s Lovely Blog Party, but I’d forgotten about the tag, and this year she made it so much more interesting, I can’t wait to see everyone’s answers!

Isn’t it romantic to be serenaded?
Depends on the situation, I can imagine some I’d love (whispering or softly singing a song that I like in a quiet moment), but quiet frankly, most of the times I’ve seen it or that people think it should be done . . . I’d either die of embarrassment or laugh in his face.

Isn’t it romantic to have pet names for each other?
Ugh, ugh, ugh. NO!

Edit: I’m assuming pet names such as “Benny-Boo-Boo” or whatever from How to Lose a Man in 10 Days (though this isn’t used seriously and so is absolutely hysterical) or “Molly-wobbles” from HP. NOT terms of endearments such as “my love” and “honey” and “my darling.” Those I do find romantic, unless of course they include, “mon infant” and “Monseigneur” used in such a way, UGH.

Isn’t it romantic if he wants you to look him in the eye?
Probably, and he will probably have to tell me. What is this referencing? “Look back at me?”

Isn’t it romantic to be carried across the threshold?
I guess it could be, it’s so overused though.

Isn’t it romantic to receive flowers and chocolates?
I love flowers and chocolate and will always take them, but I think the cliche takes away the romance, plus my mom gets us candy at every holiday, so its not only for romance.

Isn’t it romantic to get caught in the rain?
Maybe more funny or adventurous. But the funny and adventurous IS more my kinda romance.

Isn’t it romantic to dance?
It can be. I think this plus singing softly is the most traditionally romantic thing on the list for me.

Isn’t it romantic if he asks for your parent’s permission to marry you?
No, its more just the polite/correct thing to do.

Isn’t it romantic to be rescued?
Or its just chivalrous of him?

Isn’t it romantic to stargaze?
Maybe, maybe just more fun.

2019 1st Quarter Goals

Main Goal/Focus: Habits, Systems, and Security

Health and Systems

  • Lose 15 lbs, try to gain some muscle tone and flexibility
  • Work on basic daily habits (especially health ones)
  • Set up morning and evening routine
  • Start weekly reset, monthly planning, and life admin days
  • Figure out digital limits and system
  • Meal planning and prepping habits, healthier snacks

Financial and Career

  • Get at least one temp job and one side gig
  • Pay off debt
  • Maintain school payments, get a bit ahead (same on phone); try and get two (later start) classes
  • Personal goal
  • Get to living off last month’s income
  • Start and fund emergency account to certain amount

Personal Development

  • Read 25 new-to-me books, including several from Classics Club list and 12 nonfiction titles
  • Participate in blog parties (doubtful)
  • 6 major sewing projects (including Easter yellow and blue dress and one Regency piece) and finish some already started projects
  • 6 major knitting projects, finish started projects and some small projects

Purchases

  • Buy water jug and glass meal containers
  • Get some items of certain list
  • Buy (and borrow those I’m undecided on) the self-help books for the year
  • Buy some organization, cleaning, laundry, etc. items (maybe furniture)
  • Buy coverstitch machine and beauty tools on payment plan
  • Buy planner punch, brush pens/left-handed calligraphy markers, clear sticker paper, and washi tape

 

2019 Goals: Organization and Personal Development

Projects

  • Edit and better organize and back up photos (and obtain as main old photos as I can), especially in order to make photobooks
  • Determine old computer issues, try to get files (those on old C.D.’s if necessary); have back up plans for current computer
  • Complete all my random unfinished projects (art journals, quilt top, embroidery, shells/coral)
  • Complete 24 major knitting projects from my stash (average 2 a month)
  • Complete 24 major sewing projects from my project pile/stash (average 2 a month)
  • Complete room renovation one small step at a time; optimize for organization, sleep, ease of daily life, and sewing
  • Work on genealogy (excel sheets and family book); do free stuff first and then DNA
  • Take one solo trip, even if it’s small
  • Complete regency outfit in time for 2019 JA festival

Skills to Learn (I tried to put this in order of importance, the last few are highly unlikely; also, I’m not aiming for these all at the same time, right now, the first two are in my habits)

  • Spanish
  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Drawing (be sure to utilize Craftsy, CreativeBug, and YouTube)
  • Watercolor (be sure to utilize Craftsy, CreativeBug, and YouTube)
  • Lettering (be sure to utilize Craftsy, CreativeBug, and YouTube)
  • Mental Math
  • Liquid eyeliner, lipstick, quick and professional hair curling/styling
  • Dyeing
  • Formal Logic
  • Jewelry-making
  • Piano
  • Storytelling
  • Mountain dulcimer
  • Horseback riding
  • Tennis

Work Through Several Self-Help Books (not merely read, but follow as guides)

  • Sleep: Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
  • Thinking: 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
  • Habits and Time Management: Miracle Morning, Atomic Habits, The Power of Habit
  • Personal finance and investment books: some Dave Ramsey books as well as others
  • Organization: Essentialism?
  • EQ: Emotional Intelligence 2.0?

Memories

  • Keep all journaling, office, and art supplies together
  • Journal everyday; mark memories in calendar also
  • Art journal, travel journal
  • Get better at photography and photo editing, storage, and development
  • Phone photo printer

2019 Goals: Health

Why is this the hardest thing?

Main goal: Improve habits so that overall health is improved in a sustainable way.

Specifics:

  • Lose 30 pounds and build muscle, build flexibility, and develop good posture habits
  • Eat better and make that a habit
  • Set easily obtainable exercise and stretch goals
  • Obtain medical records
  • If I’ve reached health goals, find a doctor and schedule appointment
  • Schedule dental visit and build that habit
  • Schedule eye doctor visit and build habit and buy glasses for driving and for blue light
  • Personal goal
  • Build sleep habit and follow sleep books, particularly Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson
  • Regular haircut habit (I don’t remember my last haircut, it’s been at least a year)
  • Regular skincare habits and investments (especially SUNSCREEN)

2019 Goals: Financial and Career

My work history isn’t pretty. I’ve been mainly temping and will probably continue to do so for awhile, but is really not enough on it’s own. I’m trying to work on being more proactive and less dependent. I don’t know how to explain this all; I’m very tired of being given stale advice that is really opinion, and I know I haven’t tried hard enough or worked enough, but I do want something that I feel decent about, so I need to find a balance of my.own.thing and still be a responsible adult. Here are my (edited for privacy) goals in the area of finance and career.

Financial

  • Pay off short term debt
  • Try to earn a certain amount this year before taxes
  • Fill an emergency fund to at least a certain amount and then continually build with regularly small additions
  • Live off last month’s income!
  • Keep and gift/experiences/travel fund (or perhaps a fund for each category)
  • Private goal
  • Start investing (regular and retirement)
  • Generally follow a basic budget (quarterly with monthly adjustments)
  • Have no debt and bills paid by end of year
  • Buy a decent used car and have it paid off

Career Goals

  • Have a stable source of income or a clear path to one by 2020
  • Work on tech degree as hard as possible with a plan; I must be in a bachelor’s program by Spring 2020 semester
  • Get a couple of certifications for other job options
  • Work on soft-skills & genuine networking
  • Work more and earn more (be proactive about looking for assignments and side gigs that suit me)

2019 Goals: Systems

One of my resolutions this years is to add processes and products into my life to make things easier. Much of these ideas for routines and organization came from MuchelleB’s channel.

Since I got my new phone, I finally jumped on the bandwagon to using Evernote. I’m so glad I need. I put my checklists for my daily routines, weekly reset list, etc. on there.

I’m still in the middle of working my plans and such into habits, and I never have the same schedule for long, so we will see how it works, but I’m pretty happy write now. I have my daily routine sheets (I’m still need to print the one that has everything on one page), my habit chart page, and my weekly spread and those things hold all I need to do. I’m still trying to wean myself off of stickies, but I think I’m far better or maybe fine as I’m just using them for notes rather than to-do’s.

  • Make Life Overall Easier
    • Implement Life Admin Days (one per quarter), Weekly Reset Days, Morning Routine, NIghttme Routine. I got these ideas from MuchelleB’s channel, and I loved them.
  • Make Habits Easier
    • Build into routine (morning/evening), schedule appointments at appointments. I’m easing into my goals and processes. I found the way that AmandaRachLee does her habits in multiple mini calenders makes it much more appealing for me to track them. I have split my day into Morning, Lunch, and Evening and tried to work all my habits from my habits chart into this.
  • Make Health Easier
    • Clear floor for exercise, pick out outfits, make simple schedule
    • Plan and prep meals, keep decent snacks, invest in helpful appliances (lunch warmer, crockpot, Instantpot), keep good grocery lists
    • Get huge water jug (set reminder if I must)
  • Make Daily Life Easier
    • Set routines
    • Laundry: (4 basket bin, clean/ironing basket, steamer, schedule)
    • Cleaning: get proper tools and keep together
    • Renovate bedroom, get more bathroom organization
    • Stuff control (tips: one in one out; “where will it go?” “do I own similar?” “do I really need this?”; play minimalist game/get rid of 500 items, once per quarter?), buy safe/locked fire safe filing cabinet
    • Have a place for everything & group everything by category (my sticky points: library books, current reads, office supplies/notes, quote notebook, reading notebooks, borrowed books, school, journal)
  • Make School Easier
    • Set up space with everything needed
    • Knock out work at the earliest possible
  • Make Sewing and Crafts Easier
    • Set up a space
    • Get better organization
  • Make Fashion Easier
    • Streamline underthings and basics
    • Avoid items with special needs/extras (e.g. something that needs an accessory in a color I don’t currently own, something that needs extra underlayers, etc.)
    • Have one wedding and one funeral outfit with shoes, accessories, under things, and outerwear
    • Have multiple business professional, business casual, dressy casual, outdoors (including hiking), and dress outfits with shoes, accessories, under things, and outerwear
  • Make Tech/Web Control Easier (i.e. make it easier to not be on them all the time)
    • Books
    • Puzzles
    • Journal
    • Projects
    • Drawing
    • Audiobooks, audiodramas, podcasts
    • Boardgames
    • I need all these to be things that I like, so for some, such as the audio ones, I might need to come up with lists since I do NOT gravitate towards them at ALL.
  • Make Travel and Exploring Easier
    • Travel fund
    • Travel tools
    • Pinpoint fears
    • Go with family
    • Folk school and similar planned/controlled excursions
    • Map out plans, costs, and answers to fears