So long, 2016. You will not be missed.

This year has been a rough one for a lot of people.
From the death of legends like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds, and Carrie Fisher , to the presidential election that still has me praying that I’ll wake up and this terrible dream will be over…a lot of folks have had a rough time this year.

We have too.
Long time friends have vanished, without so much as a “Fuck you.”  We moved and are struggling to pay things off, with car repairs, old bills, and new.  (We are getting there though.  Thankfully.)

This year has also been pretty damned amazing though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dwelling on the negative side of life will never be helpful.  Acknowledging negativity, and allowing yourself to be in your feelings is one thing…but to dwell.  To let the bad fester…that’s not helpful.

What amazing things happened this year?
Well.
I got to spend some amazing time with friends this year.  Whether we were going to see The Cure, VNV Nation, exploring Disneyland, fan girling over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gothing up a good friend, playing poker, playing D&D, playing disc golf, painting, dancing, drinking, eating cheese, seeing each other for the first time in 5 years, singing,  moving, laughing, crying, or visiting the Goddess temple and sharing struggles and successes…2016 was an incredible time for being with true, real friends.

I celebrated one year of marriage with my amazing husband.  That right there feels like a huge accomplishment, even if it was the easiest thing that either of us did all year.  Being with Morgan is easy.  Even when we disagree, argue, fight, or completely misunderstand each other.  With the things we’ve gone through this year, I love that our relationship only grows stronger every day.

I embodied 6 of the 7 CDFs (core desired feelings) I set for myself this year.
1. Bliss:  I was able to find a lot of good in many things this year, many of them simple pleasures.
2. Resilient:  This year has thrown me some curve balls.  But here I am.  Bouncing back.  Coming back stronger.
3. Sparkly:  I danced  A LOT this year!  I performed at 2 haflas, Steam-A-Thon Steampunk convention, and a fundraiser hosted by a dear friend.  I took a workshop AND was able to take a 6 week long raqs sharqi class with Aradia!
4.  Abundance:  This one was hard, because my focus was always on financial abundance, which…to be honest…we don’t have.  And we haven’t found it yet.  (I’m convinced 2017 will be the year we get to catch up AND save, but more on that later.)  This year, I was reminded of the abundance of LOVE and COMPASSION I have…I’m surrounded by friends and family who love me.  Who help me.  Who listen to me.  I am, in that aspect, abundantly blessed, and rich beyond measure.
5. Uncluttered: This one started at the old house after Pat disappeared.  We cleaned up.  We organized.  We threw things away.  We had a house that was fit to throw parties in!
Then we moved, and we got even more uncluttered.  The apartment is small, and while we do have SOME spaces that are a little cluttered, its nowhere near as bad as it used to be in the house.
6.  Healthy:  I’m most proud of this one.  Since my surgery last year, I’ve been mostly healthy this year.  Minimal pain, and that’s just been recently.   I haven’t had as many colds…I’ve been eating better, and exercising too.  Health is SO important to me, now that I have it back, I intend to keep it, and work hard for it.
(*side note, the one I didn’t really get to much was “steamy” but I might keep it as an honorary CDF for this year…embody my sensuality and sexuality a little more this year.)

I also set several goals last year that I actually met!!  There’s nothing better than reaching a goal.  Here’s what I accomplished last year:
1. Found a primary care doctor
2. Had my tubal ligation
3. Set workout goals, and started working out 3 times a week.
4. Set up and use planning time in the mornings (bullet journal)
5. Keep up with household chores
6. Eat more veggies
7. Take 1 local dance workshop
8. Take 1 session of raqs sharqi classes
9. Collaborate with local dancers for fun.

I’m really proud of myself and my progress!  So, as 2017 approaches, I am preparing myself for a stellar year.  I am visualizing and manifesting greatness and success for myself and for Morgan, and all of my friends.  I have 3 categories of goals again this year, and I’m excited to get started!

Life Goals:
1.  Find a better/better paying/more fulfilling job.
2. Save money.
3. Repair my credit/pay off medical debt.

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 62 pounds.
2. Get fit, strong, and healthy.
3. Observe and celebrate solstices, and holidays: Samhain/Yule, etc.
4. Read AT LEAST 1 book per month
5. Attempt to read 1 book a week (52 books this year.)
6. Continue to keep up with chores.
7.  Run a 5K/7K
8. Finally get memorial tattoo.

Dance Goals:
1. Daily/3 times a week practice
2. Take 1 local workshop
3. Take a workshop/private class with an OOT dancer (example:  When I go to San Diego, take a detour through L.A. to study with Aubre, Courtney, Princess Farhana, etc)
4. Perform/record the duet that Nina and I have choreographed, and send to VNV Nation.
5. Perform at least 3 times
6. Try to attend the Arab Dance Seminar

I’ve set my Core Desired Feelings for 2017 as well, and I’m really excited about them.  Here’s how I want to feel this year:
2017cdfs
1. Cultivated: I love this word.  This encompasses so many feelings that I want to experience.  I want to feel cultured.  Intellectual.  Intelligent.  Rooted.  Earthy.  I want to read books, I want to experience new music, see art galleries, sing, dance.  I want to explore my roots and my spirituality.  I want to learn more about my spiritual path, but in a grounded way.  I want to be more cerebral, but keep my emotions in tact.  Cultivated, for me, has all of those feelings and emotions and plans all wrapped up into one.
2. Magical:  This means so many things to me.  I’m exploring actual magick, and learning about witchcraft.  I know that magick is real, and I want to have magick in my life.
I also want to be amazed by life.  To find sparkly wonder everywhere.  I want to take people on a magical journey with my dancing.  I want to spend time with my head in the clouds.  I want to be entranced and enraptured by life itself.
3. Connected:  I want to feel more connected to my family and friends.  I want to spend less time with my phone in my hand, and more time face to face.  Laughing.  Talking.  Singing.  Eating.  I want to connect with people.  I want to connect with music when I dance. To connect to culture, and spirituality.
4.  Strong:  Strength is something I desire in all areas of my life.
I want to be physically strong.  To do pull-ups.  Push-ups.  Weighted squats.  Lift heavy things.  To be able to run a 5K or 7K.
I want to be mentally strong.  To be able to lift myself out of my depressive times.  To deal with stress in healthy ways.
I want to be strong when it comes to my resolve:  to find a new job.  I don’t want to be complacent about this anymore, and this is going to require a TON of strength to move outside of my comfort zone.
I want to be financially strong.  Bills are paid, in full, on time.  Debts are repaid.  There is money in the bank for a rainy day.  I live abundantly, all my needs and the needs of my husband are met.  We are strong and successful.
5. Cozy:  Cozy brings to mind comfort.  I have a tendency to put off self care and self love.  I don’t take down time until I am completely exhausted.  Cozy, to me, is curling up on the couch with my love and the dogs with a hot cuppa and a good book.  Cozy is a nice, long, hot bubble bath with more tea or wine.  Relaxing.  Blankets, and sweaters, and snuggles.  2017 I will take better care of myself.  I will not be afraid to say “No thank you” to plans, and to just stay in and relax.  To have a night in where I read one of my 52 books.
6.  Playful:  We, as adults, don’t play much anymore.  I feel very stressed, and tired all the time because of work.  I want to find a job where I can be playful.  Where I don’t have to be serious all of the time.  A job where I can have a bit of  fun.
I want to take the dogs for walks and to the park, and play with them.  Throw balls, chase them, run with them.
I want to play with my husband…he likes to be goofy and playful, and I tend to be cranky and old.  I don’t want to do that.  The key to a long life is laughter and fun.  And I want to play.
I want to play games with friends.  Game nights, poker nights, disc golf.
I want my life to be playful.  My dancing to be playful.
Let’s Play!

As the new year arrives, and we release the crazy year 2016, I want to thank you all, each of you who read this, for coming on this journey with me.

May your New Year’s eve be fun, filled with joy and laughter.
Be safe.

And may 2017 bring you closer to your goals, and leave you feeling the way YOU want to feel!

Happy New Year.

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Random musings

Its been a while since I wrote last.
I’ll admit, things have been crazy, and I’ve had too much on my plate to think about updating a blog…I apologize, if any of you who read this missed me…although to be honest…I really don’t think anyone reads this very often.

When last I posted, Morgan and I had just moved into our own little apartment.

We’re loving it here.
There have been issues.  Our dishwasher is wonky, and has to be turned on with a wrench.  The washer broke, and we ended up getting a new (and bigger)one.  The refrigerator didn’t work upon our move in, and so we got a new (and bigger) one as well…and had to wait almost 2 weeks for them to change the laundry room door, as it wouldn’t close with the new fridge.

There have been 2 shootings since we moved in, which is never a fun thing…but oddly enough, I don’t really feel unsafe at home.  We’re on the 2nd floor, and we have a gun.  If anything goes down, I feel secure.  But our neighbors are polite, if not super friendly.  They keep to themselves, and we keep to ourselves.  I like it that way.

We’re pretty settled into a routine.  The dogs are doing great.
We finally got Phedra spayed, and also found out that she had pyometra, which can be fatal.  (Spay and Neuter your pets, folks, it could save their lives.)    She’s recovering really well, thank goodness.  She’s actually amazing off leash.  She knows “go home” and will run right upstairs when she’s done going potty.
Jack is learning to walk really nicely on leash, instead of pulling, and has recently discovered that he REALLY wants to chase cats.  He’s become a lot more vocal too: groaning and moaning when we’re snuggling, if we stop paying attention for a second.

We’ve celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary last weekend.  It was really a nice weekend.  We spent it mostly by ourselves…during the weekend, we played cards with some friends, and had a nice buffet with my family.  But the day of our anniversary, we spent together, with the dogs.  We went to the movies (Doctor Strange!  So good!), and then Morgan made a delicious steak dinner that was just amazing.

I have also started a Couch to 5K training program.  I’m almost done with week 3, and let me tell you, this is the hardest thing I’ve done since P90X.
I’m running a minimum of 3 times a week, and each week, the running time and intervals increase.

Since starting to watch my weight back in September, and since really watching my portions and what I’m eating, I’ve lost 4.8 pounds, and 3.5 inches off my waist.  This is without regular exercise.  Now that I’m exercising more frequently, and I’m also starting to add to the running (abs yesterday! Ouch!), I can’t wait to see the results.

I’m feeling better.  I feel stronger.  My joints hurt less, ironically.   I thought by trying to run outside on the pavement that my joints would hurt more, but they don’t.  I’ve also discovered the beauty of an Epsom salt bath!  So relaxing, and it really soothed my aching muscles.

There have still been some rough patches.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t keep it completely real.

I’ve been having some serious body image issues that are playing into my dance time.  Even though I’m making progress physically, I feel like my dancing is off, and I feel stagnant.  I know what I need is a good workshop or private lesson to get my creative juices flowing again.  I just don’t have the money right now…

Financially, its tight.  We’re still paying down old balances from the move/before the move, and are owed over $300 from a previous roommate.  We have people who helped us out before the move that we want to pay back, but haven’t been able to yet, because we can’t get the old bills paid off until we get this $300.  Its beyond frustrating.  Because of this, and because we owe people money, we don’t go out and do things like we used to.  Doctor Strange was the first movie that we’ve seen in the theater since WAY before we moved…and that was free from using points at Station casinos.   We went to a concert in October, and Universal studios, but only because Morgan donated plasma to get the money for the hotel and gas (the concert tickets were bought LONG before the move and the financial crisis) and our friends payed for us to go to Universal.
We wanted to go to the new Gordon Ramsay restaurant.  Its the cheapest one he’s got, at probably $30 per person without extras (fries, shakes)…and we couldn’t do that.

The silver lining to this, as frustrated as I am, is that Morgan has 2 karaoke gigs this month (one was last night) that we can use to pay back 1 of the 3 people we owe.  I’ve started making and selling fingerless gloves, so I’m making a little extra money that way.  Morgan is still donating plasma to help out with extra money, and we finally have his resume set up, so he can find something part time while we finish the edit of his novel.

gloves1

the first pair that I made

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest.  I won’t lie, it has been a ROUGH year.  But our marriage has been the easy part.  Knowing that we have each other’s backs through all the hard stuff makes it easier to get through the rough patches.

As Thanksgiving fast approaches, and the worst year of a lot of people’s lives draws to a close, I can only remember what I’m truly grateful for, and put out positivity to the Universe for a better year next year.

Stay tuned for my annual Thanksgiving and New Year posts!  I should have at least one more coming soon, about this amazing thing I’ve been doing for almost 3 months, Bullet Journaling.

…till next time dear readers.

The best things in life are free? What a crock of *&%$

Ok, Ok. I know that I’m already starting off on a less positive note than I have been recently. Stay with me though, I may have some insight…although this may end up just becoming a rant…

The best things in life are free.”

I don’t believe that. I don’t really believe that anything is ever truly “Free.” That word to me, means that you don’t have to make any effort or payment in attaining or keeping something.

Even love! People say “Oh, my love is for free.” Well…no, I doubt that it is, really. MOST people will eventually stop feeling/giving love to someone if it is not reciprocated in SOME way. Even people who are in abusive relationships receive a glimmer of something in return for the ridiculous amounts of love that they give to these abusers.

But I digress. This post, for once in my crazy life, is not about love.

This post is about money, and how CRAPPY it is that I don’t have enough. Kind of.

I make decent money. I live on my own. I pay my bills, and I do go out and do things.

But each week, towards the end of the week, I start to stress out about my paycheck.

Ok. What is due this week? Oh bugger, my phone bill was more than I thought it was going to be…can I take an extra $30 from rent and make it up on the next paycheck? Maybe if I just eat ramen this week…”

Grocery shopping is a nightmare. I’m overweight. (Please don’t start with the “No, you’re beautiful” comments. Yes, I’m beautiful. But I’m also overweight. Its ok.) I want to get healthy, and eat better. But has ANYONE else noticed how expensive it is to eat well? Seriously. Veggies, fruit…all the wonderfully healthy things are SO expensive…and yet, we have candy at the check out aisle that is “3 for $.99!” Ramen, a staple of any broke college kid or bachelor (or me on a tight pay week) is SO high in sodium, and is SO bad for you…Macaroni and cheese…my very favorite comfort food is SUPER cheap…and SO fattening!

I want salads. I want strawberries and blueberries and granola and low fat yogurt. I want grapes, and zucchini. I want asparagus! Mmmm…asparagus…I want apples and peanut butter…

Picking up some of these items isn’t super bad, but when you start buying more than one or two, it can become really expensive.

Why are the things that are good for us so expensive? The junk food and crap food should be more expensive. The healthy food should be more affordable. Maybe then our nation wouldn’t be having such a problem with obesity. That and our portion sizes, but that’s another topic for another day.

I would love to live comfortably. I’d like to pay my rent, eat healthy, pay my bills, and actually have a little money left over to SAVE.

And to be honest with you, I really don’t spend THAT much money on myself during the week.

Yes, I have a Starbucks habit. I’m working on that. I’ve taken my spending down, though, from anywhere between $5-$9 A DAY to $3-$5. (Depending on if I get a brownie…I am a fat kid after all!)

Today my coffee only cost me $2. I got a smaller cup. Of course, part of that reasoning is because I just bought a big box of tea, and I plan to drink tea at work today, so I didn’t want to put coffee in my work cup.

But in the grand scheme of things…I don’t buy new clothes very often…and when I do, its generally out of necessity. (Like when I wore a hole in the only pair of jeans that I owned and had to replace them.) I’ve been wearing the same clothes to work for over 3 years. Last year, I spent $30 and bought myself 3 new sweaters. I haven’t bought any new work clothes since. And just this morning I discovered a rip in the only pair of work pants that fit me.

I know I need to set my priorities a little better. This week and next, (well, after today) I will probably not be having any Starbucks. Which is fine with me. I need to save that $3 a day for the next 2 weeks so I can maybe splurge and buy…wait for it…TWO pairs of work pants! Maybe that way I won’t wear holes in them so fast.

Now, I will readily admit, part of me REALLY doesn’t want to spend that money on clothes right now. But lets be realistic…I don’t have the time or energy to work out right now with the crazy ass schedule I’m keeping right now. Morgan is working 10 hour days at least 4 days out of the week, and we carpool. I’m up at 5:45 am getting ready for work, and don’t get home till 6:30 pm at the absolute earliest…by that time, I am EXHAUSTED. I’m lucky if I eat before crashing out with The Doctor. While I’d rather not buy another pair of fat pants…I have to be realistic. There is no way I’m going to drop 50 pounds overnight, so I have to buy at least one pair to get me through till I do lose the weight.

I’d love to pick up a second job. The only problem with that is that I no longer have my own form of transportation. And in order to have that…I need a second job. So I need something that I can do on weekends from home or from a coffee shop or something…

I want to write. I think it would be amazing to make a living from writing. But, as I have several friends who ARE writers…I know that the chances of my silly erotic stories actually selling well enough to count are slim to none.

I could probably write something else…but what to write about?

I’m not politically minded at all…I don’t read the news…I could write about “The IT Crowd” and “Doctor Who,” but who besides my crazy group of friends would really want to read all of that?

As it is now, the one thing that I know I need to do is stop stressing about money.

This time in my life is happening for a reason. There are lessons here, and I know what they are: Set your priorities. Learn to do without. SAVE. PLAN AHEAD. Don’t panic! (where’s my towel? Good gods, I am a NERD.)

Stressing out is just going to make me sick again though…which costs more money. So I’m not going to WORRY about it. I’m going to be mindful about what I’m spending my money on, and cut costs where I can. I actually will probably stop going out to karaoke for a little while, since I REALLY like to be supportive and buy drinks and food when I’m out. Granted, I usually get cheap things, but…even $3 on a whiskey sour could be put aside for a new shirt from Ross for work, or could be put aside for a rainy day. $6 a week is $24 a month…that’s my renter’s insurance and then some…

So anyway…I guess this did turn into a little bit of a rant…but more importantly, this post was more of an outlet for some of the stress that I’m feeling. I feel a little better now, and intend on reworking my budget, and seeing what I can cut out to help get myself on a better path. Realistically, making more money probably won’t happen any time soon…I’m still going to try to find a way to make some spare cash, but in the meantime, I need to do what I can, and quit thinking about all that I “can’t.”