2017 goals: January progress

1. Do what I can do to make a difference.
In January, I was sworn in as a resident board representative on my local neighborhood council. In my zone, we have about 100,000 people, including students from our local Cal State University.

I  marched in my local Women’s March on Jan. 21.

I counted homeless in LA on Jan. 24.

I called my representatives multiple times about six issues that are important to me. I wrote 24 postcards. I wrote 10 emails.

I am making people listen to my voice. It feels harder living in California. I agree with my reps; they’re already doing what I want.

But I’ve also started thinking strategically about how to have conversations with people who voted differently than me. I want to win hearts and minds.

Living with the 45th president is scary as shit, though.

2. Consume less. For years, I’ve been eating fewer things that are processed and making more myself and reusing. I buy less. I own less. Everything I want from the world is less.

Clothing: $0/$262.50. I bought no clothes in January.

House: I’m pledging to scour Craigslist/Freecycle/Buy Nothing/ReStore for two weeks before buying items for my house in 2017. I made two benches. I bought paint (matching an existing color in my house). I also used a leftover sample from our kitchen project.

Food: I don’t think I’ve gotten terribly better, but we did do Gobble boxes for a few weeks and that was helpful — we didn’t buy groceries we didn’t use, and it made dinner on the weekends easier.

3. Move my 401(k)s.

I signed up for a rollover account, but I need to call to finalize things and haven’t gotten there. February!

4. Save.

DIY: I need to tackle some home projects myself to save a few thousand dollars.

I painted my entry way.

$3,000: This is actually going to be hard because Josh was off most of January when he normally isn’t. We used savings to cover it, but I want to pay that back AND add $3,000 this year.

$1,000: This is the amount I want to add to Thomas’ savings in 2017. $0/$1,000.

Stock purchase: Holding strong for now. Raises are in June, so no need to change my election yet.

Josh and I discussed budgeting and he’s tentatively on board with YNAB.

5. Find joy.

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Benches, Part 2

Procrastination for the win!

Because I was lazy, the hairpin legs I wanted were $20 less per four-pack ($49.99 vs. $69.99) on Amazon.

I bought them and we bought screws at OSH, and now, ta-da!

  
Benches, complete with green hungry hippo.

I still need to put vanish on them, but at least we have alternate seating for the next chair break. I have varnish in the garage, so I just need to dig it out. I also need to figure out some solution to protect our wood floors. Considering wrapping the bottom of the legs with yarn.

The grand total is (rounded up) $115 for two benches. 

2017 Goals

We’re going into a very weird year for me.

I feel…. off. Uncertain. I’m not sure what will happen to my rights in the next four years, and it’s the first time in my life I’ve actively worried about it. And that makes me feel empathetic because I know there are many, many others worldwide who feel this every day of their whole lives. I feel lucky to have made it 34 years without this feeling.

Still, I’m in a family that mostly voted against my interests and that’s hard. I’m angry, and I still want to love these people. This election taught me that I’ve been too comfortable and too uninvolved.

2017 will force me to take stock of what’s really important to me — as a woman and as a mother.

So, goals:

1. Do what I can do to make a difference.

This isn’t about political idealolgy. This election cycle taught me that. I give zero shits about Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals and libertarians. What I care about is patriotism and rights and equality. What I care about is being open minded and hearing all sides and digesting information and having informed opinions. I have a coworker who often says “I haven’t done enough of my own research to talk about that.” Wouldn’t it be great if more of us approached the world that way?

2. Consume less.

For years, I’ve been eating fewer things that are processed and making more myself and reusing. I buy less. I own less. Everything I want from the world is less.

Clothing: Last year, I had $262.50 of my $500 budget left at the end of the year. Some of my favorite clothes are ones I’ve bought at thrift stores for a dollar or five. I find myself trolling internet clothing sales because they are good deals, not because I need anything. I’m not giving myself a new budget this year. I’m going to budget myself $262.50 from last year and see what happens.

House: I’m pledging to scour Craigslist/Freecycle/Buy Nothing/ReStore for two weeks before buying items for my house in 2017. Or to make it myself if the cost/time commitment is right. Namely, I need exterior doors, countertop, backsplash, paint, etc. I got very lucky in 2016: I have one room that needs wood flooring and I was able to get it for free. That’s ~$2,000 saved on the cost of flooring, not to mention diverting items from the landfill.

Food: This is a biggie for me. We waste so much food and it’s awful. There’s probably not much to be done about Thomas at this age, but Josh and I can make improvements.

3. Move my 401(k)s.

This is a carryover from last year, and I’m going to try to tackle it early and get it off my list.

4. Save.

I lost sight of my savings goal in 2016, mostly because of the new house. We spent more cash that I would like to think about remodeling it. It costs 1/3 more than our old house each month. I can’t always put real dollars into my savings account lately, but there are ways I can realize monetary savings. Josh and I also are talking about how to pay off everything and invest better for our future (both for college for Thomas and for retirement for us).

DIY: I need to tackle some home projects myself to save a few thousand dollars. In 2017, I’m going to paint my house myself. But I’m looking for other ways to spend less, so look for blog posts about that.

$3,000: This is the amount I want my savings account to be up at the end of the year (not including any monetary gifts we might receive, but I want to save those monetary gifts, too).

$1,000: This is the amount I want to add to Thomas’ savings in 2017. When I was pregnant, I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to save $500/yr for my child and hand him the account when he graduates college, with $11,000 to his name and the possibility that might bring. In reality, I’ve been saving more.

Stock purchase: I divert 10% of my salary into employee stock of my parent company. My company matches 30% and adds a 20% kicker in years we’re profitable. I need to remember to up my contribution as my salary grows.

This might also involve making a budget. I’ve been looking into using YNAB. But I need to get Josh on board.

5. Find joy.

2016 was about just putting my head down and surviving. In 2011, I did the same thing. Only 2011 was worse. At least I didn’t seriously question my mental health at any point last year. Can’t say the same for 2011. If that’s not a glimmer of a silver lining, I don’t know what is.

Go on a long weekend, just the three of us.
Find peace with a messy house. Or hire someone to clean it.


I might think of others, but I’m ready to share this.

 

2016 recap

Well, I didn’t do a great job of keeping up with this, huh? Steph and I were talking about how we’ve both fallen off the wagon (I moreso than her), and we think maybe some kind of simplified, more frequent check-in will help. Neither of us wants to let the blog go, so we’ll work on it!

And onto the recap:

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • Knit a pair of socks. Mmm, how about most of one?
  • Knit a pair of mittens. Nope!
  • Get better at calligraphy. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even touch any of my calligraphy supplies. Did I really let a year get away from me?
  • Do something creative for at least 30 min. a week. Some weeks, I did this, and it was great. Other weeks, not so much. Definitely something I want to take into 2017, however.

FOR ME:

  • Send 1 card/month. Ha. Hahaha. Nope.
  • Reduce procrastination and time spent on the internet. I’ve gotten better at both of these, but I like to have the reminder. This goal is very tightly coupled with all the others: you don’t get stuff done and you can’t be connected with others if you’re staring at a screen and passively consuming.
  • Go to the Margaret Mitchell house. Nope! I didn’t really want to do this after all.
  • Go to Fernbank Museum. Surprisingly, I couldn’t really find someone to come with me. Some coworkers are participating in a thing there before too long, though, so I might go then.
  • Go take photos in the country. I mostly just stared at the country when I drove out, but I did get some shots! IMG_8949.JPG
  • Save $3,500. Done!
  • Get credit card balances to zero—and keep them there. Weeeeelll, we’re close.

 

I was reading someone’s 2016 book list on Steph’s recommendation, and came across this blog post. I really like the approach, so I’m ripping it off!

 

What are your strongest memories of the year?
2016 sucked in so many ways. January kicked off in a terrible way with the loss of my grandma, and that’s still really hard. And that’s what it is: a loss. There’s a hole in my life that wasn’t there before this year.

There was lots of drama at work, with people leaving (whether they wanted to or not), but there were also some big accomplishments. I did a lot of really solid work and am starting to get some of the recognition I deserve.

But there are other things: the election (for better and for worse), seeing a friend I hadn’t seen in years (twice!), tons of patio and pool time, doing a ton of work on my apartment to make it a space I love being in. Seriously, I walk in and sigh with happiness when I unlock the door. It’s such a nice feeling.

What did you do that you’d never done before?
I took my first vacation by myself, and it was amazing. I was nervous about whether I’d get bored, so I kept the beach visit short, but by the end, I was having such a good time that I tried to extend it. I should totally go ahead and book another trip now, actually…

I also picked peaches for the first time, went camping in the Upper Peninsula and went to Atlanta’s Bacon Fest, which is awesome and hilarious. I brought personal stuff into my office for the first time. About time, I guess—I’ve been there more than four years.

I also got myself flowers every week, which is the only resolution I’ve kept. I highly recommend it. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s important to have a little spot of beauty in your day.

What did you want and get?
Personally: a lot of growth in terms of trusting myself and believing in who I am.

Professionally: a 23% raise—not too shabby.

What did you want and not get?
Personally: my way, in a lot of cases. Probably for the best, though. I’d get spoiled quickly.

Professionally: Um, a 37% raise. It’s totally justified, I swear. I work my ass off.

What would you like to have in the new year that you didn’t in this one?
Peace, more time off (these might be related).

Quote a song lyric that sums up the year.
I am gonna make it through this year
If it kills me.
– The Mountain Goats, This Year

What was your most enjoyable purchase?
This is so vain, but my best purchase really was getting my hair straightened. It makes life so much easier if you aren’t forced to spend an hour drying and straightening your hair, only for it to poof up when you step outside.

Did you travel? If so, where?
PCB for beach trips
Chicago
North GA mountains
The UP

Wow, is that really it? Next year I hope to use my SkyMiles to go somewhere awesome, plus either Mexico or Cuba.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Relaxed! Like, actually relaxed, doing the things I love with the people I love.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting things: time, money, energy on things that weren’t worth it.

Compared to last year, how are you the same? How are you different?
I don’t think my personality has really changed, I and I guess I don’t expect it to at this stage in the game. I do think I’ve come to trust myself, my beliefs and abilities more, as I said earlier. I’m also really trying to give myself and others more grace. We could all use a little more of that.

 

2016 collage.jpg

 

September

1. Move 401ks to IRAs at my bank. No progress on this.

2. Lose 20 pounds. I still have five pounds or so to go. I just can’t seem to commit to those last five pounds, but I did try a little in September.

3. Clothing budget of $500. Make 5 items of clothing. Still holding at $165.50/$500.

4. Buy a new house; sell my old house. DONE, DONE, FOREVER DONE.

Projects completed:

-Replaced the screens in one window and my sliding patio door.

-Bought all new light fixtures and handles and blinds and other details.

– Made blackout shades for our bedroom.

5. Read 35 books. 4/35. I’m in the middle of five books, though.

6. KonMari my house. Probably just regular purge.

7. Spend less time surfing on my phone and pay more attention to my kid. Josh told me a couple days ago that I’m always on my phone. Granted, I’ve been doing a lot of researching lately.

—-

I also made fleece pillowcases for Thomas at his request, which he then said he doesn’t want on his pillow because he doesn’t want to have a case. Thanks, T Bear.
 

May-August 2016: Goals progress

Guys, it’s time to get ready for summer. Oh, it’s Labor Day? Well, shit.

1. Move 401ks to IRAs at my bank. I have gathered most of my documentation and have been researching what types of accounts I need, but I think I really just need a financial adviser at my bank to do it for me. I also have started buying stock in my company, which is going to actually pay off.

2. Lose 20 pounds. I have five pounds to go. I’ve been up and down since April, and I just can’t seem to commit to those last five pounds.

3. Clothing budget of $500. Make 5 items of clothing. $165.50/$500. I’ve bought several tops, a pair of gray skinny jeans and shoes. Adding this up, I’m actually amazed it’s so little. I’ve made no clothes, but I have hemmed/mended three items and wear them to work.

4. Buy a new house; sell my old house. DONE, DONE, FOREVER DONE. We moved into the new house in May, and work has just continued and continued. Everything needs to be a new thing, and I’m wholly frustrated with the timing and quality of the work. Our pool underwent a complete remodel. Our ceilings were scraped. Most of the house was painted. The floors were refinished. We had a new floor installed in the kitchen/entry. Lights were installed. Plus all the unpacking, and the hanging, and the arranging.

What this goal didn’t take into account was that I might be doing projects at my new house. I am. In addition to just unpacking and arranging everything, I’ve:
-Replaced the screens in one window and my sliding patio door. (Do you need to replace a screen? For sure do it yourself. I helped my mom redo every screen in our house when I was a kid, so I already knew how to do it. This tutorial is good.)
-Bought all new light fixtures and handles and blinds and other details.. Yeah, yeah, it’s “shopping.” It’s incredibly challenging to shop for a house full of these items. And measure for them. And make sure the money spent is on things that make me happy.

Lately, I’ve been researching paint sprayers because I have several doors, rooms, bathroom cabinets and a patio to paint. I have a yard to finish. I have things to redo “for now.” This house is going to be a lot of work, but I’m happy it’s going to eventually be exactly what I want.

5. Read 35 books. 4/35. I’m in the middle of five books, though.

6. KonMari my house. I’ve gotten rid of more stuff, but in no way is it the KonMari method.

7. Spend less time surfing on my phone and pay more attention to my kid. I am starting to think I will never excel at this. I really just need some mindless downtime. Though, Josh mentioned last night that he thinks I’m much, much better at this.

 

August 2016 Goals Update

Oh man, I’m the worst.* This is my second post of the year? Really?? Well, let’s see where we are.

CRAFTY THINGS:

  • Knit a pair of socks. The sock cuff has grown. It’s actually rather sock-like!

sock progress

  • Knit a pair of mittens. Still in progress.
  • Get better at calligraphy. Haven’t done much here.
  • Do something creative for at least 30 min. a week. I think I’ve been okay at this one, but not as good as I’d like, and it’s seriously just 30 min/week. I’ve seriously got to carve out time for me, in a way that actually contributes to my happiness.

FOR ME:

  • Send 1 card/month. Nope.
  • Reduce procrastination and time spent on the internet. In general, I’m getting better, but definitely have to remind myself every now and then to read a book instead of staring at a screen.
  • Go to the Margaret Mitchell house. Nuh uh.
  • Go to Fernbank Museum. Negatory.
  • Go take photos in the country. Does the beach count?
  • Save $3,500. $2,250 so far. 64% of the way there. There was an auto-deposit in May that didn’t go through for whatever reason (I think that happens at some point every year?), so I just adjusted my auto-pay amount to make up for it.
  • Get credit card balances to zero—and keep them there. I’m at $5400 (urgh).  I got a rewards card to earn SkyMiles, but then I hate pulling money out of checking to cover it. Well, guess what? That money is already spent, and now I’m in debt. Given this, it turns out that I have to rely on the technology to work for me here, like I do for savings. I’ve paid off a big chunk over the past couple of weeks, and I’ll keep plugging away at it through not using the cards and then upping the auto-payment amounts. (82K SkyMiles, though. Time to go somewhere fun!)

* I maintain that 2016 is actually the worst, not me.

March 2016: Goals progress

March has been a month, my friends.

1. Move 401ks to IRAs at my bank. Nope. We’re moving in late April or early May, so this will probably be a June thing.

2. Lose 20 pounds. I’m really, really doing it! I’ve been following the eating part of the 21-day fix since the end of January, and I’m down 15 pounds total since Thanksgiving, and within a stone’s throw of goal.

I’ve been finding it more challenging throughout March, but I’ve also been less strict with my eating. So. Hopefully I’ll accomplish this in April, though I might set a new goal to lose a bit more?? Because why wouldn’t I, if I’m already on a roll…

3. Clothing budget of $500. Make 5 items of clothing. I spend $0 on clothes and made no clothes in March. I’m definitely making use of my old clothes fitting. I also am purging things for the move, so that might play into the whole “not buying” mentality.

4. Buy a new house; sell my old house. ALMOST DONE. We offered for a house at the end of February that needs some work, but has some great bones and good space and we’re getting a good deal. We’re throwing some cash at some work upfront (bye, popcorn ceilings. hello, paint and refinished flooring.), and I’ll be doing home projects until FOREVER. But we’ll have a pool and we’re in great school districts, so I’m never, ever, ever leaving.

5. Read 35 books. 1/35. I still don’t remember what book I read in January. No books in Feb. I started the Red Rising trilogy, but I didn’t find it exciting and petered out. I also started The Alechemist’s Daughter, and stopped about 1/4 in. I’ve been listening to H is for Hawk for my book club and have really been enjoying it.

6. KonMari my house. I still STILL haven’t gotten started. Although I am making some very brutal decisions about what stays and what goes for the new house. So, there we are.

7. Spend less time surfing on my phone and pay more attention to my kid. Josh and I had a brutal fight where he brought this issue up. Now, keep in mind that he’s not any better. Still, it cut me deep because it’s something I want to be better at. (I don’t think he actually wants to be better, and I’m not being a dick about it to him because HELLO KETTLE, I SEE YOU THERE. So.) And so I deleted a bunch of apps. Things I didn’t look at, games I didn’t play, Facebook. I figured if I’m that desperate for FB, I can use the mobile site. And I have. I still think it’s made a difference in my phone time, though. AND it’s made a huge difference in my battery life.

February 2016: Goals progress

My year has an extra day to be productive! Thanks Leap Day.

1. Move 401ks to IRAs at my bank. Nope. I’ve collected the majority of my documentation, but I don’t want to move anything financial around until we buy a new house. Otherwise, I have to explain all that, and I’m not interested.

2. Lose 20 pounds. I’m doing it! At the end of January, I started doing the food portion control part of the 21-day fix. It’s pretty good, you guys. I’ve been sticking to it hard during the week and relaxing my standards a bit on the weekend. Since I started at the end of January, I’ve lost 7 pounds. Yup. In slightly more than a month. Since Thanksgiving, I’m down (as of today, March 2) 12 pounds. I’m currently wearing a skirt that hasn’t fit since before I was pregnant.

I’m going to keep doing this for awhile. I’m hoping to hit goal by the end of March. Or April. No pressure. Only 8 pounds, people!

3. Clothing budget of $500. Make 5 items of clothing. I spend $0 on clothes and made no clothes in February. The lack of spending could be because more of my old clothes are fitting… but I’ll take it.

4. Buy a new house; sell my old house. In February, we offered for several homes that we didn’t get, and our house is in escrow on the sale. We offered for another house on Feb. 29, and we’re hopeful. It needs work, but it’s a good house, and the price is right.

5. Read 35 books. 1/35. I still don’t remember what book I read in January. No books in Feb. I started the Red Rising trilogy, but I didn’t find it exciting and petered out.

6. KonMari my house. I still haven’t gotten started. Whatever. Is there an app for this?

7. Spend less time surfing on my phone and pay more attention to my kid. Saturday, Feb. 27, I spent less than an hour on my phone throughout the day. Every other day of February was abysmal.

January 2016: Goals progress

Already 1/12 of the way through 2016.

1. Move 401ks to IRAs at my bank. Nada on this. I’m collecting the documentation to do it, but I haven’t actually made any phone calls or anything.

2. Lose 20 pounds. Right at the end of January, I started doing the 21-day fix — just the food part. Goodness. I lost three pounds in the final week of the month. So I’m going to keep doing that for awhile.

3. Clothing budget of $500. Make 5 items of clothing. I spend $0 on clothes and made no clothes in January.

4. Buy a new house; sell my old house. So…. we went to an open house on Jan. 30 and decided to make an offer. Which means we are listing our house, like, yesterday. So we’ll see what happens with that. I’ve been doing some projects and so has Josh. Cleaning, patching paint, etc. But he’ll start to do a lot more of that this week and it’ll kind of take over.

5. Read 35 books. I read one book in January. I’ll update when I remember what it was.

6. KonMari my house. So, this is going to happen more as the packing happens. I’m going to do clothes tonight, though. I just really need to make my house/life neat for all the potential changes.

7. Spend less time surfing on my phone and pay more attention to my kid. I’ve been using Moment to track my phone usage (which also means my internet usage, because that’s about the only device I use, ever, these days). During the week I average 2-3 hours/day. On the weekend, that’s up to 4-5 hours/day. Keep in mind I’m house hunting, using social media, playing games, Thomas is stealing my phone and breaking in (yes, he’s smart enough to type my code in and find the apps he likes to play), ordering groceries, on and on. I’m thinking about deleting FB from my phone because I really don’t need it. But I’m afraid I’ll miss out on things. I’ve also asked Thomas to help me, and he’s great at reminding. “Momma, put down your phone and play with me.”