Unachieved Goals–So What?

Well, it’s my life.

As I mentioned recently, I’m still learning how to set goals that have clarity, actually mean something to me and are reasonably achievable. In my younger years, there was no shortage of overbearing and well-meaning people to tell me how I should be living, peer pressure, expectations and overwhelming demands. Now I have more space and can hear my inner voice more often. The rules are changing and the formulas don’t work for me and yet, I’m still here.

Some of my goals were achieved last year. I’ll bet that’s true for most people who made plans. Those same people may have accomplished a lot more than they are giving themselves credit for. I doubt if most Americans are as lazy as some accuse them of being.

What did I learn about the three major goals I wrote down that I haven’t moved forward on yet? They are still important enough to me that I’m going to continue going for it. When a goal doesn’t really resonate anymore, it’s time to let it go. It happens–people and circumstances change and sometimes something more appropriate comes along.

Today I looked at my self-imposed, overloaded to-do list and I could feel the anxiety welling up inside. That isn’t the way I want to live. It’s unnecessary and it doesn’t help–it’s just the way I learned to be from anxious, uptight people who believed that life’s a struggle.

Self-talk is important. Most people can figure out appropriate, encouraging self-talk when they remember to do so. I know I’m my own harshest critic and that only leads others to treat me that way.

Many people are finding that their true values are coming into focus more clearly what with all the changes happening. Being able to inspire oneself according to one’s values is a gift.

So, I responded to other things this year and can keep my priorities as a carry-over without feeling like a failure. The exercise/physical therapy thing which I’ve mentioned. My body is not my slave, I’m just going for feeling safe and at home in it.

Art has been important to me all my life and I’ve gone decades without drawing or painting. I dream about it. Last year I finally painted two small pieces and began a third. I had forgotten everything and it was awkward. My fingers are often stiff and my hands sometimes shake. It was a messy thing to do in my small apartment. Yet, I want to continue to do it. So yes, it’s on my list of goals again.

Making a big deal of it or taking it too seriously is not the point. It’s just some direction and structure.

Following Through

Today I followed through on creating a Word document listing my goals for the new year. This is unusual for me. I wasn’t raised to do that. The environment I grew up in was chaotic and dysfunctional and professional people have sometimes asked me if my parents were alcoholics.
Later in life, goal setting wasn’t talked about to me by the hip, cool people I would have liked to be one of. Others just seemed to magically know how to accomplish things.
Then came decades of being overwhelmed and knocked about by life and there seemed to be no point in setting goals. Really, I’m just now learning how to do this in my mid-50’s.
I read over the list I made last year, which I forgot about most of the year. My current list is more realistic and more well-rounded. It’s also more about what I really want rather than what I think I should want.

It leaves plenty of room for the life that will happen while I’m working on these plans and goals.

Some updates on things I’ve blogged about recently: The nutmeg grinder came today and I was able to use it. It had little whole nutmegs with it but the organic ones I bought recently look better. I ground a bit and put it in my second cup of coffee. It smelled divine but I couldn’t taste it as much–maybe because of the brandy I put in my first cup of coffee?

I’ve eaten all the gluten-free cookies I made from a mix the other day. I may have had a bit of trouble from the yeast that was in them but I’d make them again.

The FooPets gaming site I enjoy is still having drama and emotional members aree still leaving in droves but I’m still going to hang in there for awhile and enjoy it as much as I can.

The folks who did the documentary Victorian Farm that I enjoyed so much have also done one called Victorian Pharmacy. Something for me to look forward to.

Recently I was told that by writing down goals, I’m letting God, my higher self and my personality know what I want and that it does make a difference. Now that I feel more steady on my feet again, I’d like to bring things to the completion cycle more often–or acknowledge to myself that I want to let something go because I’ve received all the value I believe I’ll get from the situation.

Goals for the New Year

I worked on the list today. No, I’m not going to post them all. That doesn’t seem to work for me.
The last time I let other people know about a goal was when I’d worked really hard to do my physical therapy exercises so I could walk without my cane a few months ago. (I’ve fired my physical therapist a few years ago.) I was so proud. My muscles and balance were better but then my nervous system began protesting and I’ve needed my cane ever since. I was embarrassed I even called attention to my temporary achievement.
It’s on my list for this year but it’s walking without the cane at least half the time and I have until the end of the year. I’m not telling real life people either.
I’m going to begin my year on the 21st–the solstice. It feels like less pressure and I like the idea of it being the shortest day of the year and then slowly getting more daylight everyday.
Goal setting is difficult for me. I change my mind often.
Also I’m having one of those difficult lives. There were a few years during the middle of this decade where I was blindsided by unbelievable chaos and loss and then I spent a few years burned out ummm….yeah.
It was all about getting through it.
Now, I’m thinking it’s time to at least write down the goals. It helped this last year.
The ones that I failed the most at was taking up art again and exercise, which for me is stretching and alignment exercises. They are on the list again.
I don’t do resolutions. I do word-of-the-year, something I learned from Christine Kane. She’s a singer/songwriter who became a coach. I liked it when she was more of a creativity coach instead of the business focus she has now. Oh, word-of-the-year. I’ll blog about it soon.
Anyway, today I worked on goals and the list seems to be thorough and flexible and it leaves room for the delicious things that come along.
In a way my life is the same as last year and then again, I’m doing things now that weren’t even on my radar then.
I’m calling it a successful year. Lots of inner growth, which is impossible to quantify and explain.

Gluten-free Snickerdoodles

gluten-free cookie mix

A lot of gluten-free baked goods do not taste good to me. I can’t say I’m at 100% with my gluten-free diet but I’m really working at it.

Yesterday I made snickerdoodles from a mix and I’d make them again. The day before I had a regular cookie from a local coffee shop. It was sweeter and the inside was chewier. But it had gluten in it.

The ones I made are good enough and taste better to me than the gluten-free cookies I buy in a bag. They’re probably more economical too, but I’m not sure—I got the mix awhile ago. Yes, I checked the expiration date and it was still good to go. 

These could be simple sugar cookies instead but I had cinnamon and sugar. The recipe called for eggs, margarine and vegetable shortening. I happened to have the shortening around for seasoning some cast iron skillets. I much prefer butter to margarine but when I asked about it, the person doing the food demo told me they’d found that margarine worked a lot better. When it comes to food I’ve learned that I often have to compromise a bit.

The mix comes from Sunflower Mills. The company is in my neck of the woods which was why they were at my local co-op awhile back with samples and answering questions. When I looked at the products on their website a little while ago I saw that the sugar cookie mix had been changed—improved, I’m sure. It looked like some of the mixes called for oil, instead of margarine and shortening. I’ll try more of them although many of my baking utensils are long gone and the healthy new things are very expensive. Le sigh.

I’m mostly disappointed in the gluten-free loaves of bread that are ready made, usually found  in the freezer. Some I’ve tried have been gag-awful. Sunflower Mills makes bread mixes and I may check them out if it looks like I can manage the recipe. I hadn’t used a mixer in years and it was a bit awkward at first but I’m so pleased to have been able to make cookies during this time of the year.

snickerdoodles

Victorian vs Smithfield Farms

Yesterday evening I watched the last segments of the British documentary, Victorian Farm. Alex did some beekeeping and collected the honey. Peter made ginger beer and Ruth got into straw plaiting.  When they advertised for harvest help, I learned that there was junk mail in Victorian England after the printing system made it possible to print flyers.

The hay crop was ruined and they barely got their wheat harvested in time. Ruth made cheese and got the necessary rennet for it from a calf’s stomach.  This way of life was going on in rural England around the time my grandmothers were born here in America.  Maybe I should write historical fiction about this time period—I’m so fascinated with it.

The baby farm animals were so cute. One of the archeologist’s, Peter, said he would miss the pigs the most. Princess, the mama, had given birth to nine piglets and eight of them made it. They were funny, especially when they were eating and had their heads in a bucket.

When I got online this morning, the first thing I saw was a video about an investigation that the humane society had secretly done at Smithfield Farms, the largest pork producer in the world. The pregnant sows were placed in gestation cages where they could barely move. They had sores from chewing on the metal bars and slowly went insane. It was horrible and sad to see the video footage.

I’m not a vegetarian. I eat meat for health reasons, almost all free-range, organic meat and pork is one of my least favorite meats. I certainly won’t be eating any for a long time now.

Sure we have lots of improvements over how things were done over one hundred years ago. There are more people to feed. Factory farms have gone to far though. Many of our systems need to change, of course, but food is so very basic.  Paula Deen is the face and spokesperson of this Virginia company.

The contrast between how Princess was raised and the sows in the cramped wire cages is shocking.

Life Tools and Blooming Tea

Today I read a quote about attitude and how important it is, no matter what’s going on. Sometimes it’s one of the few things we have control over. Things happen and we have a choice how to respond.
We’ve all heard that many times. I think we can get overwhelmed almost beyond endurance though. There are times when we get worn down by a relentless, unbelievable string of mishaps. Hopefully, people can recognize when they need professional help and have the resources to find effective, timely solutions.
What I’m considering here is not those way out-of-control times. Instead it’s the general, consistent attitude that we bring to our daily lives. It makes a difference and it’s easy to slide into being more negative without realizing it. It isn’t necessary to stretch and twist ourselves into someone we’re not, just notice and upgrade the attitude.
As someone who’s interested in personal and spiritual growth, I have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be and to over-analyze things. As a moody, emotional and generally subjective person, I’ve learned lots of tools to apply to my life. Some of us seem to be having very complicated lives.
When I really need something to be more simple, I narrow it down to focusing on something like my attitude.
One of the systems I like to work with is Laurel Mellin’s Emotional Brain Training. As I tend to do, I haven’t used it consistently in a focused way as is suggested for optimum results. I haven’t gotten all that far in the practice of it either, but what I’ve learned from it so far has been helpful.
What I’d like to mention here is the tool suggested for when someone is in the lowest, out-of-control, upset state. There are three things one can work with:
1. Do not blame yourself or others.
2. Minimize the damage. (For me it might be overeating, shopping for things I don’t need or becoming withdrawn.)
3. Remind yourself that this too will pass.
I like EBT when I want to dig in with some structured, psychological tools. Other times, I want a different point of entry into changing my life.

Yesterday I got a surprise gift, delivered by UPS. It was ordered from the Home Shopping Network, something I’m not familiar with at all. The only television I watch is Hulu, so there are many consumer products that I have no idea exist.
It’s a glass tea pot for use with pod-like clumps of tea that bloom when hot water is poured over them.
The handle is oddly shaped, I guess to keep it from getting too hot when maneuvering it about. The water used should be hot, not boiling. I’d forgotten why some instructions call for that, but read today that when the water boils it releases the oxygen that’s needed to optimally brew the tea.
The flavor was very delicate and I liked the aroma of it. Today I tried the tangerine spice. I spilled some every time I poured, but that isn’t unusual for me.

Nutmeg

There’s a mess in my kitchen that involved melted butter. I was preparing brussel sprouts for the slow cooker and then piled chicken thighs on top. The melted butter was mixed with Dijon mustard, soy sauce and black pepper. I think. Not remembering the exact measurements, just remembering how good it was when I fixed it a few weeks ago, it’s definitely a keeper recipe. I got it from Stephanie O’Dea’s blog. It lands in my inbox with slow cooker recipes, often using gluten-free ingredients. She’s written several cookbooks–I’ve just saved the posts with recipes I want to try, in a folder.

Rebuilding my health, after things I won’t go into, it’s good if I eat mostly organic veggies and some organic meat.  When you feel really, really tired it’s challenging to learn a new way of meal shopping and preparation.

I’ve been looking through the side dishes in the WordPress food blogs and found some interesting posts about turnips and beets. Filing the general information away in my head, I’m not able to provide links.

The one that caught my attention was turnips roasted with nutmeg. I decided to do both beets and turnips. Nutmeg is a spice I’ve never used in my years as a sporadic and rather sloppy cook. I was surprised how expensive it was. Running around doing lots of errands yesterday, I didn’t notice until I got home that I’d bought whole nutmeg. Dang.

Looking it up online, I learned that freshly grated nutmeg is far superior to using ground nutmeg. O.K. I looked at the graters and grinders too  and decided to pop on over to the gourmet cooking shop a few blocks away. Like almost everyone else, I am really keeping an eye on my finances. (We all know about that reality and we’re going to do our best here.)  Too expensive.

Later I ended up ordering one from Amazon and bought a book to make enough for free shipping and ended up spending more that if I’d just bought it at the shop. Now I need to wait also.  Well, I’m moving in the direction of better financial choices.

I can find some way to grate a whole nutmeg in the meantime or use lots of ginger instead. Ginger and turmeric are my favorites.

Nutmeg needs to be used sparingly.  Ingesting more than two tablespoons at a time gives it a hallucinogenic effect.  That isn’t at all what I’m intending while searching for ways to eat tasty, healthy vegetable dishes.

I’m continuing to really enjoy watching “Victorian Farm” on YouTube. Looking at the meals they’re eating puts me more  in a mood for old-fashioned  home-cooking.

The woman of the house is having a laborious time cleaning. The coal they cook with,  leaves dust everywhere. For cleaning metal, she used brick dust and vinegar. When she swept dust off the stairs she used saved, damp tea leaves so the dust would clump into balls instead of flying all over.

Women usually had three or four dresses at one time and made them last as long as they could. The woman in the series made a new dress for the May Day celebration and it took her over sixty hours.

The farm had lambs born–also piglets, chicks and ducklings. Almost nothing went to waste. They boiled a pigs head and ate the eyeballs along with everything else. It was mentioned that the work was so hard the historians participating in the documentary began to crave animal fat where as otherwise it wouldn’t sound appealing at all.

Most of my impressions of the Victorian age are from novels that are usually set in London instead of the country.  Anne Perry comes to mind–I’ve especially enjoyed her novels.  The poverty was grim and frightening but the upper classes had their restrictions and constraints also.

That was their mission, even if they didn’t articulate it, to explore and develop the outer world and get humanity to a place where it wasn’t all about survival. Now in many ways, we are needing to explore and develop the inner world more. People are at all ends of the spectrum on that one. It’s in a transition phase. I’m all for the inner-directed life but recognize that it’s dangerous and ineffective to neglect the material world.  All too often I seem to get de-railed into survival issues.

After watching the segments of this series, I’m really appreciating tap water, flush toilets, forced air heat and my electric range and lights.

Photo Testing

I’m posting an image with as little instruction refreshing as possible.  Very little of this looked familiar.   The most difficult part was finding the area on my computer to download to. I did make an attempt at editing the photo and that was unsuccessful. Ooops, my laptop battery is way down.

Now I’m back and recharging. I took this photo yesterday of a bamboo plant I have. The growning conditions in my apartment are less than ideal and I don’t have a green thumb. This little plant was an impulse purchase several years ago during my very last visit to Wal-Mart. It has grown since then.

If I practice every few days I’ll probably get better at this. In a few years I may be a wonderful blogger. I’m not letting the lack of views or comments discourage me.

Right now I’m working myself up into a bit of a sweat because it’s the first sunny, non-precipitating day in awhile and there are things I need to get out and do. This is a familiar feeling for me—–wanting to do lots of things at once.

Just Getting it Done

Christmas Tree 1944Today I wrote out most of my Christmas cards. It would be great if I felt more festive and less like I was doing something like tax preparation but I can’t always be in an optimum mood. Many people seem to have had a difficult year and many of my cards go to elderly relatives. I have two aunts in their mid-90’s, one in her 80’s and one in her 70’s. No e-cards for them.

I found my digital camera in a drawer where it’s been for awhile and am considering decorating a small tree and posting it here on my blog. Hopefully I won’t need to find the directions for getting the images loaded onto my computer. When I don’t do things often, it’s like I have never done them before. It would have been great if the instructions were kept with the camera. There may be instructions on my computer. Oh, to have more confidence in myself.

So in the meantime I found a photo from The Commons on flikr. This tree was the cover of a McCall’s homemaking magazine in 1944.

I watched the Christmas segments of the “Victorian Farm” after I finished with the cards. On Christmas eve Clumper, the Shire horse, pulled a wagon with the folks in it to the local church where they sang hymns. There were candles for lights and you could see the breath of the folks as they were singing.

The tree was put up at the last minute. The historians in this series had guests for Christmas dinner and Ina, the turkey, was served as the meat course. There was also cow’s tongue and other dishes that aren’t served today.

Before one of the men went pheasant hunting, he waterproofed his boots with a mixture of beeswax, tar and tallow. For chapped hands, the woman made a mixture of lard, honey, some oats, rosewater and a few other ingredients of the sort.

There are pregnant sheep and a pregnant pig and their babies are something to look forward to, although these are definitely not pets. They will likely share the same fate as Ina.

Half-heartedly I got other things done today. It rained again. I’m comfortable, just not perky and that’s O.K.

Ahh Foo-ey!

Last January when I was semi-shut-in and restless I signed up for my first Foo Pet.  A Foo Pet is a virtual pet–they began as a FaceBook app called GoPokey.  I didn’t know much about them at all–I barely have a FaceBook presence–and I don’t remember how I first discovered the site.

I got a beagle and he is fun to take care of. I somehow figured out the basic beginnings– instructions aren’t clear. I needed to earn points to feed and give my beagle flea treatments and I was offered extra points to validate my e-mail address and post a profile picture. I rarely post pictures of myself online, but this is a pet site, for heaven’s sake. I saw a couple of other photos of grown-ups, so I posted a head shot of my sweet middle-aged self.

A meebo chat popped up and I immediately began getting harassed by children, begging me for foodollars, telling me they were bored and insulting me as a freak for being on a kid’s site and not having a life. Off came the photo and I blocked meebo.

After awhile I found the forums. Not having much experience with forums, I was horrified at the rudeness and bickering that went on. Scamming by children. Adults getting into arguments with children over texting and taking poor care of the pixels that look like pets.

What I did learn was a little more about playing, decorating scenes and obtaining more pets. It was a needed break from real life for me and I began hoarding more pets.

There are other adults on the site but I haven’t made any friends–something that has always eluded me online. Yet, I continued to log in every day, bred a family of Siamese kitties and bought virtual antique furniture for my scenes.

Not being much of a gamer, I had no idea that the rules and play could change so drastically and often. It was confusing. There were usually no heads-up or instructions and there were a lot of glitches and problems with the new plays.

It amazes me how angry other members became. The outrage in the forums that have gone on for months now is contagious. I realize this isn’t a life-threatening situation in a third world country going on.  There is very poor communication between the members and customer service.

There have been ongoing, drastic changes in the game economy. Many folks feel manipulated and set-up to have to spend more money to continue. It’s becoming very expensive and many are leaving. Really, it’s hard to know whether there are a lot of happy players who don’t bother to voice opinions in the forums.

There are suspensions, members being banned, big-brother-type spying (or so I’ve read) and planned strikes and revolts. For me, it’s kind of like trying to look away from a train-wreck. I keep returning because I’m a bit fascinated and want to see how this turns out.

It really does seem that FooMojo despises their customers. It isn’t totally unlikely that they will try to sell the company or file for bankruptcy or that some other apocalyptic  thing will happen to the game. I am embarrassed that I’m involved in a site like this but I’m not ready to walk away. Conflicts and arguments online are such a total waste and I don’t have the energy to get involved in them. No one would miss me if I left–I could easily just delete my accounts. Yes I’m sorry to say, I have signed up for more than one account. I did that back when they were free. I really would not let a child of mine play after what I’ve learned about the site.

Today, that thing where I have difficulty with my nervous system was going on. I was clumsy and shaky and had poor manual dexterity. It doesn’t frighten me as much anymore because my healing is not a linear thing and this is just a part of a cycle. I adjusted my plans for the day accordingly–a good day for solitude.

A used book I ordered arrived–a book about face-reading. This isn’t the “Lie To Me” expression reading but part of a thousands-of-years-old system for reading features. Skimming through it, I noticed and felt validated that I have the burnt-out wrinkle of someone who works too hard. That may be hard for someone who happens to be reading my blog posts to believe.  There is also an anger flag about my personal life and suffering grooves. I know those facts to be true although I certainly don’t claim them as my identity or care to have people to perceive me in that way.

What it does is remind me again that experiences have lasting effects and choices do matter. I’ve developed a lot of character. In a quiet way.

So I have my own permission to play with virtual pets as long as it’s interesting and fun.

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