2010 – Goal Setting

Part one in an ongoing saga of progress for 2010. These are a couple questions posed by David Allen for followers of Getting Things Done.

What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010?
Since I’ve set 3 attainable goals, my biggest triumph will be succeeding at all of them.

  1. Blogging as much as possible (at least 5x/week)
  2. Spinning 4 oz/week
  3. Mindful eating and exercise.


What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?

Just keep moving forward. Take time for reflection only when it is productive – not when it is for the purpose of beating yourself up.

What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?
I need to learn to value myself more. I tend to follow the Groucho Marx rule that I won’t belong to any club that would have me as a member. I need to break out of this and feel that my work is valuable and that I am an asset to any team.

Stick a Fork in Me

I knew that by today I would be toast at work. Not much good for anything. So I pre-planned to leave work early. But you can’t just go home when you leave early – so I went to Jillian’s house.

Jillian, Erica, and I have committed to spinning 4 oz of fiber every week in 2010. (We’ll be blogging about it at 13 Pounds.) I wanted pictures of all the fiber before I started to spin it, so J suggested I come to her house and take advantage of her light box. I went through my spinning room and pulled out all the likely candidates. I was a little surprised at what I had. All different kinds of fiber (superwash, corriedale, wensleydale, merino/tencel, BFL, alpaca/silk blend) and amazing amounts of color.

The idea is to spin a lot and learn even more. It’s going to be a blast with all of us spinning up different stuff and discussing it. Erica and Jillian are amazing spinners. Erica has a fearless quality about her that inspires me. She was never told, “that’s too hard for a beginner”, so she jumps into everything. Jillian enables me “Looook, it’s orange, I think it has your name on it!” I can’t think of 2 people who will challenge me more to become a better spinner. Progress!

It’s All Good

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask the universe for something and it provides. My boss came into my office today and asked me a question he frequently asks, “Are you still happy with your job? Still excited to be working here?”

I answered like I usually do, “Yes, I’m happy here. There are some things I want to change, but for the most part, I’m happy.”

Then he said something he’s never said before, “It’s important that you continue to be happy with what you’re doing. You’re important and I want you to stick around.”

I was stunned, my mouth hung open for a bit, and then I thanked him.

Then the moment was over and we moved on to planning the agenda for 2010.

2009 In Review – #1

I use Getting Things Done, by David Allen, as a general guidepost. I have gone through the book a couple of times and have even attended a seminar where I breathed the same air as he did for an entire day. When I use the system, I am more productive and feel better about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I think it’s appropriate to get back on the GTD wagon ASAP.

I get e-mails from David (okay, it’s the Productive Living newsletter, but it says my name at the top, so I choose to think David and I are close buddies – get your own here). The most recent newsletter was a guide to reviewing 2009 and setting goals for 2010. Since my theme word for 2010 is Progress, I thought I should get the best possible start and review 2009.

I just said to my daughter today, “I’m glad 2009 is over. It really sucked.” She said, “Mom, why did it suck?” When I couldn’t give her a concrete reason, she said, “Well, I think you need to think about it a little more so you can give a better answer the next time someone asks.” (Yes, she really said that. She’s extraordinarily old for 14.)

Anyway, the newsletter gave a list of questions to answer in reviewing 2009 and David said, “When I go through these kinds of questions I like to consider my answers in several areas”

Physical Emotional Mental Spiritual Financial Family Community Service Fun / creativity / recreation
I thought I could answer the questions throughout the month of January in order to do some in depth goal setting for 2010 (and yes, I picked the easiest questions first, what of it?).

Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2009?

  1. Eric: My husband had the greatest impact in many ways. He continued his traveling throughout the year to Florida in the winter and Alaska in the summer. It was hard to have him go, but very nice to have him come back. He’s growing and learning and while it’s frustrating for him (and our budget) to be out of work, he’s at least using the time constructively. He concentrated on fitness during the summer and was riding his bike 20-30 miles several times a week. We’re planning on biking together this summer and eventually plan on doing a century ride. I’d be happier if he’d use a little more time to cook and clean, but you can’t have everything.
  2. Jillian: My bestest fiber buddy has encouraged me on every creative undertaking I’ve started. When I call in despair (about work, family, finances), she talks me out of the tree. I tell her things with very little filter, because I know she understands and does not judge. I can show up at her house and feel welcomed and included. I cannot stress how invaluable it is to have a friend like this and how blessed I am to have her.
  3. Berma: My mother. I spent the majority of 2009 lamenting the fact that my mother has changed. She is no longer the warm, comforting woman of my youth. I am angry and sad about this. When she pushes my buttons, I try to remember that she is aging, but am only successful about 1/2 the time. I don’t anticipate this changing throughout 2010, but I’m trying to gain some perspective and definitely trying to deal with it better than I have.

What compliment would you liked to have received in 2009?
“I want to work with you until I retire.” I fel
t taken for granted at work in 2009. My boss is terrific, but his idea of an evaluation is “You’re doing a great job. What’s next?” I would like to have more constructive feedback so I know he’s paying attention. One goal is this area is to seek him out more often and ask him sharper questions so I can focus more on what needs to be done and anticipate some of the upcoming projects better.

What compliment would you liked to have given in 2009?
It’s not a specific compliment, but an urge to tell people how much I appreciate them more often (or at all). I have lots of friends who may not know how much I care about them and maybe I should tell them. I try to make sure my kids know how proud I am of them and how much I love them, so maybe that’s the model I should use. I’m not going to tell my co-workers that I love them, but I can appreciate them more out loud and less in my head or to other people.

But enough about me, here’s what you really came for (click on the picture to make it bigger). This is Erica, Kat, & Roberta in superwash wool (two 4 oz batches each):


Dang, I’m Tired

It was a very long day. I made it almost to the end – left the office at 4:15, only a few minutes early. Here’s the thing about e-mail, I find it almost impossible to keep up when I’m at work for 8 hours a day. I tried to keep up with it while I was out, but failed miserably. There were almost 300 unopened mails in my inbox (294 to be exact). It took me all day, but I got it down to about 30 opened and 4 unopened. Every 2 minute job was taken care of when I opened the e-mail. The other tasks went on a list to be tackled tomorrow. Thank you David Allen.


I came home dog tired and flopped on the couch. When I went into the kitchen to get dinner, I noticed some strange spots appearing on the fiber I had soaking. Some were almost magenta and some were light gray. At first I thought they were bits of something that got dropped in the bucket. Then it hit me, “That’s mold!”



Luckily, it was only the top of the fiber at the top of the bucket. I pulled off the affected fiber and set to dying the rest of the stuff that was in the bucket. That’s what I get for being a slug yesterday. Tomorrow morning I’ll have sunshine coming out of those dyepots. It’s incentive to get out of bed early to rinse the stuff.

That was fast

I’ve been off work on medical leave since November 16. I’m very appreciative of the time off, especially since after the first 3 weeks or so, it’s been kind of fun. I go back to work tomorrow. I had a big list of things I wanted to get done today:

  1. Mix dye stock
  2. Dye some superwash fiber for my Etsy store
  3. Organize my backpack
  4. Clean up the house
  5. Get started on 2009 tax organizer

Here’s what I actually got done:

  1. Read a little
  2. Knit a little
  3. Spin a little
  4. Watch football on TV
  5. Open all the mail I let pile up last week

I could not get myself motivated to do anything on what I kept calling MY LAST DAY. I wanted to get things done. I just couldn’t do it. I’m having the hardest time facing getting up early every day, having to get showered and dressed, no mid-afternoon nap, and (the hardest of all) having to be NICE to people every day.

I can’t even get motivated enough to stop whining and write something interesting. Wait, I do have something to be happy about – I still have a job, with good benefits and a great boss. I guess I’ll get through my first week back and have something good to say. It won’t be a total loss. Plus, I’ll have an extra day off in May, right?

The Bastard*

My 23-year-old, unmarried niece is pregnant. It really wasn’t a surprise, as we’ve been expecting this from this particular child for several years. She has a dead-end job with no insurance and because of where she lives, there isn’t much hope for anything better. She attended college for 2.5 years, but got kicked out because of bad grades after her last semester. In short, she has made bad choice, after bad choice, after bad choice. When I asked if she was going to marry her baby’s father, she said, “We’re not ready for that kind of commitment yet.”

After I hung up the phone with her, I called Little Big Man (who is now 18 and at university). I said, “In the immortal words of Jillian, you’d better be ‘wrapping it or slapping it’ my friend.”

“Yes mom,” he said.

“Every time,” I said.

“Yes mom,” he said.

“Right answer kid,” I said.

I understand that only 2 generations ago girls were sent away for getting ‘in the family way’. I understand that punishing them (and not the boys they were having sex with) was wrong. What I don’t understand is why the stigma is completely gone. Oldest niece reported that she signed up for medicaid and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) without a hint of shame. She’s shacking up with this boy and playing house like it’s a Sunday stroll. Picking out names and registering for gifts without a care in the world.

I worry what will happen when the reality of taking care of a baby 24/7 comes crashing in. When the fairy tale of ‘having a baby to love’ turns into changing the diaper of a screaming baby at 3:00 am after only having 6 hours of sleep over the course of a couple of days and then trying to nurse with cracked nipples.

“But he’s ready to be a daddy and I’m ready to be a mommy Auntie,” she assured me.

All I could say was, “I hope so. I really hope so.”

*My mother is very upset that I refer to the unborn child as a bastard. “But they’re planning on getting married eventually,” she whines.

“If they aren’t married when the baby is born, it’s a bastard,” I reply every time she brings it up.

Welcome 2010!

I didn’t have a good 2009. No one big thing threw me off; it was a whole bunch of things that did it. At Thanksgiving my husband said he was hopeful that 2010 would bring us better fortune. I said, “It has to be better for us than 2009!”

However, since it does no good to dwell on what sucked. This year I’m dedicating myself to progress. I can’t change the Michigan economy and give my husband work. I can’t give myself an office with a window. I can do things that move me forward. So I’m determined to concentrate on 3 areas and throw in one specific task per month from my life list.

Recently a friend said, “I miss writing every day.” This really struck a chord with me, as I love to write, but don’t do it much. So area #1 is writing. I will write every day – mostly here, but there will be at least 30 minutes/day dedicated to writing something.

I’ve fallen off my diabetes band wagon lately. I had surgery in November (am now uterus free) and since I felt so awful for the first couple of weeks I ate whatever I wanted. Then the holidays came. Area #2 is mindful eating. Not just avoiding the things that make me feel bad (sugar, too much caffeine), but trying to eat the things that are good for me (more veggies, whole grains).

The addendum to area #2 is exercise. I was forbidden to exercise after the surgery for obvious reasons (abdominal surgery doesn’t lend itself to a lot of crunches). Then (again) the holidays appeared. I go back to work on January 4, so expect to get myself back into a schedule of getting up early and spending some quality time with the elliptical machine. I plan on beginning with 20 minutes, 3 days per week for the month of January. A long term goal in the fitness area is riding a century ride (100 miles over the course of a couple of days).

Area #3 is fiber. A couple of friends and I plan on spinning 4 ounces of fiber/week and blogging about it (blog to be determined later). I’ve been spinning a lot in the last year, but I tend to spin the same kind of yarn over and over. It’s lovely yarn and I’ve managed to sell some of it on Etsy and at local craft fairs. However, I’d really like to expand my repertoire of yarns and plan on working through Judith MacKenzie McCuin’s book The Intentional Spinner.

My task for January is to get my resume in order. I spoke with the career counselor at my graduate school last July. She was very encouraging and gave me some good tips to get everything up to speed. I haven’t look at it since. By January 31, I will have a working resume that I can send out to some companies in other areas of the country to see if I can get something going somewhere.

So those are the goals. I already have a bunch of fiber lined up for the 4 oz/week. I have stuff on the iPod to watch/listen to while exercising. I’ve pulled out the cookbooks and plan on some great meals from new recipes. 2010 is going to be a great year for me.

(image ganked from Robert Price)