2013 Goals So Far

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I finally posted my 2013 goal ideas which were written up in early January.  I’ve been busy working away at them, which is part of why I’m blogging less frequently than usual.  As much as I enjoy writing and sharing my photographs, I also enjoy getting things done that need or want to get done.

So. . . what have I been doing so far in 2013?

One of the lovely entrances to a mansion in Charleston, South Carolina

One of the lovely entrances to a mansion
in Charleston, South Carolina

Reading

I’ve been reading, lots of reading.  My blogging and photography cut into other interests, which is no surprise to the rest of you.  I’m really missing my books, so I’ve been reading a lot after work.  I will admit that with an electric blanket over my lap, I have no difficulty attracting canine company who want to cuddle closely on a cold night!

Although I have a log-in on Goodreads, I’ve not been keeping it up.  I’ll list some of what I’ve read recently here that I’ve enjoyed:

  • You’re Already Amazing by Holly Gerth; an encouraging book about how we are already enough for God and to enjoy our uniqueness and abilities that He has given us.
  • Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson; a new addition to the series about a Washington D.C. police detective solving crimes while dealing with his family and their issues.
  • A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik; this was  re-read of a non-fiction book from several years ago.  John Kralik was struggling with his law business and personal life when he started the simple act of writing a thank you note every day.  The more he wrote, the more gratitude he found and the more he improved his outlook on life.  I very much enjoyed how he changed and grew over the course of the book.
  • Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd; a new addition to a series set in Britain at the end of World War I.  This story finds the main character trying to solve the mystery of who was killed and why.  I enjoyed it, but some of the earlier books are better.
  • The Cowboy and (Jubilee Texas series) by Lori Wilde.  I read all three of these.  No, they are not hard to read and yes, there was some steamy sex.  Enough said.
This store sold all things honey.  I never made it there while it was open, which was probably a good thing for my wallet.

This store sold all things honey.
I never made it there while it was open,
which was probably a good thing for my wallet.

Organizing Our Finances

This is actually part of my decluttering the house project.  I’ve been busy changing and strengthening passwords and security questions.  I’ve been reviewing all of our savings for retirement and making changes.  That’s taken a long time to research whether my choices several years ago were still good and not all of them were.  So now I’m researching new choices and moving things around.

I’ve also been going over these things with my favorite boy toy to make sure he understands what we have and where it is.  He’s become much more interested in this than he was even several years ago and he’s more adept financially as well.  It’s not taken very long for him to understand what we’re reviewing.  If something were to happen to me, he has a good idea what to do and how to do it, and our daughter does as well.  What he doesn’t know, she can help him figure out.

Walkway to a hotel near Battery Park (not where we stayed).

Walkway to a hotel near Battery Park (not where we stayed).

Exercising

With the cold weather finally settling in, I’ve moved my lunchtime exercise inside to the gym.  I hate the gym and am a good source of amusement for the two women who work there plus my co-workers.  They know the weather is really bad if I stay inside.

I’m working with one of the trainers for a new inside routine for day #1 and I’ve changed up my day #2 routine as well.  Unfortunately, my body really dislikes lifting weights and even with taking it slowly, I’ve been struggling with excess fatigue.  It seems to be getting better, but very slowly.  Still, I’d really like to improve my muscular strength and am really trying to stick with this new program.  I’ve not been sick since my cold last fall – yippee! – but am trying to get enough sleep to compensate for how tired I am.

I’ve been to the doctor before about this and there’s nothing wrong with me.  My body simply does not recover very well from physical exertion.  Part of my new day #2 workout is doing the same workout I’ve done before, but with lighter weights for more repetitions.  So if before I did 2 sets of 12 repetitions (24 altogether) with 20 pound dumbbells, now I’m doing 2 sets of 20 repetitions with 15 pound dumbbells (or even 10 pounds on some days).  I felt very energized afterwards, but a few days after am really tired.

I’m also trying a yoga class after work.  It was good, but not the kind of workout I’m used to.  This week will be the second week, so I’m hoping it will continue to go well.

I loved the colors of these bikes outside the woman's dormitory in Charleston.  Because of the lack of parking, you see a lot of people riding bikes.

I loved the colors of these bikes outside the woman’s dormitory in Charleston. Because of the lack of parking, you see a lot of people riding bikes.

What Else?

I haven’t been going for walks to the botanical gardens or Colonial Williamsburg.  The weather’s been either cold or raining.  There haven’t been many warm weekends with a nice blue sky.  Which is okay as I’m trying to get these other things done.

My favorite boy toy and I have been enjoying watching television at night, especially reruns of a show called The Big Bang Theory.  We only started watching it recently, so most episodes are new to us.  It’s nice late at night to just relax together, turn on the gas fireplace for a while, pet the dogs and laugh together.

We’ve also been busy with just things.  We checked out a new health club as our contract was coming due at the one my husband belongs to.  We didn’t like the new place and signed back up at the old place.  Our television cable / Internet contract came up as well, and that was time spent to decide if we wanted to stay with the same company, change our contract, or go somewhere else.  We changed our contract but stayed with the same company.  We’re considering replacing the windows and door in our house as we are tired of being so cold.  At this time of the year, you can smell the fresh air from all the drafts.  The house isn’t that old, but it was built very poorly.  This should help cut back the heat in the summer and reduce the noise from the outside as well.

View of another mansion; you can see by the sidewalk that it wasn't possible to get far enough away to take a picture straight on from the front.

View of another mansion; you can see by the sidewalk that it wasn’t possible to get far enough away to take a picture straight on from the front.

Today’s Photos

As I spent unreasonable amounts of time on hold to resolve our cable contract (yes, it took multiple calls and waiting forever), I started finally editing up some of the photos from our trip to Charleston, South Carolina last fall.  After we were home and had a chance to look through the photos, we decided the trip turned out better than expected other than not liking the hotel.  I did complain to the hotel and while they sent me a nice note apologizing for what we disliked, they did not ever address that we couldn’t check out and go somewhere else.  Which we definitely will do (go somewhere else) if and when we go back, which will hopefully be on a weekend when it’s not raining and cold.  It would be nice to get some of the architecture with a blue sky in the background and not be needing an umbrella whenever we set up our cameras.

I hope you enjoy them!  I’ll be sharing more – lots more.

Sunsets should be have been more spectacular; I was happy this one turned out this well.

Sunsets should be have been more spectacular; I was happy this one turned out this well.

Using lynda.com

Over at A Daily Life is a review of using lynda.com.  My skills in using Lightroom and Photoshop CS6 have increased tremendously since using lynda.com for training.  Lynda offers much more besides photography software, which I also discuss in my review.