Validation. It feels so good.

So, I’m going to try to tell this story without being too specific as to the parties/business involved, while sharing enough that it makes sense.

I work in an industry that employs tons of contractors in all sorts of roles; I am one. A contractor is not the same as a temp; I’ve been in my present position for over 4 years now with no end in sight. We work side-by-side with employees, often performing exactly the same jobs (without the corporate demands, but also the corporate perks). I contract through a very nice company that gives me decent benefits and an hourly rate that equals a good, though not spectacular, annual salary. It’s fine, and in 4 years no employee slot for my job was ever available. I was okay with being a contractor, and I’ve had nothing but positive-to-glowing feedback about my job performance.

Then over the summer, an employee position became available. When the job was posted, it very precisely described what I do, what I had been doing for 4 years. I even asked my supervisor if the position she was planning to fill was for what I did, and was told yes. So I applied. And waited. And waited.

I finally interviewed for the position, aka the job I’d been doing for FOUR years, and it was an uncomfortable interview. Three people who had worked with me for 4 years conducted it, and treated me like they had no idea who I was, and it all just felt “off” and uncomfortable. I left the interview feeling off balance, like something weird just happened.

Weeks passed, I heard nothing. Then my supervisor finally called me into a conference room, where I learned that the job was given to an inside applicant who was (as my supervisor expressed it to ME) “A paralegal!” Um, so am I, with a degree from a legit university and 25+ years of serious experience, which she does not have.

Okay, so…”She’s working on her master’s degree in something!” Well good on her, but it has nothing to do with the skill set for THIS job.

Then, the deciding factor: “She’s so warm and bubbly!” WHAT THE ACTUAL CHICKEN FRIED FUCK??? Is this a job skill for this technical position now? And I’m also WARM, goddammit! People like me!! I’ve had nothing but positive feedback for the last four years. Apparently I lack the bubble? Something….

So, New Girl started in the job, and she is indeed tall, pretty, warm, bubbly, a natural connector and corporate type, and I really do like her as a person. And the other participants in the interview came to me privately and said that this wasn’t right. Then I started getting unsolicited feedback from damn near everybody in our group that, yeah, she’s warm, bubbly, and doesn’t know the first thing about the job, and is basically being trained from scratch.

She has had more intensive training than anyone on this team ever received in the years I’ve been sitting here. (I got two days of training from a chick who I swear was high, she’s gone now.) But she is 20 years younger than I am, so there is that. And before you say EEOC, let me remind you this is Florida. Yes, I may have had a valid case, but yeah, because I’m actually a paralegal with 25 years of experience, I can write the rebuttal to a complaint for them: We prioritize candidates from within as many companies do, she’s (barely) over 40 too, so no discrimination. Yeah, not worth fighting that.

But, PLOT TWIST!! A woman who worked in our group as a contractor and found an escape to another team, after interviewing six or eight times for a job in this group, told me there was an opening in this other group. She hounded the living shit out of me until I sent my resume to the manager. I interviewed last Tuesday. I was offered the position on Friday. He’s already said that when the current hiring freeze is lifted, if we still like each other the position will become permanent.

And the icing on the schadenfreudelicious cake? The supervisor who didn’t give me the job I’d done for four years is on vacation out of the country. She’ll find out about this when she returns next week. I can’t wait for the screams from the other groups we work with, because I’m actually kinda a go-to person. She’ll find that out when I’m not here just quietly taking care of shit.

Announcement:

The extremely cute little Yorkie mix formerly known as Gizmo is now:

GIDGET!!

I tried with the Gizmo, y’all. It just wouldn’t come out of my mouth – I’d be walking her and honestly have to pause: what the hell was that name?

And every. single. person. who heard her name tilted their head in puzzlement and repeated “Gizmo??” And I’d explain that I didn’t name her, that was her old name…and why the hell should she keep that name going into her new life?

So the search was on for a name that sounded a bit like Gizmo, because she answered to her name and I didn’t want to confuse her further by changing it to something with no similar sounds. She’s adjusting to her new life, but it’s not entirely without issues. We considered shaping Gizmo to Izzy, but naah. I’m not sure why Gidget popped into my head, but she likes it and answers to it already.

Sophie’s birth name was Smooch. Same issue – it just didn’t “feel” right. I tested names with her, asking her, “Are you….?” and when I hit on Sophie, she jumped up and danced! That was 9 years ago, and she never looked back.

Ellie is the only one who kept her shelter name, and that’s because it fit my criteria for a call name: Two syllables, and a clean sound. Of course she has a backstory now; her full name is Lady Eleanor of Fluffybutt, and it’s a privilege for her humble lady’s maid to be able to call her Ellie.

So, the issues: Gidget is terrified of new people. I really do think she was meant to be mine, because when the rescue handed her to me in Petsmart she trembled a bit, but got over it and became relaxed and confident.

Now, she’s been outdoors and meeting my neighbors, one at a time. I’m not parading her around; we just bump into people. This neighborhood is full of dogs and dog walkers, so of course a new dog gets a welcome. My neighbors, well, they’re trying to be nice, but a couple of them got into her face too quickly. She didn’t snap or growl, it’s worse (for her): she shook so hard she may have rattled some teeth loose. (Poor baby has already lost some teeth and had a dental before she was put up for adoption, because she was raised on garbage food.) She was absolutely terrified, and the shaking didn’t stop until the new person was 10 ft. away.

She’s confident and cheerful inside the house, but new people outdoors are terrifying. I think her backstory is perhaps worse than we knew.

And I’m so grateful for my super easy care flooring, because yeah, we’ll need some potty re-education. I really don’t want to crate her while I’m at work unless I must, but right now I describe her as “free range guinea pig.” Tiny, tiny puddles (like a tablespoon of pee) appear at random. I’ve put out extra potty pads, hoping Sophie’s demos would help her figure it out, and the Swiffer is getting a workout. (Yay for the new Mr. Clean insert!!)

She will go potty outside, but she’s still nervous in her new neighborhood and I don’t think she’s comfortable with asking to go out there yet. We will get there. She’s going to my vet on Wednesday for an intro, and we’ll talk about how to deal with her adustment.

But we had another huge thing today – she is now climbing the stairs on her own!! I’m pretty sure it’s because she sees her new house as her safe space, and after meeting the tall kinda loud man next door, she couldn’t freaking wait to get back inside – bring on those stairs! She climbed them twice this evening; they’re not so scary now.

I’m still carrying her down, because down is scarier than up and she’s dealing with enough. We’ll work on that over Thanksgiving, when I have a few days off. She’s doing really, really well.

It’s a Girl! (And her name is Gizmo.)

GIZMO! Pay no attention to the dark spots under her chin, she just had a drink of water.

Third…er…fifth time is the charm! I sent in an application for Miss Gizmo on Thursday, and got a call that I could come meet her at Petsmart on Saturday at 1. Petsmart is not the ideal place to meet an animal; it’s busy and noisy and stressful. The rescue had an x-pen set up near the register for visiting a potential adoptee, which is all they can do there, but again, less than optimal.

Gizmo was a trembling little bundle when I first took her to the pen, but after a few minutes of talking and petting, she relaxed and her personality began to emerge. She’s a friendly, confident little dog. She’s 7 lbs., 4 years old, and a Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. (Allegedly some schnauzer in there too, but I question that.)

Once we got out of the chaos and noise of the store, she relaxed immediately. She insisted on riding home (a very short trip) on my lap, which we will have to work on because that’s not safe, but just this once….

Sophie was delighted with her immediately, and got on her nerves following her around sniffing – Gizmo actually had to show her tiny teeth and growl a bit to get her to knock it off. Ellie just gave me a look like “Really, Mom?? WHY?” and otherwise doesn’t care. Gizmo went right up to her and sniffed her face and Ellie just held still and let her; they’re already politely ignoring each other.

We had a good first night; she decided she didn’t want to sleep in the big bed but was very happy on an old down throw on the floor. We did have an accident overnight, but that’s to be expected as she learns the rhythm of the household. She doesn’t appear to have walked on a leash much so that’s a bit of a learning curve, but she’s catching on fast.

It’s cold here today, lower 50s and damp and gray. We had to break out the sweaters last night. Murphy’s old red sweater, the first one I ever made him, fits Gizmo perfectly. And she’s claimed Murphy’s favorite spot on the couch. I’m glad I never got rid of those nasty old pillows; they’re actually filled with feathers and mold themselves perfectly to a Yorkie’s little butt.

And for whatever reason, the last updates to either the Mac OS or WordPress has led to annoying issues with both, so it’s taking me way longer to get a post out than it should. I am going to go to the store and pick up a few new dog needs, like more treats and a proper bed.

More later!

The Dog Quest Continues

And I’m really getting frustrated with these rescue groups. For the second time in about 5 days, I’ve been contacted in response to my application, prepared to meet a potential new baby, only to have it snatched away a few hours later. One did apologize to me, “I’m sorry, she’s been adopted,” like three hours after she told me I could meet her. The next one emailed me and when I responded to ask when we could meet, went radio silent and the dog disappeared from the website.

Frustrated, hell, I’m getting PISSED. This isn’t like first come, first serve for a futon at a garage sale -you have to fill out an application and get approved, they contact references, there’s a home visit, so if there’s already at least one application ahead of mine, it would be a courtesy to say, “Just letting you know there’s an application (or twenty) ahead of yours.”

Instead, it was “Do you want to come meet her?” and I respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and got the when and where, which was followed in about three hours by “I’m sorry, she’s been adopted.” Which means there must have been an approved adopter in the wings when you contacted me, so WHAT the actual FUCK was that about?

I just contacted yet another rescue, and when I did I realized I need to write down the rescue’s name when I send the online application. There’s no paper trail on my end, it’s done online. I’d like to remember which ones already broke my heart.

The Dog Quest

It’s been four years since I lost my soul-dog, the beloved Bossy Little Dog, Murphy.

Oh look, here he is on the gross old balcony carpet! This was in 2015, shortly before he began his final decline – he was 15 in this picture.

I still had Sophie of course, and she adjusted pretty well to being an only dog. Murphy wasn’t much company for her in the last months of his life.

So she was an only dog for almost a year, until I woke up one day with an urge to get a kitten. (Spoiler alert: I did not get a kitten.) Ellie fit into the household like she was meant to be; she’s smart, affectionate, well behaved, and everything a cat should be. She is the Finest Cat Who Ever Catted. But, she’s not a dog. She is good company for Sophie, but it’s not the same.

My downstairs neighbor had her adult daughter staying with her temporarily; her daughter has a precious little Yorkie mix (she was told it was purebred, but naah) and Sophie fell in love with her. They moved out a couple of weeks ago, and Sophie still pauses in the courtyard to see if her little friend is there. She’d love to have another small doggie friend, and I think it would be good for her health.

Sophie is now 10 and a half, she’s had some health issues and is now starting to develop cataracts. She’s basically at the stage Murphy was in when I brought Sophie into the family – he was around 9 and just starting his battle with lymphangiectasia, and she was a year old, given up by a show breeder who just had too many Bostons. They felt she wasn’t getting enough attention in the crowd, so she became mine. It was a great match from day one, and Murphy went from acting like a droopy old man focused on his digestive troubles to his fun, bossy self overnight. I swear she added years to his life with her companionship.

BFFs in their youth, about 10 years ago! God, time flies!

So I’ve had great luck with blending new animals into the family so far, and I want to do it again. I’ve been looking, but damn, it’s hard! I know it’s hard because I’m somewhat picky: I want a young adult, preferably 5 years or younger, with no chronic health issues right off the bat, because I already have an expensive health issues dog. It needs to get along with dogs, cats and kids, and be 20 lbs or under (preferably 15 lbs or under) so they’re compatible on walks. And it needs to have that – indefinable spark – that I see when I meet a dog that will be sympatico, and blend with the household.

Yeah. EVERY TIME a dog that fits appears in a search, it gets snatched up before I can finish filling out the inquiry form. The rest, while I’m sure would be the right dog for someone else, wouldn’t work for me:

Must be on a strict medication schedule for chronic issues;

can’t walk on a leash so must have a fenced yard;

must have someone at home all day because of severe separation anxiety (boy, there’s a lot of that)

and the far too frequent refrain: Must be an Only Dog. No Cats, No Kids please.

So, apparently a lot of small dogs are given up for adoption because they are high maintenance assholes. One of the bios of an otherwise suitable-sounding shih tzu mix actually described him as high maintenance, and said he’ll be aggressive with other dogs while demanding all of your attention. They didn’t use the word “asshole,” but I could read between the lines.

Yesterday alone, two very promising little candidates were snatched out from under me in hours. It’s challenging and depressing, especially when my own cousin who had a Yorkie was just GIVEN another one by a friend who couldn’t keep her, and now has two happy little dogs whose pictures are all over Facebook. Grrr. I’m willing to drive all over the state for the right dog. There should be a matchmaking service.

November Already? OMG.

My 90 Day Reboot has been…educational…if not entirely successful. I have been much better about taking vitamins, meditating, and attempting to get more consistent sleep. I’ve been fair at saving more money. I’ve failed spectacularly on blogging, yoga, and the general category of “do something creative,” which covers knitting, crocheting, making anything at all. So now it’s November, and I’ve decided to focus on just three of the”fail” categories from my lengthy list of self improvement plans.

I will blog 4x a week in November. I reallyreallyreally want to get my blogging groove back; I don’t know why I lost it, but it’s around somewhere, probably with my knitting mojo. The cat probably hid it under the bed with her collection of catnip mice and used dryer sheets. I have plenty to say, but I generally compose great blog posts while walking the dog or driving to work and can’t remember what I had to say when I get near a keyboard.

I will find my knitting mojo. I inventoried my unfinished projects a month ago and it’s really not as bad as I’d thought. I have a sweater that needs sleeves, two afghans, two mindless yarn eating cocoon style sweaters in progress, one knitted and one crocheted…and that’s about it. I’m a Bad Grandma, I haven’t made anything for my granddaughters in a long time. I’ve decided to remedy that by starting small, with basic hats for the mountain-grown girls. If I pick something small and set a deadline, I’m more likely to follow through, and hopefully the hats will reawaken my love of making things with yarn.

I will get my yoga practice back, even if it’s just 15-20 minutes in the morning. Why do I stop doing things that I not only enjoy, but have tangible benefits? It’s a recurring theme in my life.

The refinance closed and the funds are in the bank. Some of it will pay debt, some will replenish my emergency fund, and the rest will go toward some long overdue home maintenance, like replacing the ancient and disgusting indoor-outdoor carpet on the condo balconies, and the not as ancient but damn near as gross carpet in the house.

My condo has an oddly shaped but deep balcony in front and an 8 x 16 or so screened balcony in back. The existing carpet has needed replacing for years, it was in bad shape when I bought this place and now it’s truly heinous, and so moldy it’s probably a health hazard. The balconies are great additional living space that is totally wasted because it’s just so gross out there. I don’t even have furniture out there, it’s just sad, empty, and gross.

Disgusting, isn’t it?

I’ve thought about my flooring options and my budget, and I think I’m just going to replace the ancient and gross carpet with fresh new carpet in a dark charcoal gray. I thought about tile for a hot minute but the installation cost is just not in my budget. It took a very long time for the existing carpet to deteriorate to this heinous state, and the new brands of indoor-outdoor are much better and more durable. The one I’m thinking of is actually made from recycled water bottles, and that’s pretty cool. Add some cheap, cheerful furniture and a few big plants, and it’ll make a lovely knitting spot this winter. Because yes, this is Florida – balconies are used in the winter, not the summer. It has just “cooled off” to 82 degrees (from the mid-90s) in the last few days.

Improvement, home and other, continues.

Still Here. Still Doing Stuff.

Still waiting on the refinance to close, but after reviewing my financial future, this will just be helpful, not an answer. I really need to find my retirement side gigs.

So what have I been doing while neglecting this blog? Eh. Walking when it’s not raining. Not enough yoga. Reading more. Way too much TV. Trying to sleep. Trying to eat better. Watching the “president” lose his fucking mind and take the Republican Party down with him – so, just living through 2019.

I’ve thought about writing about politics, but then I thought about my 2007 brain aneurysm, and yeah, I wish I could, but I don’t plan on dying for this bullshit. I came too close last time. Though I do feel somewhat vindicated that every wild worst case scenario paranoid fever dream I considered in the months following his installation have come true, that’s really not helping my insomnia.

So what’s positive? My 90 day reboot (still in progress) has been educational. I haven’t really stuck to my overly ambitious master plan, but I’ve figured stuff out, so that’s a good thing. I have clearer priorities already.

Ellie is fine, sweet, beautiful. Sophie is (dare I whisper?) healthy at the moment, but she does seem to be losing her vision to cataracts, and I have to remember this when she’s even more sniffy and slow on walks. I’m not sure how much she can see, but she’s quite perky in other ways, and greets me with dancing and a stuffed toy for fetch when I get home from work. She’s not blind yet, she’s just not seeing the way she used to. I know this is the case because she’s lost interest in her beloved TV. I even turned on Downton Abbey, one of her favorite shows (I’m not kidding – it has dogs and sometimes horses, she was obsessed with it) and she didn’t even pay attention.

So I haven’t been blogging much because I’m having a hard time coming up with perky and positive topics, but I’m still here, plugging along, figuring it out as I go along.

Catching Up and Stuff.

So, yeah, about that blogging 2x a week thing….

I swear I’ll do better. I have a lot of stuff going on – all good so far – but a lot. If you aren’t interested in a boring financial saga you might want to skip this one and come back later when I talk about knitting.

My 90 day life reboot is proceeding in fits and starts, but there is actual progress. I feel like I’m coming out of a two year sleepwalking state; it’s taking a while to sort out my life and get it back on track, but it’s happening.

I think I’ve mentioned on the old blog that I own an “investment property” – I put it in quotes because it doesn’t generate actual cash flow. It’s the house I bought with my late husband in 1996, and my daughter and son-in-law have rented it from me since I moved temporarily to Asheville 9 years ago. When I returned to FL for employment reasons (Asheville’s job market is challenging, to say the least) I had a small inheritance from my mother, which gave me the opportunity to buy a condo in a neighborhood I loved, really cheap – like for less than it sold for new in the 80s. (Of all of the somewhat questionable financial decisions I’ve made over the years, this was a smart one.) So they continued to rent the house, with a vague plan that one of these days they’d buy it from me. That’s still the vague plan. They do all the maintenance, including replacing the fence when it fell down in Hurricane Irma, and but for the student loans keeping them from getting their own mortgage, it’s their house.

So time passed, my employment situation varied, and my income never returned to pre-Great-Recession level. I kept my nose above the water, but have been somewhat “cash poor” for the past decade. This has resulted in things like having to put absolutely necessary car and A/C repairs and vet bills and such on credit cards, and you know how that goes. I’ve been diligently and carefully paying everything off, but it was a discouraging thought that I’d be out of debt about two weeks before I can collect Social Security, IF I never take another vacation and give up buying books and yarn and all fun things. And IF Social Security is still there after this National Disaster is finally over, which, who the hell knows? But we won’t go down that depressing road.

Then a couple of weeks ago I got a mailer from a mortgage company offering the chance to refinance the “investment property,” and they actually did the math on a cash out refinance that wouldn’t dramatically change the monthly payment OR eat too much into my equity. I had nearly thrown that piece of “junk mail” away unopened, but something made me open it and skim it, and then read it, and then it clicked! I had an Ah-HAH! moment! This would fix as lot of day to day issues for me; I could pay off a couple of bills, fix some things both at the house and in my home, plunk a wee bit into my emergency fund, and generally give myself some financial breathing room.

And so, did I call that company about the refinance? I did not. I called my current lender, Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage. (I am not getting compensated for singing their praises, because did I mention I’m really bad at this making money from blogging thing?) Anyway, I called them on October 1, I think – and the refi will probably close this coming week. When they say Rocket Mortgage, they aren’t kidding – they’re hyper efficient and a pleasure to deal with. And because I was an existing customer, I just had to update some information and provide current tax returns, etc. – easy and peasy, and they waived a lot of fees.

So anyway, that’s both a happy development in my financial situation and a story about how linear my thinking gets when I feel trapped in a rut. For the past several years I’ve been in “just getting by” mode, alternating with When the HELL Will They Finally Be Ready to Buy THAT HOUSE? mode, because I felt like that was the only way out. I had never even thought of refinancing the house, and that’s truly sad considering I do know quite a bit about real estate, and knew I had a boatload of equity trapped there. I’ll still have plenty of equity, but I’ll be out from under other debts and be able to increase my retirement savings contribution, etc. I just did not think about doing this, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of doing this three years ago. This is what happens when you get to the point where you just put one foot in front of the other, on a treadmill, day after day, sleepwalking through life. It’s making me think about other ways I’ve been sleepwalking through my life. It’s funny how this one thing made me realize how little I’ve been paying attention to my life. Who knew boring financial stuff could revive my interest in knitting?

Okay, I’ve been really, really bad about blogging.

I’m sorry. I have a litany of excuses about my total failure to stick to a 3x week blog schedule. I need to ease into it. Maybe once a week? Then in October, twice a week? In my very ME way, I took on a lot of “things I need to work on” simultaneously, because that’s how I treat myself. I will walkyogawriteblogvitaminsknitcrochetsavemoneycookhealthyfood all at once, and get it all done in the few hours between getting home from my increasingly frustrating and crappy day job and falling into bed, to get up at 5 and start all over again. When I write it like this, I can see how I was setting myself up for failure. So rather than abandon the project, I’ll adjust my expectations.

Otherwise, my 90 day fix project is, while far from perfect, actually making me focus on how much sleep and exercise I get, and how I spend money, and all good things. I’m making scrap yarn granny squares while watching the teevee in the evenings, so I’m both productive and pouring far less wine. It’s not much, but I’m easing back into actually making things. I’m in an Impeachment KAL group on FB, and trying to decide what I will do. I have several unfinished projects that have been languishing too long; they will be listed in another post. But someone in the group shared about a “hats for refugees” project, and well damn, that does sound kind of perfect. Doing some small, welcoming things sounds about right for me right now. (I know about Welcome Blankets, but I have two unfinished afghans destined for grandchildren already. They’ll probably take them to college.)

I’m spending a lot of time on Twitter, especially today, because HOLY SHIT TODAY WAS HIGH DRAMA AND CRAZY, and also darkly comical, in Constitutional Crisis World; and things are suddenly moving very, very fast.

I made a deliberate choice to step away from writing about politics after my brain aneurysm. (I’m not saying the Bush Administration caused it, but it certainly didn’t help my overall stress.)

Which is why I probably won’t write much about our current political drama here, though I’m following it closely; I’ll let other, better writers deal with that. But seriously, the last 24 hours have given most of this country hope.

I’m on a mission to do four visits to Epcot Food and Wine, so I can get all the passholder swag (two magnets and nifty set of Chef Minnie coasters). I have a long essay written in my head about a visit to Magic Kingdom with my daughter and the Dancing Queen, and really should write it. It’s about how screaming on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was such a release, I should have taken my blood pressure before and after. I’ll write it, I swear.

And I know this is thus far a lame blog reboot, because there should be way more photos.

Sophie and Ellie are both fine. It’s still hot AF here. That’s the update from Chez BossyDog.

90 Day Reboot Plan

In which Catherine attempts to get her life in order. Settle in; this will be a long one.

I’ve been off track for a long time now. I can’t quite explain how it happened, but somewhere over the last couple of years I’ve fallen away from a lot of things I used to do: knitting, walking, yoga, getting a decent amount of sleep, etc. There is no single cause I can point to, it just sort of happened.

But I’m suddenly feeling “old” and I don’t like it. I want to slow down this aging crap and look and feel my best. I have all the tools, I know precisely what I’m doing wrong and what I need to fix, and yet, here I am.

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been contemplating a 90 day lifestyle improvement plan. It’s not fancy and it’s free – as a matter of fact, if I stick to it, I will probably have an extra $500 in the bank by the time I’m done.

The rules are simple:

Starting September 15th, I will clean up my act as follows:

I will walk 5x a week. We are in storm season here so this one may have to be a bit flexible if another hurricane or tropical storm comes this way, but unless there is active lightning/torrential rain, I will get my tired grandma ass back out there. Yes, it’s still hot, yes it’s really sweaty, and that’s just how it is, do it anyway. I have a shower and laundry facilities and sweating is not an excuse. I know I feel better when I exercise often, and there’s no real excuse for my slacker behavior over the last several months. Besides, I’ve signed up for the Star Wars 5K next April, and it would be kind of cool to actually RUN the course at nearly 62, instead of walking the races as I usually do (and haven’t in a while). Walking regularly now will get me ready to do a Couch to 5k program in say, December.

Yoga, 5x a week. I have zero excuses here; my yoga practice of choice is Yoga with Adriene, it’s free on YouTube, and she has tons of options for time, intensity, specific health concerns, I love her to pieces, and yet, somehow I make lame excuses to not get on the mat. I will make the time, I will do it.

(I’m building in 2 days of wiggle room for these two commitments, because weather and oversleeping and whatever, because 5 times a week is a helluva lot better than the once or fewer times I’m walking and yoga-ing right now.)

Meditation – daily. I do meditate semi-daily, but I need to make it part of every day. You don’t have to sit for an hour (unless you want to, of course, and more power to you), it’s amazing how even 10 minutes makes a difference for me. I’ve used various apps in the past; Insight Timer is very very good and FREE and I used it for a long time until I fell in love with Calm. All of the content is not free, but the amazing sleep stories alone are worth the annual fee. It has everything; music, guided meditations of various lengths, and the sleep stories are truly magical and effective for me.

I’ve always been a truly awful sleeper, I was an insomniac since childhood. As an adult I’ve tried various things from herbal teas to OTC medications to alcohol, and everything has its side effects/didn’t really do much for me. The Calm sleep stories, sometimes with herbal tea or an evening glass of wine (more on that) have helped a lot.

Limit Alcohol. I know wine is a productivity killer for me. It wasn’t always the case, once upon a time wine and blogging and knitting and all the things I loved went together in harmony, but I know my consumption has ticked up as my productivity slipped down.

My creative life was important to me and has been badly neglected. I have unfinished knitting and crocheting projects glaring at me from every corner as I pour an extra glass and surf YouTube Disney vloggers. (I’d love to be a Disney Vlogger!) Last night I actually picked up a hook and worked on an unfinished granny square afghan that has been sitting in a corner for countless months. I crocheted a couple of squares, and whaddaya know, I forgot to pour more wine and then it was bedtime! So simple, so obvious, so how did it take me months to figure it out? Busy hands don’t pour chardonnay!

And while I spent too much money on wine in the last year, I also spent too much money on creative tools I haven’t used. I have yarn, I have beads, I have paper crafts – I discovered bullet journal printables on Etsy and OMG, you can print the coolest stuff, and it’s only $1.99, or $2.99, or whatever! Mere pennies!! And at the end of the month, somehow I’d spent $82.99 on digital images. (Just kidding. I’m not sure how much I spent because I’m afraid to do that math.) And then there’s the brush pens and the fancy notebooks the cool kids on Instagram all use – oddly enough, owning these tools did NOT improve my artistic ability in the slightest. So for 90 days (and beyond) I’m going cold turkey on buying craft supplies and focusing on using them.

And that brings me to Eating Right. I was doing WW for months and I did lose about 15 lbs., but I cracked the code: it’s just a low carb diet, with an emphasis on fresh food, lean protein, and lots of veggies. And yes, I do know how to do that and combined with exercise, I don’t really need an app and can save the money. That’s not a slam on WW, I wholeheartedly endorse their program, but I’m looking to save money wherever I can, so I will WW without WW. I’d like to lose another 10 lbs, and I don’t see why I can’t get it done in 90 days with the plan outlined above.

And that leads me to: Blogging. It has taken me a while to get this blog just laid out in a simple format I liked and figure out how to do links and such. Now that I have the basics in place again, I do solemnly swear that I will update at least 3x a week about my progress on this 90 day project and other things, too. The first update needs to be a review/inventory of my unfinished creative projects, because I’ve lost track myself.

So that’s it; that’s my 90 day plan to get my life back on course. Food, sleep, exercise, creativity all need attention.

It’s on.

And later today I’m off to the Magic Kingdom, because I desperately need fireworks and a churro – consider it the kickoff to this program.