Resolutions follow-up #1

Since it’s February, I figured I’d better check in and see how I’m doing with my 2008 resolutions. Without having looked back at the list, I think I’m doing pretty well, but we’ll see. Following is a list of the resolutions and how I’ve done on each.

Creativity

1. Write more consistently, whether journaling, blogging, or creative writing.

I have been blogging and journaling more, though not always publicly. I haven’t done any creative writing, though.

2. Find another outlet for article writing (since ComputorEdge has gone virtual.)

I sent a query letter to another computer magazine, but have received no response. I am considering writing for a website that gives ad revenue shares, but am still on the fence about that one. My experience with Associated Content leaves a lot to be desired, but much of that is probably on my shoulders for not marketing my writing there enough.

3. Publish some fiction. (Didn’t I say this last year?)

I’ve done nothing in this regard as yet.

4. Play more musical gigs.

Steel River Three has a gig scheduled on March 29th. That’s a start.

5. Start teaching my stepson how to play guitar (his request, my responsibility to follow up.)

We started on this, and he’s done a great job of learning the first position notes. It’s clear, though, that a full size guitar is not going to work for him right now. His left arm is not long enough to have proper hand position on the low frets, and that will lead to poor playing habits and frustration for him. This is what he needs, I think. Unlike some of the other mini guitars, it actually tunes to standard EADGBE tuning, which is important for playing along with other instruments.

6. Transplant my Variax electronics into a Carvin Bolt kit or Warmoth guitar body.

This takes money, and I’m not in a position to do it yet.

Physical & Mental Health

1. Learn how to get up earlier, consistently.

The first half of the month, I got up consistently at 6:00 AM. The second half of the month, though, I started taking new prescription meds (part of the mental health thing) and am still working out the adjustments to my sleep schedule.

2. Utilize my handheld BalanceLog software to track my eating and exercising habits.

I did this for about a week before I fell off the wagon. The odd thing is that I’m still losing weight.

3. Ride my bike or walk to work more often. (If I get up earlier, this is not a problem!)

I have ridden and walked a few times, but not as much as I’d hoped.

4. Schedule dental appointments to get my teeth taken care of.

I just added this one. It was already one of my goals, but I forgot to include it in the original Resolutions list. I’m certain I will need oral surgery; I have wisdom teeth that have come in vastly crooked over the years and are damaging the insides of my cheeks. I also have at least one extra tooth below the gum on the lower right that will probably need to come out. I’m not looking forward to this; I am very afraid of surgery, and the one surgery I’ve had didn’t go well. (It was outpatient surgery, and I had a panic attack in the middle of it.) Anyway, the dentist is lined up, I just need to make the appointment.

Financial Health

1. Get the amp out of the pawn shop, and never put it in again.

My plan is to get it out this month, then I’m going to learn how to play Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Goin’ Back Again” as a reinforcement to never take it back to the pawn shop.

2. Continue to provide quality computer consulting, but stop devaluing my services as much.

I’ve had several consulting gigs in the last month, and the small amount of extra money has helped. I haven’t raised my rates, but I also haven’t given away as much of my time (except to family, whom I don’t think I should charge.)

3. Keep current on space rent, car payment, mortgage, and car insurance.

The mortgage is current, the car payment is current, and the space rent will be current by next weekend, as will the car insurance. (The insurance is not in default, the payment is just late.) I’m considering talking to the mortgage company about changing our payment date, if possible.

4. Make a spending plan (a.k.a. budget) and stick to it.

I made the budget, but sticking to it has been hard. Part of the plan is to give both me and Lannette a specific amount of “mad money” per paycheck to spend as we wish, with the rest of my paycheck going to a household account for paying bills.

5. Track finances better with Quicken on computer and handheld.

After having some initial trouble getting Pocket Quicken to work with Quicken 2008 (and receiving very little helpful support from Landware, the developer of Pocket Quicken, who just dropped communication when they couldn’t solve the problem), I finally have my accounts syncing up correctly and am entering all transactions in the handheld. I know at any given time exactly how much money is available and when all bills clear.

Home Improvements

1. Clean cat boxes daily.

This may sound silly, but I’m very proud of this one. Although I love my cats, I hate cleaning cat boxes, and that has led to behavioral problems (i.e. peeing on the floor) before. Every day in January, I cleaned both cat boxes, and it now feels like a habit, which was my goal. I also realized part of the way through the month that since I was cleaning the cat boxes, I may as well clean the ferret’s litter box daily, too, which had been my wife’s chore (by her choice.) Makes sense; I have the scooper, so I may as well do it, right? My thanks go out to the ZenHabits.net forums for providing a place to check in daily to reinforce the habit formation.

2. Help more with household chores without having to be asked.

I’ve done well with this over the last couple of weeks. I’ve kept up with the dishes and the trash (for the most part) and I’m finding that when I get started on one chore, the others naturally follow. I hope I can continue this habit.

3. Reduce household clutter gradually (this will help mental health, too.)

In addition to moving my main dresser to a more convenient location in the bedroom, I also picked up a suitcase that had been laying on the floor and constricting access to the master bathroom for months. One final toe-stubbing was all it took. There is still a lot of clutter, but this is something that I expect to work on a little at a time over the year. Otherwise, it will seem insurmountable.

4. Upgrade my computer (new mobo, RAM, and video.)

This really needs to happen, but I don’t have the money right now. My motherboard is losing track of its USB ports and it has started taking 5 minutes to POST when booted. 🙁

5. Replace carpet with hardwood flooring throughout the house.

I really hope we can do this this summer. It will take a good chunk of money and a lot of work, but it will get rid of the carpet that the cats ruined, will make the house easier to keep clean, and will increase the value of our home.

6. Landscape yard.

This is something that will have to happen in spring, if it happens, and it will just take some significant shovel and back work. (And money, again.)

7. Install carport/awning.

I would love it if I could build one of these this year. I can envision it, but I don’t know if I can afford to do it, either in terms of money or time.


Well, not bad. Of the twenty-two resolutions I set forth, I have made at least some progress on twelve of them, and taken steps toward another three. I feel good about that.

How are you guys doing on your resolutions?

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2008 Resolutions

Why do we have resolutions if all they do is depress us when we don’t keep them? Earlier tonight, I composed my initial list of resolutions for 2008, and just a few minutes ago, I looked at my 2007 Resolutions post from last year. Of last year’s resolutions, I only completed two to my satisfaction: I got my taxes done on time and I bought a Variax.

This year’s list is much bigger, but possibly less restrictive. Several resolutions from last year carry over (and may well be perpetual entries, no matter how well I perform them), with lots of new entries. I’ll try to organize them into manageable sections, though I’m sure there will be crossover.

Creativity

1. Write more consistently, whether journaling, blogging, or creative writing.
2. Find another outlet for article writing (since ComputorEdge has gone virtual.)
3. Publish some fiction. (Didn’t I say this last year?)
4. Play more musical gigs.
5. Start teaching my stepson how to play guitar (his request, my responsibility to follow up.)
6. Transplant my Variax electronics into a Carvin Bolt kit or Warmoth guitar body.

Physical & Mental Health

1. Learn how to get up earlier, consistently.
2. Utilize my handheld BalanceLog software to track my eating and exercising habits.
3. Ride my bike or walk to work more often. (If I get up earlier, this is not a problem!)
4. Make appointments with the dentist to remove my errant wisdom teeth and extra teeth below the gum on the lower jaw.

Financial Health

1. Get the amp out of the pawn shop, and never put it in again.
2. Continue to provide quality computer consulting, but stop devaluing my services as much.
3. Keep current on space rent, car payment, mortgage, and car insurance.
4. Make a spending plan (a.k.a. budget) and stick to it.
5. Track finances better with Quicken on computer and handheld.

Home Improvements

1. Clean cat boxes daily.
2. Help more with household chores without having to be asked.
3. Reduce household clutter gradually (this will help mental health, too.)
4. Upgrade my computer (new mobo, RAM, and video.)
5. Replace carpet with hardwood flooring throughout the house.
6. Landscape yard.
7. Install carport/awning.

Whew! Am I setting myself up to fail? Probably, but as I established at the beginning of this post, that’s what resolutions are all about, right? At least making the list helps me keep an eye on the goals.

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Stuck in the Mountains

I’m writing this post from a Safeway cafe area in Frisco, Colorado while I wait for parts to be delivered from the East Coast (which is pretentious enough to deserve capital letters, evidently.) I stayed in Silverthorne, Colorado last night because I-70 eastbound was closed due to blowing and drifting snow.

Today is my day off, actually. But since I was stuck here overnight and my employer is kind enough to pay for my hotel room and last night’s meal, I figure the least I can do is stay here long enough to get the parts to fix the self-checkout machine at this Safeway.

I considered writing last night, but didn’t get back to the hotel room until a little before 9:00 PM, due to an overcrowded restaurant. (35 minutes to get seated, another 35 minutes to get my sandwich, and 20 minutes to eat it and pay the check.) After that I talked with my wife on the phone for a while, then talked with my bandmate John about new domain names for the band. Www.steelriverthree.com lapsed because I didn’t have the money to renew it at the time, and a company called New Ventures Services Corp. (which is, I think, a subsidiary of Network Solutions, though there may be evidence to dispute that) snapped it up. When I inquired into purchasing the domain name back, I found out that it would cost a minimum of $100 plus a $19 fee just to make the offer. Even more ridiculous is the estimate that Network Solutions suggested I make for the domain name. Based on the fact that it’s a .com domain, and on the domain’s traffic history, the suggested offer was $8,800 to $11,300! Um, no. If New Ventures Services Corp. is truly an underling of Network Solutions, it seems that there is a conflict of interest here, and frankly, I think it should be investigated and regulated. But that’s because I’m a registered Democrat, of course.

At any rate, John and I settled on a new domain name, which I will publish here as soon as I get it activated. We will also have a MySpace presence for the first time, and some of our songs will be available for streaming on the MySpace page. Maybe that will generate some gigs for us.

As I look out the window at the bright blue skies above Frisco, shielding my eyes from the glare of the snow, I realize that things are good. If I’m bitching about Network Solutions fleecing me, things must not be too bad. And there are definitely worse places to be stuck on a Saturday morning.

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Tune

Tune
(For Phil Sudo)

Earthly tones, with pitch
Ascending, stairsteps to
Divinity.  Silver strings,
Gossamer wings, carry us
Beyond this world to ride
Ethereal melodies.

Expectations fall away,
Allowing soul to soar
Drifting upward in a
Gyre, each cycle higher than
Before.  Tune up!  And
Elevate your consciousness.

— Stace Johnson, 2006

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