Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Projects in Progress - An Update

This week on the podcast, Christen asked us about our current projects, and we got into a lengthy discussion about what we’ve been working on, unfinished projects, and projects that we finally gave up on. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some updates on several of the projects and topics we’ve covered since we began this podcast and blog last November. 

December Daily: I just posted an update on this project in August, but in case you missed it, yes, I am still obsessed, and yes, I did get up early on August 31 to order my kits. I got almost everything I wanted, but I was very disappointed that a set of stencils was already sold out by the time I added it to my box and checked out. Now it’s just a waiting game for November to arrive so I can start the classes that go along with all the fun supplies I bought, and I’ll probably also begin making a few foundation pages so I can just print photos and add some quick journaling once December finally comes. Until then, I can start sketching out a few ideas and I can get this craft room cleaned up so I have someplace to work! But that’s another project altogether….

One Little Word:
  I’m still working on my OLW project. September’s prompt feels particularly difficult to me because it is a photo prompt, and I am having a hard time concentrating on how best to capture the prompt phrases with photography in a meaningful way. I don’t have time to get out the camera during the day when the lighting is right, and everything I’ve tried to capture so far has not done the job. I think part of the problem is that I just haven’t had the time to sit with my feelings and my camera, and so the photos I’ve taken have not been anything more than superficial and bland. In the meantime, I just keep taking pictures and hoping that when I come back to them at the end of the month, I will have captured the essence of the prompts and will be happy with them. I usually am, but it’s just so hard.

PowerSheets and Happy Planners:  December Daily isn’t the only project with product launches in the fall.  In the past few weeks, I’ve also scoped out the new planner I will be using for 2023 – this gorgeous disc-bound beauty from Happy Planner. I love that it is minimalistic with neutral colors so I can personalize it to my own tastes. I also love the hard cover, which makes it much more sturdy and portable than the traditional Happy Planners. 

The 2023 PowerSheets won’t launch until October 12, but coming up on October 1 is the quarterly refresh. I’ve been thinking a lot about what goals I will revise, drop, and adopt for this last quarter of 2022. I started the last quarter with most of the same goals I have been chasing since the start of the year and I was all geared up to blast through them with a surge of productivity and motivation, but before July was over, I received some news that had me changing my perspective. Suddenly, many of those goals were on hold or were not important at all, and other priorities took their place. Now, I’m taking a hard look at where I spend my time and what is really important to me, and I’m thinking a reboot might be in order.

Christmas Cards:
  I have a confession…I did not send Christmas cards last year. Yes, we did an episode about cards, and I talked about how I send dozens of them every year, but when push came to shove, I just didn’t get mine done in time. Blame it on the time-consuming project of moving my mother out to a memory-care facility, moving our dear friend, Koy, in, tending to Koy’s medical and social needs, our bout with COVID in November, or even the remodeling project that that started in November and didn’t end until January, I just did not finish my cards. So here they still sit, waiting for me to finish them and send them out this year.  What I did do last year was to write a nice letter (with an apology for the lack of cards) and call it done. I also spent some time this summer reassessing the design of the cards to lessen the assembly time, and I picked up where I left off. This was a good thing, because I made a critical mistake when I cut one of the pieces, and I had to cut about 150 pieces over again. Needless to say, I am still working on the cards, bit by bit, and hope to have them finished in November.

Mindful Messages Journal:  I think I mentioned this on the podcast, but I’m not sure. Last year for Christmas, Amber gave me a deck of “Mindful Messages” oracle cards. This lovely deck features suggestive reminders to stay positive, grounded, and grateful while encouraging independence, authenticity, and individuality. I started the year by adding them to my daily card draw along with my tarot and oracle cards, and I quickly decided I wanted to use them as a jumping-off point for a little creative journaling each day. An A5 dot-grid journal made a perfect canvas for a little stamping, and I’ve tasked myself with journaling a positive and meaningful affirmation every day, illustrated by a stamped or hand-drawn image. The artwork is doubly useful: it helps cement the affirmation in my memory and mindset, and it is forcing me to use the thousands of stamps I’ve collected over the years, some of which have never been opened. When I can’t find a relevant stamp, I either piece an image together using multiple stamps, or I sketch an appropriate icon or symbol. It’s been a fun and creative challenge for me, and I often flip back through previous pages, further embedding the positive messages in my psyche. It truly is a win-win!

Cleaning and Organizing:  Yeah…no. The plan in January was to get my house back in order after all the renovations and the revolving door of housemates, but everything seems to have taken so much longer than I thought it would.  I finally got my curtains hung and my living and dining rooms pieced back together just in time for our recent Labor Day BBQ, but I still have a stack of artwork and photos that need to be hung in the spare bedroom, and my garage is still stacked waist-high with boxes. I ask for help, and I get crickets. On top of this, my craft room/office/studio is still overrun by boxes of my mother’s mementos that need to be sorted, cleaned, and…well, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all of it. This “organization” project (or projects) is going to have to stay on hold until I finish my most pressing project – my taxes. More on that later….

Weight Loss:  Okay, so here’s one project that has been going pretty well. I’ve talked about my struggles with weight loss, diabetes, arthritis, and my busy schedule. I may have even mentioned my extreme dislike for exercise or anything that causes sweat, but did I tell you about my love-hate relationship with medication? On the one hand, there are some pretty fantastic medications that help me with my blood sugar, but on the other, they are very, very expensive. Many medications cause a plethora of side effects that are miserable enough to make The Hulk cry. One such drug had the horrible side effect of causing severe edema in my legs and feet, and the drug itself was so ineffective (but cheap!) that it didn’t even really work. I wound up gaining 35 pounds that immediately started to drop off again once I changed medications, albeit very slowly.  I’m still 12 pounds over where I was this time last year, but it is coming off. Still, it’s very frustrating to see your hard work go to naught, and to have the medicine that is supposed to make you better actually make you worse. All in all, I am very fortunate to have settled on a drug cocktail that is working well, with (mostly) tolerable side effects, and although I am going to have to get more diligent if I’m going to meet my year-end weight loss goal, I could still do it.

Unfinished Craft Projects:  This topic ties into so many episode topics that we’ve already covered…self-care, balancing home and work, motivation…the list could go on and on. I have a craft room full of unfinished projects, many of which I still want to tackle if I could only do a better job of managing my time. I keep telling myself, “If I could just finish…” then I would have time for…but I’m not sure that’s even true. Things, tasks, responsibilities, people, and problems always seem to have a way of appearing at the most inopportune time – it never ends. And while everyone agrees that self-care is important, it does not pay the bills, wash the laundry, or write that business proposal, so most of the time, that self-care or downtime (or whatever you want to call it) has to wait. I did manage to sneak in some mindless diamond painting while I edited podcasts, finishing a piece I started at Christmas last year, and I have almost finished binding a table runner I started about 18 months ago. I’ve also been trying very hard to catch up on (or at least not get further behind with) my weekly Project Life photo album. I’m going to have to start working a little faster if I’m going to get caught up by the end of the year.

Travel Business:  After a nearly two-year hiatus due to COVID, my cruise business is finally picking up again. Last month, I signed on with the GreenMan Studios in Southlake to organize a holistic cruise, and I’m working with a couple of scholastic groups for scholarship fundraiser cruises. Families are starting to want to travel more, too, so I’m staying pretty busy. I’m not complaining because this is the kind of work I love to do, and I’ve been missing it. Still, it’s hard to get back into the swing of things, and with so many other projects demanding my time, I’m worried about what might have to take a backseat. You can bet it won’t be something I want to pass off to someone else or just drop altogether. It will likely be one of those fun creative projects I’ve been looking forward to finishing up. Oh well….

Bookkeeping and Taxes:  I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate this right now. Do you get that I hate it? Normally, this would not be a big deal, but when my mother moved in with us in January 2020, I was just getting ready to sit down and dig into my 2019 taxes. I kept trying to work on them, but she was such a distraction, and then COVID happened. Not only was I incapable of working on the 2019 taxes, but the 2020 weekly bookkeeping fell woefully behind, and I didn’t get 2019 finished until my extension expired in the fall. Then I started in on the 2020 bookkeeping but still had the same problems…there were too many people in my house, too much noise, too many distractions, and I just got further and further behind. I finished the 2020 bookkeeping just in time to file my taxes in October (thank GOD for extensions!), and then I started on 2021. That’s where I am now. I don’t have all the same people in the house, but the distractions are still there…cleaning up and restoring order after the renovations, medical appointments, more medical appointments, friends, family, and now it looks like I might need to move Mom again in the next few months. I’m currently adding the July receipts into my accounting software, and I think I have about two weeks to get it all wrapped up so the accountant can get it sent off to the IRS in time. It takes a full 12-hour day of work with no distractions to do one month’s worth of bookkeeping. I have no idea how I will get it done.

So that’s the basics of all the projects I’m working on right now. There are probably a ton of little things I forgot, but I think you can see the bigger picture…I’ve got my hands in a lot of different pies. Some are golden and delicious, and some are pure mud, but I guess that’s the essence of life anyway, isn’t it? We have a lot of stuff we must do in order to afford the stuff we want to do, or maybe just so we can appreciate the stuff we really enjoy. In the end, it’s all just stuff and it is what we make of it.

Are you as busy as I am? Do you have a lot of projects in progress? Are there projects you hate but you still have to do them? Tell us about it in the comments, or start a conversation on the MMC Chat Facebook group.


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