Category Archives: Goals

Goals for 2016

The other day, I talked about what I’m doing to put us in a financial position conducive to moving to Tucumcari in a few years.

Money isn’t the only thing we’ll need for a cross-country move, of course. I’ve organized two of them, and it’s a stressful proposition. Most of the stress comes from uncertainty: How long will it take us to find jobs? How long will it take to sell our old house? Will all our stuff fit in the U-Haul? Where will we buy necessities in our new town? There are a lot of moving parts, and the more I can take care of in advance, the better.

To that end, I have a list of projects I want to complete between now and 2021. It’s a pretty long list, so I’m breaking it down into six shorter lists, each of which can be completed within a year. They aren’t exactly New Year’s resolutions, but here are my goals for 2016:

1. Shop only at stores with locations (or equivalents) in Tucumcari. Tucumcari is considerably smaller than Cape Girardeau, with considerably fewer shopping options. If that’s going to be a problem, I’d like to know before I move so I can plan workarounds.

2. Repair all the cracked drywall joints in this house. The previous owners made several “improvements” that were anything but. The drywall is the worst of the lot.

3. Replace the kitchen floor. The shoddy tile job is another of those “improvements.”

4. Steam the carpets. I have a feeling “replace the carpets” will be on the list for 2017, but a good cleaning should buy me some time.

5. Replace the water heater. It’s 26 years old and showing its age.

6. Dump AT&T. Our contract is up in April. Changing to Cricket will save us about $1,500 a year.

7. Apply for a New Mexico teaching certificate. The amount of bureaucracy involved could be massive, so I need to get a head start on it.

8. Learn Spanish. This will increase my odds of landing a teaching job, and it also will come in handy in a newsroom.

9. Scan all my old 35mm photos and ditch the prints that are taking up closet space.

10. Run a marathon. This doesn’t directly affect my Tucumcari plans, but regular exercise seems to help normalize my sleep patterns, and a marathon training program is a highly structured way to get plenty of exercise. A normalized sleep schedule would free up some morning hours, which I could use to advance my other goals.

11. Go vegetarian. This should free up another $500 a year or so (grains and legumes are way cheaper than meat) and fuel my marathon training nicely.

We’ll see how this goes. What are your goals this year?


Back to basics (and feeling awesome)

We closed on the House of the Lifted Lorax on Monday (congratulations to new owner Josh, who is way amped about the solar panels and the woodstove, and whose young niece is way amped about the Lorax mural on the side of the garage), which means we have just enough money in the bank to pay off our moving expenses and put a privacy fence around the backyard.

You can’t fully appreciate the value of a good fence until you’ve spent six months putting out a pair of hyperactive dogs on short cables umpteen times a day. Yeesh.

In addition to affording us the convenience of opening the back door and letting Song and Riggy take themselves out, this fence will free us up to establish a new beehive, adopt some chooks, install a pond, start a compost pile, and — if I’m feeling really ambitious — maybe set up a small warren of rabbits without interference from curious neighbors of either the two- or four-footed variety.

I put in an experimental, totally halfassed garden this spring and learned enough about my new yard to feel pretty confident taking my usual “Darwin Garden” approach: Coddle the tomatoes and leave everything else to natural selection. So far, I’ve determined that California poppies won’t do a damn thing; cucumbers, strawberries, arugula and most herbs will thrive with absolutely no attention; green beans should do well with minimal attention; and tomatoes should perform fairly well if we choose a variety that’s tolerant of partial shade and try to protect it from the local wildlife.

After meeting the new owner of the old house Monday and giving him some pointers on living the eco-hippie life to its fullest, I’m in full-on DIY mode, so this afternoon, I mixed up a batch of homemade laundry detergent and am currently trolling for dishwasher detergent recipes, since I’ve got plenty of washing soda and borax left over.

Also on the to-do list for this afternoon: Get a new set of shelves for the basement, join a gym, stock up on soup and chili ingredients, find the source of the smell coming from the kitchen drain, and work on the coupon books I’m making the kids for Christmas.

Life is good.



This was the daily thought yesterday from

“Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy.”
— Mary Baker Eddy

I needed that.

Mrs. Eddy advises us not to “stand aghast at nothingness,” but I’ve gotten a bit overwhelmed lately. It feels like I’ve gotten a lot done all summer, but really, I’m not sure I have.

Have you seen Wall-E? (NOTE: Sound starts automatically when site loads.) Remember the giant towers of compacted trash that cover the Earth’s surface in the beginning of the movie? My life looks a lot like that right now … just piles upon piles of physical and mental debris that needs to be cleared away so I can breathe.

The garden is so overgrown, I’m lucky the neighbors aren’t complaining. The kitchen, which is being taken over by small black ants, is an absolute disaster. I don’t remember the last time I cleaned the living room, which is cluttered up with boxes and catalogs and beehive parts and dog toys. I cleaned my desk, only to cover it up with CDs and gadgets and boxes and papers and clutter again. I still haven’t finished reading the book Zaphod loaned me in April. I still haven’t finished reading Prose Works. There’s a questionable smell coming from Juliet’s cage, the headboard of my bed is covered in clutter and a thick layer of dust, I don’t remember what the floor next to my side of the bed looks like, cucumbers are piling up on the counters and in the refrigerator because I haven’t gotten around to putting up pickles, the pond filter is so clogged that I had to unplug the pump lest it drag down and burn up, the potting table is absolutely full of junk that belongs in the garage, I can’t put anything else in the garage because the garage is packed full of stuff I haven’t used in years, and I still haven’t decided whether I want to train for the Route 66 Marathon, which may be a moot point because I haven’t run a step since November. 

Underpinning the whole problem, of course, is the fact that I don’t remember the last time I sat down and studied the Lesson like I meant to learn something from it. I’ve read it (except, y’know, on the weeks when I got sidetracked and forgot), but I haven’t really studied it in months.

As I think about it, Wall-E is actually a really good metaphor for my life at the moment. In the movie, when our little robot hero finishes a hard day’s work, his batteries are pretty drained, and he has to stand in the sunlight, recharge, and reboot before he’s ready to start a new day. If he doesn’t do that, he reaches a point where he simply can’t go any more.

For the better end of five months, I’ve been going at warp speed, handling one flavor-of-the-minute crisis and tackling one project after another and draining my batteries in the process. But I haven’t taken the time to stop every day, turn toward the light, and reboot. I keep thinking that if I can just shake free to spend a weekend curled up in a motel room in New Mexico with my books and my thoughts, I’ll be fine. But that really doesn’t make any sense. Thanksgiving dinner is terrific, but it’s not a substitute for daily meals.


In a little over a week, I am beginning a new adventure full of new challenges and exciting projects. I need to be at the top of my game. And I can’t do that if I’m dragging along in the dark with my batteries run down and my life buried under mountains of detritus. Starting now, I’m going to get back in the habit of studying the Lesson for a few minutes before I dive into my chores and projects and hassles.

I expect it won’t take long to reboot and get my thought going in the right direction again. Stay tuned….


Adventures in Podcasting

Here’s another one I can cross off the 101 Things list:

72. Experiment with Podcasting.

I created a Podcast about our latest adventures in beekeeping. For some reason, the “play” link doesn’t seem to want to do anything (possibly because of high Web traffic?) but the download link works just fine.

If you have trouble getting the Podcast, I also uploaded the movie to YouTube:

Not bad for a girl who still listens to Neil Diamond on vinyl, eh? 😉


Status report

1. I’m a fourth of the way through my big project for work. Since Zaphod isn’t expecting me to have it done for at least another month, I’m in good shape. I expect to have at least a third of it finished by the time he gets back from vacation, which should make him happy. I’d hoped to do the whole thing by Wednesday, but I can’t get all the information I need by then.

2. Ron and I are almost finished updating our share of the Dining and Lodging Guide, which we have been working on for two days. Another day should see us clear on that.

3. We added a second hive body to the newer beehive in the backyard yesterday. The first was completely full and covered with burr comb on the top. This is the most productive year I’ve ever seen for honey.

4. We’re harvesting honey from our oldest hive tomorrow. I’m way excited about this, as we are test-driving the new extractor.

5. I have to start a batch of pickles this afternoon. I was planning to do my canning later in the season, but the cucumber vines had other ideas. Hopefully I can start the pickles now and let them work for a few days while I clear the rest of the really pressing projects off my plate.

6. I need to mow the lawn.

7. I’d rather spend this afternoon playing with my new Diana camera, which came in today. (That’s No. 78 on my 101 Things list….)

Hope you’re having a productive day.


Weekend goals

10 goals for this weekend, just to keep me honest:

1. Clean gerbil cage (tonight)
2. Clean hamster cage (tonight)
3. Work a shift in the Reading Room (tomorrow morning)
4. Work a shift at the Rock (tomorrow afternoon/evening)
5. Empty the box I brought home from the Community World office (tomorrow evening)
6. Read a Journal (tonight)
7. Plant cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (tomorrow morning)
8. Eat something that isn’t junk (tomorrow afternoon)
9. Prepare two packets of Trip Guide ads for publication (Sunday afternoon)
10. Dummy this year’s Trip Guide (Sunday evening)


I got off work a little early this afternoon, and Ron had the day off, so we spent a couple of hours on Route 66, adding another 30 images to my one-shot-per-mile project, which is part of my 101 Things list. If you haven’t yet, scoot over to and take a peek at the project. My most recent post was mile 5, but you can scroll down to see the first four images, or just click below:

Mile 1
Mile 2
Mile 3
Mile 4
Mile 5

I’m posting one image per day on I got a couple of really nice shots this evening before it got too dark to work. We got as far as Chelsea before we ran out of daylight and headed back to Claremore for barbecue at Cotton-Eyed Joe’s.

I seem to be terribly tired this evening — not tired like I’ve been working too hard, but tired like I just want to curl up and go to sleep for about a week. I seem to be in some kind of one day up, two days down cycle: One night, I come home from work and go hell-for-leather all evening, getting projects done right and left and staying up until 3 a.m. (or later), and the next two nights, I come home from work, get one or two little things done, and then crash before midnight. Maybe one of these days I’ll get the hang of doing an appropriate amount of work and getting an appropriate amount of sleep every day like a normal person….


10 on Tuesday

This week’s 10 on Tuesday topic is 10 New Year’s resolutions.

I don’t, as a general rule, think it’s a good idea to make New Year’s resolutions, for the same reason I don’t think it’s a good idea to set a time goal for your first marathon: Imposing a false deadline on personal advancement just gives you an easy excuse to quit when you find you’re off-pace.

That said, I’m in kind of a spiritual goal-setting mode at the moment, and I think some New Year’s resolutions might serve as useful tools to help me accomplish those goals … so with that in mind, I’ll go ahead and list some resolutions. I reserve the right to alter, upgrade, discard, or swap out any of these resolutions if I find they are not as effective as I’d like them to be in advancing the underlying goals.

1. Take five minutes every day to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
2. Find one thing to appreciate about every annoying or difficult person who comes into my experience.
3. Do one small thing to make Ron’s life better or easier every day.
4. Tape a laminated copy of the Daily Prayer to the bathroom mirror to help start mornings off right.
5. Keep a daily record of the number of times I say something that I wouldn’t want my Primary class teacher to hear.
6. Spend more time with the dogs.
7. Finish reading Prose Works.
8. Don’t buy anything or drive anywhere without asking two questions: Is this necessary? Do I have a good reason for buying this/making this drive?
9. Set a time limit for Internet use.
10. Use an unusual camera, film type, or photography technique once a week.