Thursday, December 29, 2011

Something a little bit lighter

I'm taking a break between planning. I've got the big stuff done, now it's onto boring stuff like the grocery shopping list. Boring, but necessary. So something that made me *giggle!SNORT*

The Bloggess has started watching Doctor Who

Okay, back to getting stuff done.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goals for 2012

Lessons learned from 2011’s Goals: I need to find my doable point before I can stretch beyond that. While I like the yearly plan and will keep it, I’m going to break it down to what I can accomplish in a month. Carrying the metaphor of Big Rocks, the monthly goals are my Boulders, things to finish in a week are the Big Rocks, and daily chores become the Pebbles. I’m also crossing fingers and hoping that the monthly focus will change some things into daily habits.

The big topics this year: Monetary concerns, taking health seriously, spirituality practice, incorporating writing into my life more fully, and getting non-anxious over submissions.

Monetary Concerns
  • Specific: Follow the budget set up by the CC Fairy.
  • Measurable: Update Quicken every day.
  • Action-oriented: Do the exercise assigned by the CC Fairy. Due on January 20th: a spending diary and reports on my spending habits.
  • Realistic: Prioritize spending:
    1. Food
    2. Gasoline
    3. Utilities
    4. Mortgage
    5. Chase Student Loan
    6. Family Loans
    7. All other loans
  • Trackable: Update NetWorthIQ badge every month.
    • Update the zero-balance budget spreadsheet each month.
Take health seriously
  • Specific: Follow Primal guidelines on food and exercise
  • Measurable: Weigh every morning
    • Take body measurements once-a-week
  • Action-oriented: Exercise every day.
  • Realistic: Lose 4 pounds by next check-up with Dr. Miller
  • Trackable: Keep a food diary and measurements at
    • Fill out the workout log book every day I exercise and show progress at Joe's Goals
Spirituality Practice
  • Specific: Carve out sacred space in my house where I can store the tools and conduct rituals.
  • Measurable: Read 365 Goddess.
  • Action-oriented: Create a new Book of Shadows
  • Realistic: Celebrate the Sabbats.
  • Trackable: Journal exercises and Sabbat rituals in the Book of Shadows.
Fiction Writing
  • Specific: Finish Stellar Gift of Death
    • Edit “Words of Parting”
    • Edit “Blue Man on the Porch”
    • World building for the steampunk mystery
    • World building for Piper of Shadows universe
    • World building for Zy’s universe
    • Edit Forget the Sun for Mez’s 2012 project.
    • Write 2000 words a week and pick out a new project once Stellar is finished.
  • Measurable: Post the weekly total at DUF using the Writertopia progress bar.
  • Action-oriented: Dedicate at least 30 minutes on a writing project every day.
  • Realistic: Write what I feel like I can’t not write.
  • Trackable: Each story has a marathon tracker of its own, and metrics are posted every day at DUF.
Submitting more stories
  • Specific: Submit to three markets.
  • Measurable: Enter submissions into Sonar 3
  • Action-oriented: Look for 12 markets.
  • Realistic: Look for email markets.
  • Trackable: Note how anxious I am about the submission in Sonar3.
So now to break down to what Boulders I want to do in January.

January Boulders
  • Due on January 20th: a spending diary and reports on my spending habits.
  • Start reading 365 Goddess
  • Research for Imbolc celebrations on Feb. 2
  • Self-assessment for exercising.
  • Take measurements on Jan. 1st
  • Finish Stellar Gift of Death
Changes to make on my Pebbles list:
  • Write 15 minutes x 2
  • Exercise every day and track what is done
  • Update Quicken every day
Read Free!
The BookWorm

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Results For My Lofty 2011 Goals

How do I think I did with all the SMART goals I outlined for this year? Truthfully, I don’t see any progress on all the fronts I tried to attack. Some I ignored completely, which carried over to how I ignored writing this post over the holiday break. My willpower petered out for doing anything on my list and I ended up watching BBC series of Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries made in the 70’s (and 90% accurate to the books).

Let’s see what I managed to accomplish.

Show progress on paying off debt load
  • Specific: Follow budget every month. I tried, but picking myself up when I fell off the rails proved to be a barrier. I’m too close, I want to take care of the here and now annoyance, and usually go off the rails due to frustration. 2012 tweak: The next exercise the Credit Counselor and I will do is to set up a budget I can live on and make headway with. I’m hoping it’ll trigger I’m-getting-graded-for-this behavior in me.
  • Measurable: Update Quicken every day. Now this I think I have finally beat. As long as I don’t go over 15 minutes a day, I haven’t shoved it aside as the dreaded chore and let it build up until I have no idea what’s going on. 2012 tweak: Maintain this progress.
  • Action-oriented: Find a part-time job to increase income. We all know how well that went. First, I helped Mom with housework for my grandfather until the S.O.B. did something that Dad put his foot down about and got us fired. I was surprised by how long it lasted. Second, the sales job with no demos that I quit in November. At least I did get my parents a vacation out of that. 2012 tweak: As mentioned above, I’m seeing a credit counselor to find a new plan for tackling my debt and budgeting issues. I’m going to be referring to her a lot so she is now dubbed the CC Fairy. I also put in an application but I don’t expect anything to come of it.
    • Bring all bills current by Jan. 28, 2011. I got them current and now they’re not current. It’s a merry-go-round chase. 2012 tweak: Girls Just Want To Have Funds: Four Reasons to Stop Scrambling To Feed Your Creditors Before You Feed Yourself: I have to remind myself of this every time they call to harass me. I Come first. Granted, one of the steps with the CC Fairy is to restructure my debt to what I can afford, but I’m a few months away from that step.
    • Put the budgeted amount into savings out of the first check every month. If there is overdrawn issues to pay for, it comes out of what should be saved. I never got to the point where I could budget savings. 2012 tweak: Find some money for savings and keep it there.
  • Realistic: Pay off what I owe Mom, Dad, and Republic Finance using the debt snowball method by Dec. 31, 2011. *Hysterical laughter* Okay, that’s not really fair. It was doable with more income and more income never materialized. 2012 tweak: I’m working towards taking out a loan with my credit union to pay everyone off with a note I can afford to pay. The CC Fairy is one of the steps I have to work on to make this happen, and one I’m rather gung-ho about because I can’t see the forest for the trees at this point. So far we’ve discussed hypothetically refinancing my mortgage to do this, but if I take that route, I’m getting enough money for a temporary roof too.
  • Trackable/Time-based: Update my NetWorthIQ badge and show the progress. Or lack there of. I haven’t updated it since June. 2012 tweak: Update it only a monthly basis.
    • Save $1000 emergency fund by March 25, 2011. *Blink* I don’t even know how the math said that was doable. I did set up an ING Direct savings account and have $12.50 out of each paycheck going into it. However I had to raid it twice to try to reach my monthly expenditures. So I’m $944.50 short of the goal as of today. 2012 tweak: Budget in savings. My credit union is also running a savings challenge that I’m looking into. The Balanced Money Formula recommends 20% Savings (which includes retirement accounts, emergency savings, and debt repayment). I would be happy to set aside 10% each paycheck, but I can’t afford it yet.
Take health seriously This is the category that fell into the black hole of can’t-concentrate-on-this-with-bill-stress. Once I have a grocery budget, I’ll be concentrating on this in 2012.
  • Specific: Follow Primal guidelines on food and exercise
  • Measurable: Weigh every morning
    • Take body measurements once-a-week
  • Action-oriented: Exercise every day. Use outside play with Atticus
  • Realistic: Lose 4 pounds by next check-up with Dr. Miller
  • Trackable/Time-based: Keep a food diary and measurements at
    • Fill out the workout log book every day I exercise and show progress at Joe's Goals
Write 182,500 fictional words between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011
  • Specific: Write at least 500 words every day. I didn’t write every day and it stresses me out to see me not working by quantitative standards. 2012 tweak: Count by projects, not daily word count (unless I’m in a challenge that requires it).
  • Measurable: Post the weekly total every Saturday at DUF using the Writertopia progress bar. This year I’ve been fairly good with keeping this updated. 2012 tweak: Continue with this progress.
    • Keep track of daily progress with a marathon spreadsheet. This year I’ve been good at keeping this updated too. 2012 tweak: Maintain this progress.
  • Action-oriented: Finish Stellar Gift of Death by March 20, 2011. I’m still writing this story. 2012 tweak: Finish it already!
    • Finish a 5000-word short story for Triangulation submission by March 31, 2011. “Words of Parting” I actually finished and submitted. 2012 tweak: Use the helpful feedback and revise it!
    • Finish steampunk mystery Never started.
    • Finish another story in the Piper of Shadows universeNever started.
    • Finish the "Blue Man on the Porch" Never started. 2012 tweak: All of these projects should be listed under “Specific” and “Action-oriented” should be write every day.
  • Realistic: Finish four original stories before any fanfiction. *Snort* I so didn’t follow this 2012 tweak: Write what I want to write. Yes, it would be nice to have a stack of stories to throw at the markets, but if I don’t have the how-will-this-turn-out itch, I drag my feet.
  • Trackable/Time-based: Each story has a marathon tracker of its own, and metrics are posted daily at DUF. This has worked out really well. I have remembered to do this, even if I’ve been a few days late on the postings. 2012 tweak: Continue with this progress.
Submit enough stories to get rid of the anxiety over it
  • Specific: Submit to six markets by Dec. 31, 2011. I submitted to two markets before I got bogged down with Stellar Gift of Death. 2012 tweak: Submit to three markets, which means I have to get three stories ready for submission.
  • Measurable: Find a tracking method that I can update without fuss. Sonar3 is fitting my needs at the present. 2012 tweak: Get some data to put in it.
  • Action-oriented: Look for 12 markets. *Snort* Stellar Gift of Death has been quite the distraction from this. 2012 tweak: Do it.
  • Realistic: Send out at least one story in February, April, June, August, October, and December. So this wan’t realistic for me at all. 2012 tweak: Base the submission deadlines off the markets I fine.
    • Have conversations with the Fear Monger; it helps. Ole Fear Monger has been distracted from my writing by the debt crisis.
  • Trackable/Time-based: Honestly note the anxiety over each submission on tracking method. Sonar3 lets me keep whatever notes I want on each submission. 2012 tweak: This is a valuable tool, so use it!
Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some Weeks Should Have Warning Labels

Computer, commute, tire--hey, I'm off the C's! Well it deals with the car so maybe I haven't left the C's at all. let's add crying to the list. I spent a good chunk of yesterday's free time in a depressed funk because of what I have to pay out of the next check. Then I spent this morning working on a debt consolidation list on loan paperwork--namely confirming that the totals nearly equal to one of my take-home paychecks each month.

I didn't want to take out another loan to consolidate, namely because I can be the poster girl for "you can't borrow your way out of debt." And there's no guarantee my credit union will give me one, but if they can get the three biggest albatrosses off my neck for a lower amount that can come out of each paycheck, I may get some breathing room. Breathing room especially important since a second job is not happening.

So I did that math and left for the paying job. After commute hell yesterday, the drive in was smooth and I was ahead of schedule, up to the Capitol building. That's where my tire blew. I managed to get into a parking lot near my building. Roadside assistance changed it to the donut so I didn't lose any time, but buying a new tire was not in the budget!

At this point, I am beyond ready for this week to end. And I think my car got jealous that I wasn't planning to spend any money on it beyond gasoline. Right now, it's been half the day and nothing has blown up, maybe I can work on Stellar Gift of Death.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What now?

Yesterday was computer, today was the commute. Interstate 12 Open Following Early Morning Wreck. Luckily, I left home late, otherwise I would have been under one of those pipes. But I got caught in the snarl to find an alternative route into Baton Rouge. There's only thee ways to cross the Amite River and also the huge reason why we need the loop project that idiots keep killing, and I was stuck on the north of I-12 side. When I finally reached Magnolia Beach Road and it wasn't moving either, I called in that I was going home.

I had plans of catching up on chores, figuring out my budget for the next paycheck, and writing. Writing didn't happen. Mom co-opted me for a couple of hours, and budgeting the paycheck put me in a funk that was not conductive to fighting with the manuscript. I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Monday, December 12, 2011

You Better Believe It's Monday

After months of being used to my paying job's computer being frozen and wiped a certain way, someone decided to "fix" it for me and changed how it wipes. Now all the tabs I had open in Firefox on Friday are gone; Outlook doesn't want to work right because a certain archive file must now be hand deleted; and between programs freezing up on me, trying to find that damn file, and etc. I'm still fucking 30 minutes late getting anything started!

Before I was thirty minutes late waiting for the computer to finish dealing with the other wiping program and saving changes. Aggravating, sure, but at least once it was done, it worked.

IT keeps going through contractors like Kleenex, which doesn't help. I got the new kid, explained what I knew had been done to my machine and what I thought was going wonky now. He did some remote fixes and they didn't stick. We tried it again, and I decided to test it the next time I shut down over the weekend since it took him over an hour to get through it the first time.

Needless to say, most of what little I got done on fiction was rough draft stuff.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I'm Crashing Hard Tonight

No more shows running until 10pm so I'll probably crawl into bed at 7 tonight to catch up on the sleep I have missed. Though I can't regret seeing the Christmas episodes of Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Haven.

Other good news, Haven IS getting a season 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The season 2 cliffhanger was downright EVIL, and I really didn't want to stalk the makers for a resolution.

In other geeky news, my confession made it to the Once Upon a Time Confessions Tumblr. If you're not watching it, I can explain my reasoning. But tomorrow after I'm not so droopy.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Monday, December 05, 2011

So I'm Officially Second Job-less

So the Public Awareness gig didn't come through and I turned in the demo kit for HDP because I wasn't getting any demos. What's going to happen to my cut to the bone already budget? For starters, I'm ignoring all creditors I can't afford right now. No more letting them guilt me into payments that I can't afford when they want it. All money I can spare will go into the emergency fund because I'm tired of the car breaking down and there's no money to fix it. And family debts move to the front of the line, mostly because I feel the worst about it and if Mom takes up bill collector tactics, I'm screwed.

2012 will either be the year I make writing pay for me and can apply those funds to my personal debt crisis or the Mayan Apocalypse happens and I won't have to worry about it any more. I'm working on the first part.

Onwards happier subject matter, I watched the first half of the Neverland miniseries last night. What I liked:
  • Bob Hopskins as Smee: if Disney ever has to rerecord the audio to the animated Peter Pan, Bob Hopskins must play Smee instead of the guy who played the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
  • Captain Bonnie!: "There is no us!" I will be buying the DVD so I can have a reference for her wardrobe. But her character is filled with such SMART piratey goodness, I'll be clapping to bring her back to life. Screw Tinkerbell. She had me at the astronomy lesson.
  • Robert Halmi Sr. strikes again: Virgina got wet in The 10th Kingdom, DG got wet in Tin Man, Alice got wet in Alice, and now Peter got wet in Neverland. He's the producer in common on all four, so I'm considering it a scripted Easter Egg.
  • Minority casting department: Indians played by Native Americans and given something to do besides be colorful background of exotic Neverland.
What I'm iffy about:
  • the Alchemist figured out holograms: well, I don't think it's a factor in part two and it looked cool, so I'll let it slide
  • Tinkerbell glows brighter than the other fairies: somebody forgot to tell the CGI department because she looks the same as the rest
  • Hook is actually Peter's father: *YAWN* I'm so bored by this trope that the antagonist turns out to be the protagonist's missing parental unit. Why can't Hook be Peter's maternal uncle instead? Or another suitor of Peter's mother who took non-related Peter in for her sake? Do I care enough about the rest to fix this issue with fanfic?
  • Peter the Responsible: For ending up as the poster boy for irresponsibility and lousy memory, this Peter is choke full of responsibility for his crew who will be the Lost Boys, for the Indians, for the orb, for Jimmy. Maybe's there's a moral lesson here? Too much responsibility at too young an age will make you crack so you never want to grow up?
If Bonnie wasn't in it, I don't think I would be buying it on DVD or putting it on my to buy list until I have funds.

Added after Part Two: Okay, the second half completely redeemed all the stuff I was iffy about. :D

Read Free!
The BookWorm