So, it's time for a little assessment.
Read a book a month.
Nope, but I'm really close to finishing book #2 this year and book #3 is waiting.
Read a magazine a week.
Not in April. I'm working on it in May, having finished 3 and am working through 4, so far. May is an odd month with the first starting on a Saturday and the 31st ending on a Monday. That means there are 5 weeks in May, 5 magazines which must be read.
This is the stack I am endeavoring to plow through. There are some long past prime magazines in there, I think Discover from 2008. I quit getting Discover, which is an incredible magazine, because I got behind. I've also, very reluctantly, decided not to renew my Mac/Life magazine. I don't own an iPhone and, increasingly, I feel the magazine is heading towards covering peripherals such as the iPhone and not the home computer. I get Cooking Light which is a wonderful read and which keeps me focused on improving my diet. I get 3 Scottish magazines. Don't look at me like that. It's going to take me a long, long time to get there so these magazines are the closest thing I have to feeling the soil beneath my feet. I also get a magazine, which you can see on the top of the stack, from Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill animal shelter in Utah which I financially support. Even in this very rocky time of my life, I was able to scrabble together a $15 contribution. I believe how we treat animals is indicative of how we treat each other. A friend sends me Angels on Earth magazine which gets read when it shows up. I used to get the venerable Reader's Digest magazine, a Christmas present from another friend. At first, I felt rather silly. I associated RD with heavily conservative and "old" people. But, they added a financial columnist in February of my subscription and darned if I haven't learned a few things about managing my money. Give me a minute here to wipe the egg off my face.
Don't bother pointing out that the number of magazines I take in exceeds my goal of reading one a week. I'm aware of that. It's just that I will probably read more than one a week. Set realistic goals and then exceed them. Eventually, that stack will go down.
Write a friend a real letter once a week.
Fail. I did write a few letters last month, but my correspondent capabilities are sadly lacking. As you notice, I've very good about blogging and I keep a daily post to my Facebook site. Still, the written word means something to me and what better way to celebrate that than with a letter.
Add one more fruit or vegetable to my daily diet.
Moderate success here. I'm proud of this. I have shifted my thinking to incorporate fruits and vegetables. I desperately needed dish detergent so I went to the store yesterday, even though funds are quite limited at the moment. Bananas and frozen blueberries went into the basket. Yes, they are going into muffins but some of the bananas will be eaten as is and sliced into cereal. I was very distressed that my Cheerios were $4.48 for a 13 oz box when I could get the same amount of Life cereal for $2.00. I love Cheerios but I can't spend that much.
Anyway, I've become enamored with a friend's Facebook post about a meatless day once a week. It's no secret that animal emissions and effluvium are problems for the environment. Plus, there is the whole issue of the overuse of antibiotics in the production of meat. My eating lower on the food chain will help. Plus, it's good for me.
The only problem is that fresh fruits and vegetables are not cheap. I must shop when I have money which is at the beginning of the month. Fresh doesn't keep for 2 weeks, even in the crisper. I can't stand frozen spinach but love the fresh kind. If I have apples in the drawer, it's not uncommon for me to eat 2 or 3 apples a day. But that means they don't last long. Hence, toward the end of the month, the fresh fruit and vegetables have given way to frozen peas and corn and carrots. Some day, I hope I can go to the store once a week and buy the fresh fruits and vegetables I'll eat for that week.
Pay off one credit card.
So close. I think, in either June or July, I'll be able to do this.
Pay for everything with cash.
This is a success, although I have had to charge gas and, at the end of April, desperately needed household items, like toilet paper. (No cracks about using my stash of magazines.) It really helps not to have the cash to spend. I have to plan what I'm taking to work for lunches. Sales hold little meaning to me anymore. Other than wishing I had a wee bit of disposable income to buy more stickers for the non-existant letters I write (conscience pokes self), I'm discovering how little I want for things, when my basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are covered.
Not stay up past 11:30 on work nights.
Failure. I find too much to occupy myself and wind up thinking, "Oh I haven't checked this site lately." My eyes have been itchy of late which is a direct result of staying up late. I must be better at this.
Finish a craft project languishing in a drawer.
Technical failure. I haven't considered what to work on. I would like to have the weather warm up so I can go sit on the deck or the front steps or have the windows open consistently. I may not achieve this resolution this year and I'm okay with that. I had huge success cleaning my house before Carole and David arrived. I'm very, very proud of what I accomplished in those weeks leading up to their arrival.
Don't get down on myself.
Success, sort of. I see this as the changing of my attitude. Life is what it is. Some days are bright and sunny. Other days are gloomy with water in the basement. Every day, I am blessed somehow. It can be hard to remember and I have neglected writing in my blessing journal daily, which I need to get back to doing because it helps keep me focused on the positive instead of the negative.
I have a friend whose outlook on life is, I believe, way too gloomy. I know you cannot make someone change unless they are willing to do so. There have been times I have wanted to throw up my hands and walk away from him. It exasperates me so much when you're trying to show them a different way of thinking and they have a negative statement for everything you say. I haven't walked away because, to me, the interaction seems a necessary part of my changing my point of view. I am reminded that I too can fall into this trap of negativity. It is a conscious choice on my part not to go to that place. In so doing, life, while being the pits sometimes, is still a wonder and I can be most happy in the place I am.
So, that's the assessment for this month. I am progressing in my goals, albeit slowly. As Kang says in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII, "We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom."
Beverage: English Breakfast Tea