Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Let's hold that "Master Crocheter" idea...

Oh, you guys.  I had a dream.  I had a dream of being a Crocheting Queen.  I had a dream of picking up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn, and absolute MAGIC would happen.

I have no idea why I thought this was possible.  I have only made one foray into yarn crafting before, and it was when I was a kid and my mom tried to teach me how to knit.  I remember deep frustration, hot tears, and total anger at my fat fingers that just wouldn't work the way they were supposed to.  I knit one little scarf that was barely big enough for my dog, wrapped it around his neck, and approximately 10 minutes later he had chewed it up and left little bits of coloured yarn all over our garage.

That was the beginning and the end of my knitting career. 

And I honestly had no interest in taking anything like that up again until recent weeks, when suddenly I got the urge to learn to crochet.

Not only to learn how to crochet, but to become an expert at crocheting.  Instantly.

The memories of my knitting fiasco still lingered, but surely that was because I was so young.  Just a little 10-year-old girl.  Now, as an adult, it would come more naturally.  I would understand the mechanics of it much better.  I have an artistic flair, and that would somehow translate to crocheting.  I'd pick it up quickly now, and be off!  Crocheting hats and scarves and blankets for family and friends, and building an inventory for my little side business!!

Do you know how sure I was that this was going to come to me right away?  I made a list of names for my little crocheting side business.  That's right, I was brain-storming names for a business that did not even exist yet.

And after last night, I'm fairly certain that little crocheting side business will never exist.

The "Learn How to Crochet" kit arrived in the mail yesterday.  I stopped in at my mom's after work to steal a ball of yarn from one of her bins, and because she was so sure I'd never pick it up from reading an instruction booklet, she gave me a lesson.  And then, all of a sudden, I was 10-years-old again.  Frustrated and angry and... what's that??... are those TEARS in my eyes???

My fingers are still fat.  They still fumble around.  The hook keeps getting snagged.  Mom goes too fast.  I have no idea how to start.  The instruction booklet might as well be written in Russian.  I worked all night on this little wee red square that doesn't even look like a square anymore.  And my wrists and fingers were cramped and sore from the little work I had done.

How on EARTH would I ever manage to make something REAL???

It was a far, far cry from the image of "Hygge" I had dreamed up in my head.  I pictured little ol' me, sitting by soft lamp light in the evening, snug on my couch, with a ball of yarn and a pattern and a cup of hot tea beside me, quietly crocheting away, only having to keep one eye on my work as I watched TV.  Because, you know, I was just going to be that good at it


I think I'm going to take the suggestions of some of my Facebook friends and watch some Youtube videos.  I worked on single crocheting last night and now I want to move on to double crocheting, but I cannot for the life of me understand what the book is telling me to do.  And yes, of course, my mom can show me, and I think she already did show me last night, but I was not catching on at all.

I'm pretty determined that I'm going to learn, though.  I'm not going to let that first try of frustration and failure stop me like I did when I was 10.  I really do want to get the hang of this and hopefully get good at it someday...

But that dream of being amazing at it right off the bat?  Being able to read a pattern and just produce it perfectly as I had hoped?  Not gonna happen.

Looks like I'm just going to have to practice.  Imagine that. 

I'll keep working on my little square that looks more like a triangle.  Maybe someday it will turn into a blanket.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesday Randoms

  • I've been crossing things off the ol' "To Do List" lately.  This past week/weekend, that included cleaning out both my fridge freezer and the big freezer in the basement, defrosting the basement freezer, and cleaning out the front closet (which has literally not been cleaned since the beginning of time).  Exhausting stupid jobs that I"ve been putting off forever, but man, does it feel good to have them done.
  • When I cleaned out the freezers, one of my rules was: "If the date on it is from more than a year ago, it gets tossed".  I had a TON of stuff to chuck. I did this task last Tuesday evening because garbage day was the next day, and with it being winter, I knew the stuff would stay frozen for a more clean removal from my home to the bin, and then into the garbage truck.  So for the frozen containers of soup and chili and pasta that had not been used, I let them defrost just enough that I could pop the frozen pucks of stuff and toss into a garbage bag.  Once I was done, the bag was so heavy I could barely lift it.  But I was determined.  So I dragged it out to the bin that was already out at the curb, and when I went to hoist it into the bin, it split open and chunks of frozen BLECH spilled into the snowbank.  I went back in and grabbed more garbage bags, and went to clean up my mess. It had been rather mild that day, so a lot of melting was going on, and there was a huge puddle in front of my house.  So of course, as I was bent over plucking frozen chunks of gross old food out of the snow, cars were driving by like maniacs and splashing me.  Over and over and over.  I swear, if a hidden camera had been on me, that would have been one for the Funniest Home Videos loop... I was not impressed!
  • It was sad, really.  The waste.  One of my goals going forward is to be more mindful of what I have bought and what I have saved in the freezer, and eat up what I have before buying more.  I mean, 3 old boxes of chicken fingers, 2 old boxes of chicken burgers, and 1 old box of chicken nuggets?  So unnecessary...
  • I'm pleased with what I've accomplished this winter in the "crappy job" department.  Now I have to clean out my cupboards and fridge, and my own closet, and then I'll be done everything on my list.  Feels good.
  • Another of my winter tasks is to finish up some books that I only had half-read that have been lying around on my nightstand.  I had started The Handmaid's Tale in the fall, but had to quit half-way in order to get to our next book club book at the time.  That book was The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared, which took me forever to read, but I really wanted to get it done, and I completed it earlier in the month. That felt like a huge victory.  Then I went back to The Handmaid's Tale, and finished it up fairly quickly.  Now I've moved on to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which I received as a birthday gift several years ago and started but never finished.  I think I must just have not been in the mood for it at the time, because I'm really enjoying it now.  Once it's done, I'll have cleaned all of the half-read books off my nightstand!  Woo hoo!!
  • My last post was my Hygge post, and it has been very much on my mind ever since.  That said, the internet can be creepy sometimes.  I shared in that post that I wanted an electric fireplace, ideally one that is part of an entertainment unit like my sister has.  Then early last week, a Canadian Tire ad popped up on my Facebook for a fireplace entertainment unit that is pretty much identical to the one my sister has. I don't ever recall seeing a Canadian Tire ad pop up on my Facebook before.  Seriously, it kind of spooked me.  Anyways, it was on sale - regular $699.99, marked down to $379.99.  Such a good deal.  BUT , as I have mentioned, it is also supposed to be "The Year of Saving" for me, and having JUST paid off my credit card last week, I didn't like the thoughts of racking it back up again... such a dilemma.  After discussing with my mom, I had almost made up my mind to go and buy it on the weekend, only to discover to the sale had ended last Thursday.  So I guess the Universe decided for me.  I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for deals in the future, once I (hopefully) have more money saved up & more freedom to spend on such things!
  • Something I DID kind of splurge on, also from the Hygge post, that my mother scolded me for, was a "Learn How to Crochet" kit from Amazon.  I know my mom has the tools and the ability to teach me, but we can butt heads (at least we did long ago when she tried to teach me how to knit), so I thought I'd embark on this one on my own.  It's kind of funny, since I ordered the kit, I've been daydreaming about becoming a crocheting pro, and making all kinds of blankets and hats and scarves, being able to start up a little side business and sell my products in an Etsy shop or going to vendor and craft shows...  Haven't made one stitch yet, and I'm ready to become a world famous crocheter! ha!
  • So, when I ordered the crochet kit from Amazon, it recommended some things I should buy to go with it.  One was a package of 8 balls of yard, only an additional $10!  "Sure.  I'll need yarn, I love these colours, and that sounds like a good deal."  The package arrived, and I was like, "Huh.  Something's wrong.  How can there be 8 balls of yarn in here?"  Oh, they were there.  And they fit in the small package because they were itty bitty teeny tiny balls of yarn.  Like, literally, balls of yard the size of my thumb.  Sigh. I guess I'll take my friend Lindsay's suggestion and start crocheting scarves for mice?!?!
  • I know I mention it far too often, but OH how I love having Mondays and Fridays off in the winter!!  Yesterday, I spent the morning in the kitchen making Cheesy Cauliflower Soup (so yum), homemade bagels (turned out amazing), and White Trash cookies (also incredibly yum).  All were new recipes for me and I was so pleased they all turned out so well!
  • I watched Manhunt: Unabomber throughout the week & weekend on Netflix, and I got SO into it.  Such a well done show.  I was just a kid when the Unabomber was caught in the '90's, so I didn't really know the story well.  I found it fascinating, and was surprised at how they were able to actually get me to sympathize with him in the end.  And yesterday, after my friend Lolly recommended it to me many times, I finally started House of Cards.  I was a little reluctant to try it, I wasn't sure if it would be my cup of tea, and with all the Kevin Spacey backlash in the news lately, but... turns out, I'm already hooked.  I watched 7 episodes in one day.  And I can't wait to get home to watch more tonight.  Hooked.
Well, that's all I've got for the random today!!  Happy Tuesday friends!! :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Gettin' Hygge With It

Have you ever heard or seen the word "Hygge"?  Do you know what it means??

I admit, I had never heard of the word until I opened my stocking on Christmas morning and pulled out "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking.  And I also admit that my eyebrows kinda went up in confusion and skepticism.  "Huh?  What the heck is this?"

My mom quickly replied, "Oh, that was a recommendation from Aunt Marion.  She thought you should read it.  She thinks this is right up your alley."

Oh, okay.  Aunt Marion never leads me astray.  I set it aside and thought, I'll take a look at it later.

For several weeks, it lay on my night stand, and every time I glanced its way, I'd think, Oh yes, I have to check out that hygge book and see what it's all about.

Turns out, I was pronouncing it wrong for all that time.  Once I finally did flip that book open, I learned very early on that "hygge" is NOT pronounced like "jiggy", as I have used it in the title of this blog post.  It's actually pronounced "hoo-gah".   Hygge comes from the Danish word for "well-being".  It also encompasses feelings of being cozy and comfortable.  Over the years, hygge has become a defining characteristic of Danish culture.

Did you know it's been scientifically proven that Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world?  Despite having cold, dark winters, and a high average number of rainy days per year, the Danish people are happy.  And a lot of that has to do with hygge.

I haven't gotten far into the book yet, but the more I read each night, the more I'm starting to think I'm kind of already a Master of Hygge.  I'm the Queen of Comfy & Cozy.  There is nothing I love better than curling up in a dark room lit only by candles & Scentsy warmers, snuggled beneath a a big blanket, in my comfiest clothes and fuzziest socks, with a bowl of buttery popcorn and a mug of hot chocolate or Chai tea within reach.  I love hunkering down to watch a movie or work on a puzzle or write in a journal or colour, especially if there's snow (or rain) coming down outside.  Nothing I enjoy more than a wind howling outside while I'm snug as a bug inside, with a pot of soup or chili simmering on the stove, and the smells of bread or cookies baking wafting in the air.  Oooh! Or drawing a nice, hot bubble bath and soaking by candlelight with a good book until the water gets cold!!

I honestly think it's why I enjoy fall and winter more than spring and summer.  In the nicer months, there's more of an expectation to get out and enjoy.  Leave the stuffy confines of your home, get fresh air, soak up the sun, enjoy the breeze!  But as the Queen of Comfy & Cozy, I far more anticipate the dark and the quiet and the stormy days, when it's more acceptable to hibernate and cuddle up.  I think that's why I so look forward to movie nights and snow storms and even rainy days in the summer.  It's not, as my mom once told me, "morbid" - it's my deep love and craving for HYGGE!!!

That said, I have already thought of some ways I'd like to enhance the hygge in my home.  These aren't necessarily things I need to do right away (it is the YEAR OF SAVING, after all), but little wish list items I'd like to pursue in the coming years, all for my hygge benefit:

  • What's more hygge than a fireplace, man?  I've got the candles and Scentsy warmers and soft lamp light covered, but oh, how I'd still love a little fireplace.  Just one of the electrical ones will do just fine.  The problem is, I've never been able to figure out where I'd put one in my living room, considering the space I have to work with.  It's a big room, but because of a huge front window, there's only so many places furniture and the TV can go.  Ideally, I'd like one like my sister has - that is part of an entertainment unit that my TV would sit atop.  
  • I've decided I need an area rug for my living room.  My living room is absolutely the room in my home that I spend the most time in.  It's a big open room, with lots of space and light.  My furniture is, naturally, placed around the perimeter of the room, which leaves a lot of empty space in the middle, a lot of empty light-coloured faux-wood click flooring.  Don't get me wrong, I love having space, it's not a bad thing.  But I think a nice area rug would draw the room in, and make it feel even cozier.
  • Again, my living room space is my main focus, because it's where I spend most of my time at home, and thus, the last piece of the puzzle to making it "completely comfy" would be getting new vertical blinds.  The ones that are there are old, they have some water stains on them, and they don't match the paint colour.  I'd like nice, crisp white blinds to cover the big windows.  I've toyed with the idea of curtains instead, but I think at the end of the day, white vertical blinds are the way to go.
  • Moving into the kitchen, I'd like to install some kind of shelving or racks on the big empty wall over my sink to put my mugs.  I have a mug fetish.  I can't seem to stop buying new ones, even though I have no room for them, and I never seem to be able to part with old ones either.  Mugs are taking over my kitchen.  I think adding shelves or something to hang them on the wall above the sink will add a cozy hygge factor.  It will just call out, "THIS GIRL HAS COFFEE!  AND TEA!!  AND HOT CHOCOLATE!!!"
  • I'm not sure yet of how it would work or where I would put it, but I'd love to have a little "coffee & tea corner" in my kitchen.  I have my Keurig on the counter with an assortment of K-cups beside it, but I've recently re-discovered my love for tea, so now I also have many tea bags and cans of loose tea, kettles, spoons, and tea infusers and sachets lying all over the counter and table in my kitchen.  I'd like to somehow get it all organized, put in the same spot, and make it a cozy wee space.
  • I think organization and tidiness is a key aspect of hygge, because I find it distracting when things are out of order and "stuff" is taking over, and sometimes that's a problem for me.  I'm a bit of a pack-rat, and I can let the "messy" take over sometimes.  It's an especially big problem in my kitchen.  I don't seem to have enough cupboard and counter space for all my "stuff", and so it has basically taken over the little table in my kitchen, and I also have bags and boxes filled with Tupperware and containers and, well... just...STUFF everywhere.  It's totally annoying and I don't know what to do about it.  I'm going to seriously spend some time thinking of what I can do to create more storage space for stuff, perhaps a cupboard re-org and going through and tossing stuff that has been taking up space that I don't use.  I'd love to be able to have that little table empty of clutter, and without junk piled all around it, to enjoy coffee or tea with friends.  
  • There have been a few other areas of my life and home that have been nagging at me that need to be tidied/re-organized/cleaned up.  They include: my fridge and freezer, my front closet, and my own bedroom closet.  All three are winter projects for me, and I think once I have them done, I'll feel more content and cozy in my own home.
  • I'd like to learn a "cozy" craft, like crocheting.  I have lots of teachers around me, but I'm stubborn, easily frustrated, and quickly angered, so anytime I've tried to learn in the past has resulted in me quitting in a fit of tears.  I've recently decided maybe I should get the supplies I need and just try to learn from Youtube videos, as I've heard others have done.  I like the idea of cozying up at night with Netflix and working on a crochet project.  Bonus would be it could keep me awake!  I'm notorious for falling asleep on the couch way too early in the evenings while watching TV.
  • A rock salt lamp.  Probably in my bedroom, on the nightstand.  I think it would add a cozy element to my already-cozy bedroom, and I hear they help make you "feel better".  I don't know how or why - might need to do some research on this - but anything that makes me "feel better" can't be a bad thing, especially if it brings the hygge.
Just listing these ideas as they crossed my mind have spawned other, new ideas... like a reading corner with a little shelf of books near my big blue chair where I read in the living room.  And a music corner with an old selection of CD's in my dining room, where the CD player/radio is, which would bring nostalgia of my youth with all of that old music I loved.  And a writing desk and a painting corner in my craft room...  

Lord, I'm going to have "nooks" and "corners" all over my house at this rate.

Also, one last tidbit:  After I started reading the book and learned what the term meant, I saw someone on Facebook shared a link to "The 10 Most Hygge Recipes Ever".  Translated, it was a bunch of the best comfort foods... ALSO all my faves!!  I swear... I'm so hygge...

So, how do you feel about "hygge"?  Are you a cozy & comfy kind of person?  Does your living space reflect that?  Come on, everyone, get hygge with it!!! :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Some random Tuesday ramblings

Happy Tuesday, friends!!  Here's a little random on this chilly Tuedsay...

  • Anybody else feel like January is literally crawling by?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  These colder, quieter winter months are my absolute favourite, so I don't mind at all!  It just feels like Christmas was a million years ago, and it's only the middle of January.  I guess far too often I complain that time is flying by too quickly, so I'll embrace this January "crawl".
  • I've been soaking up all the things I love to do in this slower time of year.  I have a 1000 piece puzzle on the go, I've been getting in some extra reading (FINALLY finished The One Hundred Year Old Man, well into The Handmaid's Tale now), I made a giant pot of pasta sauce and homemade bread last week, and of course Netflix... LOTS of time spent with Netflix!!
  • Speaking of Netflix... I have a new love.  It feels like it's been a long time since I've had a new love, but it finally happened.  Outlander.  Jamie.  IN. LOVE!!!!!!  Sadly, I blew through the two seasons on Netflix in under two weeks, so Jamie is already gone from my life. (at least, until Season 3 appears).  It's hard to let go of my loves when the episodes run out. *sigh*  Jamie was a good one.
  • So now I'm back into Shameless again.  While I was into Outlander, Season 7 of Shameless landed on Netflix, so at least I had an old favourite to return to once Jamie was done.  Sometimes when I "return" to a show after being away from it, I discover I don't enjoy it as much (this happened to me with Scandal, The Mindy Project, and Suits) - but thankfully, I'm still loving Shameless as much as I did the first time around!  Those crazy Gallaghers...
  • So, remember when I said 2018 was "The Year of Saving"??  Well, so far, so good.  Goal #1 was to have Christmas (my credit card) paid off by the end of January, and barring any disasters, I think that should be achievable.  After that, the goal will be to NOT be tempted to ring up a bunch of new clothing or Amazon purchases, and get a nice cushion built in the ol' bank account.  While I don't have any trips or big expenditures planned for 2018, there are quite a few weddings coming up this summer and all the events that will go with them, so it would be nice to go into that knowing I have some dollars saved up. Here's hoping.
  • Heart palpitation update:  Still happening, but definitely to a lesser degree, more like light flutters several times a day than the big thumps & stutter-steps I was getting back before Christmas.  I guess the medication is working.  I had my appointment at the Heart Institute on Saturday, for an echo-cardiogram, which went smoothly - at least as far as I can tell.  The technician can't say anything, he just has the reports sent on to a cardiologist and my own doctor, but he didn't gasp or cry or rush me into a heart transplant surgery, so I'm gong to take that as a good sign.
  •  You know what I want?  A SNOWSTORM.  Like a big, giant, 40cm dumping.  We haven't had one of those in a long time.  We lost a lot of our snow last week in a January thaw, when it poured rain for 2 days straight and went to 10 degrees. ugh.  Seems like it's either -30 or +10 this winter.  No in between.  How about a nice -5 and 40 cm's of snow?  I want to be snowed in.  I want to have added reason to hibernate.  Come on, Mother Nature.
  • I'm pretty aware that the above paragraph will have a lot of my friends and family screaming at me. Whatever.  I'm Elsa, bitches.
  • Songs I'm loving lately:  Perfect by Ed Sheeran (especially the Beyonce version), River by Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran (have I mentioned lately how much I love Ed Sheeran??), Filthy by JT (took a few listens, but I'm digging it), Lost in the Light by Bahamas (no idea how I stumbled across it, but I love it), and Never Be the Same by Camila Cabello (which is nice, because that Havana oh nana song DRIVES me up the wall).  Also, my strange iTunes purchase of the week is an Elton John hits compilation that was on sale.  I have never been a big Elton fan, but I just felt drawn to it.  And yes, I am loving it, too.
  • I have another quiet weekend coming up (knock on wood) which I'm looking forward to.  I have to take my car for an oil change on Friday, I have to make soup for next week's Soup & Sandwich at some point, and I have a paint day with Shannon booked for Monday, but otherwise, it will be another weekend of puzzling, reading, and Netflixing.  My FAVOURITE!!! :)
What's new and random in YOUR world???

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Setting Intentions, Being Grateful

I woke up with a headache this morning.  And my first reaction was to groan, and say, "Seriously, Universe?  Can you let up for just ONE. FRIGGING. DAY?!?!"

Despite a really wonderful holiday season, I've been bogged down and clouded over with worry and frustration in recent weeks, mainly due to the increasingly annoying heart palpitations that just won't quit, and then getting probably the worst cold I've had in years at the tail end of 2017.  Yesterday, I felt like the cold was on its way out and I was relieved.  So to wake up with a headache this morning was an unwelcome step backwards.  And I was pissed.

I lay in bed feeling sorry for myself for a few minutes, and then I gave my (sore) head a shake.  Seriously, Jillian.  You are getting way too "woe is me" over nothing!!  Get a grip!!

And it's so true.  I've been letting these little health issues (which, as far as I know, aren't very serious) drag me down and ruin my day lately, and I don't want to be that kind of person.  I don't want to wallow in despair over things I have no control over, and really, at the end of the day, aren't a big deal.

On New Year's Eve, I heard the story of a girl who was in a tragic car accident in our Municipality.  The accident happened on Christmas Eve, on one of the back roads, as she made her way from her mother's place in Luskville to visit friends in the city.  She lost control of her vehicle and hit a hydro pole, and when she tried to get out of her car, she was electrocuted by live wires.  She spent hours alone in the cold waiting for someone to find her and get help.  She has since had surgery to remove all four of her limbs.

She survived.  She has a long road ahead of her, yet still... she survived.

I don't know this girl, but she's been on my mind.  When faced with this perilous situation, she fought hard.  She showed incredible strength and courage, and a will to live. 

Sure makes my little problems pale in comparison, doesn't it? 

Yesterday, I read a blog post by one of my favourite bloggers, The Daily Tay, where she listed "18 Things to Focus on in 2018".  I was inspired by her post, and her list of self-improvement techniques, teachings, and mantras.  It was kind of just exactly what I needed to read, to help dig myself out of this little hole I've been burrowing myself into.  I also read some posts on a message board on a health website from people who suffer from heart palpitations who encourage others to not let them become the focus of their day; to try to carry on as you normally would and not let them control you.

It was all good stuff that I needed to read.  Valuable reminders that my life is great, that I am a lucky girl, and that I have the power to create my own happiness.  Start with gratitude.  Set intentions.  Feel joy.  Send good vibrations out into the Universe and you'll get back what you give. Be gracious and mindful.  Stop making excuses.  Believe that the Universe is on your side.

Last night, I went for a walk as snow gently fell, and I took deep breaths and inhaled the fresh, crisp winter air.  Then I went home and spent a few quiet moments with the Daily Devotional book I received as a gift from a friend, quietly reading and reflecting.  I turned off the TV, I sat on my couch, I did my ever-loving best to ignore the stutter-stepping going on in my chest, and I just breathed, and read, and thought.   It's a practice I hope to instill on a daily basis.

There are some things in life we cannot control.  Accidents can happen, illness will hit, and strange things will unexpectedly try to set us off-kilter.  I want to be prepared for them. I want to be strong in mind and soul.  I want to be positive and hopeful and determined.  I want to fight for the life I deserve.

So here's to making 2018 a good year.  The first few days have been less than stellar, but I'm ready to turn this ship around.  Headache be gone.   I'm ready to send some good vibes out into the Universe, and feel grateful for all the good things in my life, of which there are many.

Who's with me?

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Here we go, 2018!!

Happy New Year, pals!!

Wow.  2018!!!  How is it that I'm always a little blind-sided by the New Year?  How is it that each year seems to fly by so quickly, even more quickly than the last?!

The holidays were wonderful.  I'm a little bit heartbroken that they're over already.  It was just such a GOOD week of eating, drinking, exchanging gifts, and spending quality time with family.  I didn't want it to end!  The only bad part was, of course, the heart palps (yes, they're still here, and they're driving me nuts), and I also caught a cold that carried me into the New Year.

I hate to start the fresh slate off all whiny & complainy, but man, I hate not feeling well.  We're working on getting to the bottom of the palpitations and figuring them out, but add the good ol' common cold on top of it, and I get rather dramatic.  Yesterday afternoon/evening, I coughed so hard & so much I thought my head was going to explode.  Aside from that, it's been headaches coming and going, stuffy nose, and just feeling generally drained and tired.  It could be worse, I know, it's not the end of the world.  But I like to start my New Year off with some zip and pizzazz, and this year I just haven't been able to.

But I've tried!  Oh, how I've tried!!  Here's a few of the things - a few of my "Resolutions", if you will - that I've set to try and make myself feel better in 2018.

  • The good ol' standby, the Resolution that never gets old: Lose weight.  I really loathe the fact that I let myself gain all - literally, ALL - of my weight back after doing so well at losing it a few years ago.  I decided my best success comes when I follow a program, and while it would make sense to go back to Beachbody and do TurboFire and Shakeology, I really didn't want to make the time commitment (often at least an hour in exercise, 6x week), or the financial commitment ($150+ each month for the Shakes) that it requires.  Instead, I took advantage of a 50% promo with Weight Watchers and joined their Online club.  I think it's one of the very few popular weight loss programs that I have NOT tried yet, and decided to give it a whirl for 6 months.  I think if I could shed some pounds, I'd be feeling a lot better than I am right now.  I don't need to be a stick, I just want to have some energy and feel healthy again.  If I dropped a few sizes, well...all the better.
  • Of course, I come home after signing up for Weight Watchers and feeling good about that decision, and I'm greeted by all the leftover holiday treats I'd stocked up on... chips & dip, candy, chocolate, cookies, nuts, every which way I turn.  UGH!!  I wish I had the willpower to bag it all up and throw it out, but I don't.  I just love it all too much!!  So I'm giving myself the week to enjoy the last of the treats and then they have to go away.  I'll be "officially" starting my next weight loss journey next Monday.
  • 2018:  The Year of SAVING!!!  It's no secret that I'm really bad at saving money.  As soon as I get my credit card paid off, I wrack it right back up again.  And usually, it's on things I don't really need.  My goal for this year is to be more careful about spending, particularly on clothes ("Is this a WANT or a NEED??") and to start building up a cushion in my savings.  I have been successfully doing the 52-Week Money Challenge for several years now, and I'm going to continue it as well, but it usually is completely gone after Christmas.  I want to make more of an effort to build my bank account up.  I have no trips planned for this year, so that should help (last year, I had Florida and Nova Scotia). I also have no major foreseeable expenses (knock on wood).  It seems to me it's a good year to start putting some coin away... once the Christmas debt is paid off first, of course.
  • I have a goal to be even MORE artistic in 2018.  I know, I already do Paint Nites with Shannon as often as I can, but I want to do more.  Before Christmas, I took one of her painting on glass classes for the first time, and I LOVED it.  I found it so soothing and relaxing.  I also want to do more adult colouring (I have 3 books and use them so seldom), I want to play more guitar, and I want to write more.  I really want to let that artistic side of me flourish and grow.  
  • I plan to do some major de-cluttering and cleaning this year.  I have closets that are jam-packed, a fridge and freezer that are hard to get into they're so full, and just a lot of stuff lying around.  I need to watch a few episodes of Hoarders to spook myself, and then go on a cleaning & purging rampage!!  Thankfully, having Mondays and Fridays off in the winter, I have some extra time to do this.  This coming weekend, I'll be taking down Christmas, and after that, it's on to the next steps.
So, that's a little glimpse at my Resolutions for 2018.  The actual list is much longer, and includes mundane things like "Read 15 books" and "get new blinds for the living room".  But the ones above are the ones I'll really be focusing on, especially in the first few months of the year.

I can't wait to get out of this funk and move on to bigger & better!!  Here's to 2018!!