August 20th – “Consider things that have been holding you back from going after what you want….

….You have a rather fearless attitude now, and this works. There can be breakthrough thinking about practical matters, career, or long-term goals.”

Goals don’t work for me. I’m sure it does wonders for some people, but I find goals confining. I become inflexible, stressed out, and unmotivated. I don’t think goals are for people who are self-motivated.

That doesn’t mean I wander through the world aimlessly. In fact, it’s the opposite. If my life were to be summed up in a book, my trajectory would be clear to any reader. When I have freedom to do what I want, I am motivated and am able to accomplish things that I have never dreamed of.  

I have never had a 5 year plan and don’t want to make any now. I don’t have a vision for my future self that that’s perfectly fine. The more I try to think about planning for the future, the less value I find in investing in long-term goals.

Things rarely work out the way I see them. The more expectation I set up for myself, the more disappointed I get. Accomplishing a goal is rarely as satisfying or significant as I had believed it would be. A lot can change in the course of a day and what’s important today may not be important 5 years from now.

For now, I’m doing what I do best. I am doing what I want and making no excuses.

July 22nd – “You have big plans—and don’t need to broadcast them. In fact, with fewer people around, you won’t have distractions pulling you off-task.”

I like to talk about ideas with others. It helps me figure things out. I never know what might spark a new idea or perspective. It’s a way of jump starting my brain, to force me to process my thoughts while I am in conversation. However, this is only good for brainstorming sessions. When things start coming together and get serious, there’s no time to talk!

What I’ve learned from working on long term projects is that it’s not a good idea to talk about what I’m doing unless someone is going through the same  process. The bigger the plans, the less it helpful it is to share.

In fact, it can get really annoying when someone asks, “How’s that thing you’re working on going?” And my favorite, “Are you finished?” That one’s the worse!

I know that others mean well and are just trying to to engage. Sometimes I get irritated, but I can’t fault them. After all, I have disappeared for months at a time. It’s only natural that one would be curious as to what I was up to.

With that said, here is some cat pictures.

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His bobtail is too cute!

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Look at Little Rooks go!

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July 3rd – “ Give yourself a break — maybe even a whole night off.”

The great thing about not comparing myself to others is that I don’t measure my success or failures based on anyone else’s. The bad thing is that I can be hard on myself.  

Lately, I have been feeling lazy and very underachieving.  When given the choice to get more sleep or stay up to work on something, I choose sleep.

This weekend I had a small gathering in my little town. We went for a hike among the redwoods,

Redwoods

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ate a ton of food,

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and painted.

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I had plans to make fancy wine country inspired meals from scratch, but I ended up substituting half the recipes with store bought stuff. I was feeding 5 people a late breakfast and dinner and took shortcuts. We had frozen tater tots instead of hand cut fried potatoes, bbq sauce out of a jar instead of a homemade concoction, and veggie burgers that came out of a box instead of my food processor. The strawberry rhubarb pie was made with freshly picked ingredients from my garden, but the pie crust was ugly and I didn’t churn any vanilla ice cream for it. It was not the extravagant meal I planned.

I didn’t feel very accomplished until one of my guests remarked, “You do a lot.”

I paused for a moment. She was right. I don’t know too many people who would take time to organize outings for friends, all while working on creative projects, managing a garden, teaching, and clocking in hours at a day job. 

That’s a lot. I took a night off.

June 24th – “Have you been curious about what an ex has been up to? Get back in touch today.”

NO, I have not been curious about what an ex is up to. No, I do not want to get back in touch. NO THANK YOU!

Some days, my horoscope is a complete miss. I can think of a million other things I could do than get back in touch with an ex.

Instead, I worked on my novel,

gardened,

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waited in line at the dollar store behind a 7 week old husky German shepherd mix who looked just as cute as this puppy,

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and read a book.

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It’s amazing what one can achieve when one doesn’t contact an ex. 

June 23rd – “Slow down today — you are right on track and you have nothing to worry about.”

It’s been a busy month. I have a two projects I am working on, so I’ve put the blog aside for the month. I can do two things at once, but not three!

As predicted by my horoscope, June has been a beautiful month for devoting more time and energy to passion projects, learning, and extra-curricular activities.” I’ve been doing all three and I am already experiencing some of the rewards!  

The end of month deadline is closing in on me and there’s still so much work left to do. I started worrying about it yesterday, but today is a different day. So what if I wasted time and worried yesterday? I don’t have to do that today. With each new day comes new challenges, new ideas, and new attitudes. For example, yesterday there was no cake in the office. Today, there was cake in the office.

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Is 10:00 a.m. too early to eat cake? I don’t think so!

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If cake isn’t a sign to slow down and stop worrying, I don’t know what is!

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Tomorrow is the beginning of pride weekend and my boss brought this understated cake to the office. The outside is simple, but the message it conveys is crystal clear. I think there is something for me to learn here.

I have been trying to add more adventure and excitement to my story and I don’t think it needs that. The story is a simple one. It’s not supposed to be a drama filled with twists and turns, betrayals, reversal of fortunes, or evil twins. No, that was never the intent. My tale is about the everyday life of people who are not often seen.  If my story were a cake, I think it would have ten or twenty different colors underneath the vanilla frosting. Thank you for the sweet lesson today, horoscope!

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May 29th – “Forget about that supposedly perfect future version of you.”

That’s good advice because I’m already perfect!

Okay, I’m kidding. Everyone has flaws and I have too many to count. Some days I’m a know-it-all. Other days I’m intolerant, moody, and just unpleasant to be around.

When I envision what I am like in the future, I don’t see what my attitude, opinions, and behavior is like. What I do see is what I am doing, and that isn’t much. My future self is lazy and enjoying a life of retirement.

That’s not very useful. I don’t see who I will be. What are my values? How do I see the world? More importantly, how am I treating myself and others around me?

Imaging the perfect future version of me doesn’t provide me complete picture. Moreover, when I hear the word “perfect,” I think  “boring.” If perfect means boring, I’ll take imperfect any day!

May 7th – “Let all your casual conversations meander down tangential paths. You could make a breakthrough connection with someone who intrigues you.”

Tangential paths in casual conversations are one of my favorite things to do when meeting new people. I’ve learned from hours of talking to strangers that there is something interesting about everyone. Okay, I have to admit, during some of these hours, I was not sober! 

It’s been awhile, Nov 2016 to be exact, since I’ve put myself in a public situation and introduced myself to people I don’t know. The difference this time was that I didn’t dread the situation. I let go of any expectations and had fun hearing about what others like to do in their spare time and what colors they use to paint their world.

I may be wrong, but I feel like I’m one of those lucky people who makes breakthrough connections with many people. I’m probably no luckier than anyone else. It’s probably just a matter of statistics. The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to find someone whom you really connect with.

I knew it would be a great day because I liked the first person I met. Our conversation only lasted 5 minutes, but the energy was very positive.

In the middle of my day, I met a person whom I connected well in energy, personality, and interest. I didn’t have to explain myself very much. I like those people. We talked about politics and culture, my two favorite subjects. I don’t have her contact information, but I have a feeling that we’ll connect again in the future.

May 4th – “Take heart! If you’ve been feeling unfocused or underwhelmed in the recent past, the stars send you something or someone compelling enough to perk up your interest.”

Mercury is finally out of retrograde! Hooray!

I hope that means I’ll get back to writing. I took a look ahead and May 10th is the best day of the year for me. The best day. Can you believe that? I wonder what magical things will happen on that day.

As much as I would like to rely on the stars to make my life great, if I’m not working on anything, there will be no magic at all! It’s like hoping to get a new job when you’re not sending out applications. Not happening!

Writing needed to be done and I didn’t do it last night. I had a long day at work and I haven’t been sleeping well or enough. Sleeping is my number 1 priority these days because I can’t be at my best if I’m not well rested. Writing is important too, but not nearly as important as sleep. It was only 9 p.m, and decided to call it an early night.

Just as I was about to sleep, I saw this article posted by a friend. It’s a list of things to give up to become successful. Here is a recap:

GIVE UP

  1. Unhealthy lifestyle
  2. Short-term mindset
  3. Playing Small
  4. Excuses
  5. Fixed mindset
  6. Believing in a magic bullet
  7. Need to control everything
  8. Saying yes to things that don’t support your goal
  9. Toxic people
  10. Need to be liked
  11. Dependency on social media/television

Once upon a time when I was trying to successful, I gave up all of these things. I can say from experience that it’s a good list.

I am not sure that I care about being successful anymore.  I’m in the middle of redefining what success means to meUntil then, there’s nothing to “go for.”  I still have, however, given up most of the items on the list.

The two things I am doing and might want to think about giving up is #11 dependency on television and #5 playing small. I am not surprised about the television. I observe and analyze popular culture. It’s what I do, so I’ve been trying to find a good medium to watch enough to know what’s going on, but not get completely sucked into it. I wish “The Soup” was still on!  What I did forget about is playing small. I’ve been hiding out from the world and wanting to be anonymous. That doesn’t help!

Well, the stars certainly work in mysterious ways. On Sunday, I agreed to attend a public event. I have to stay for a few hours and sell myself to strangers. If I am already there, there’s no reason not let myself shine. Some attention makes for a much more interesting day!

May 2nd – “Are you spreading yourself too thin? It’s time to take a cold, hard look at your resources, emotionally, financially and mentally.”

My tarot reader said that I need to take care of myself this month and she was right. April was not a good month for me and my health suffered as well. Mercury in retrograde really didn’t help! She said that I would feel fatigued in May, so I am heeding her advice.

I’m very tempted to agree to any fun shenanigans that come my way, but I know that if I don’t schedule my activities wisely, I’ll find myself drained. For now, I putting off making any future commitments until Thursday, when Mercury is no longer in retrograde. I’ve already have a June deadline coming up and May is the busiest month of the year at work. I don’t need more on my plate!

What I have been putting on my plate are a lot of vegetables for lunch. Yesterday had brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Today I had Chinese broccoli, regular broccoli, and carrots. It’s not very exciting, but it leaves room for more interesting food for the rest of the day.

When I got home, I had a slice of rhubarb pie with Greek yogurt.

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Rhubarb Pie

¾ cup maple sugar

3 cups chopped rhubarb stalks

1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

2 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoon cornstarch

2 pie crusts

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2.  Mix sugar, rhubarb, strawberries, flour and starch together.
  3.  Put into pie crust. Cover pie with second crust and seal edges. Cut holes to let steam  out. 
  4. Bake for at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Over rhubarb pie, I took a cold, hard look at my resources.

Financially and emotionally, I’m doing fine. Last month’s expenses and communication issues were abnormal, so I’m not worried about that.

The one thing I am lacking in is my mental capabilities. I’m not processing things as quickly as I used and need to work on improving my intellect. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I think I need to exercise my academic brain more. That means spending less time reading fluffy news articles that provide vague, inaccurate information about the world and reading more stuff written by experts in the field. 

April 18th – “Remind yourself that nobody is a mind reader. If you’re not getting what you want, maybe you just need to ask!”

Directness is one of the qualities that those who are close to me appreciate. It’s also the thing that’s gotten me in trouble with people, so I’ve been trying to keep a low profile. I want to stay focused on my work until the end of June. I don’t have energy to deal with the repercussions of my directness, so I’m doing the best I can to let things slide. That is proving to be much easier said than done.

Mercury has been in retrograde since April 9th. If you believe in such things, which I suspect you might if you’re reading this blog, it means that life may be a little harder to navigate. It’s generally not a good time to sign contracts, make decisions, start something new, etc. Basically, things will not turn out well! For fun, I checked the calendar in 2013. Mercury was in retrograde when I applied for and started at the Worst Job Ever. I should have known better!

My monthly horoscope cautions that, “Mercury is retrograde in Taurus and your partnership house until April 20th, which could muck up messages with your closest peeps. Be extra cautious about signing contracts or agreeing to any collaborations.

This period has proven to be difficult time for me. I tried to organize an event with my friend, but it fell apart. Just to be sure, I checked the email she sent and it was done on April 9th, the first day of Mercury in retrograde!

I have also had some poorly communicated and received messages with those closest to me. In one instance, my partner called me grumpy. I did not respond in the way that he wanted me to, so he assumed that I was in a bad mood. I wasn’t, but one second after he called me that, I flipped out and started yelling at him. I tried to explain to him (still yelling, of course) that he had just created a situation when there wasn’t one, but none of the words came out right. I sounded like a maniac.

This happened again with someone else a few days later. I didn’t fit into his/her reality and he/she came up with a label for me so that I could make sense in his/her world.  I didn’t want to sound like maniac, so I bit my tongue.

Being labelled for something I am NOT is something I cannot stand for. I HATE it. It’s right up there with others telling me how I feel and think.

Labels for people are offensive. That’s how stereotypes are created. If you take one aspect of person (whether it is true or not) and define them based on that characteristic, it creates a false fixed truth. In strips away any individual identity and puts people in boxes to be judged and categorized.

As much as I don’t like being a textbook psychoanalytic example, I think my highly emotional reactions are influenced by my childhood experiences. Among many other forms of torture, my family liked to call me “fat cow” when I wasn’t. I was one of the youngest kids in my family, so everyone thought that it was their job to tease me incessantly. It was like a 17 year hazing ritual and would have continued into adulthood had I not stopped participating in family activities.

I do not respond well when people say blatant lies about me. I don’t logically lay out the evidence that I have to disprove the lies. Instead, I have knee jerk reactions that can only escalate situations.  If I were in a Lifetime movie, I would be the main character who gets manipulated and driven insane by the real murderer. The last scene would fade away with a shot of me sitting in prison for a crime I didn’t commit while I am repeating to myself, “I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it…”

At the moment, I’m not getting what I want and I’m not going to ask for it. I agree that no one is a mind reader, but I don’t think it’s the right time to be forward. The horoscope says “maybe” I should ask. I’ll take that as a sign that I shouldn’t.

It’s a good thing that April 20th is just 2 days away because I don’t think I’ll last until June. With time, these problems could work itself out without my direct intervention. If not, I will tell you exactly what’s on my mind!