Words To Live By

For those who know me better than others, you are aware that death has haunted me for quite some time now.

I wrote about it in my book Dickinstein which came out in October 2013.

We lost my grandmother on Christmas Day 2014.

Three months later my step-father passed away.

2016 was the worst when we lost numerous heroes from George Michael on Christmas Day; Carrie Fisher, Richard Adams, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and John Glenn all in December. Janet Reno, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro and Leon Russell in November. Gene Wilder in August. Muhammad Ali and Anton Yelchin in June. Alan Young (and Harambe the Gorilla) in May. Prince in April. Gary Shandling and Patty Duke in March. Harper Lee in February. David Bowie and Alan Rickman in January.

My heart also broke when we lost one of our beloved dogs in November last year.

Two of my long time pen pals also passed last year.

And then I lost my Dad on December 4th.

We lost another dog last month. And now John’s grandfather is close to the end.

I wanted to write this year, possibly another book, but haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. It’s hard to focus. Even this year on my blog I’ve barely managed to keep it alive by posting a quick log of each day, mostly mundane tasks I accomplish each day from what I had to eat to what I watched on TV. I’m getting bored with that so I know any readers I have are probably bored too.

I’ve been keeping this blog for a little over 10 years I think. I admit it’s always lacked focus. I’ve spent lots of time talking about writing, or reviewing books. I spent a year posting a pic a day. I tried writing a serial novel where I shared a chapter a week. I occasionally posted humorous antidotes or whatever was on my mind. Most of the stuff that really means anything to me has been kept private. I’ve even tried starting other blogs to focus on things but none of those ever worked out either.

But I’m going to try again.

I’m going to start work on some “op-ed” pieces just to get into the habit of at least writing something. They will be short stories, mostly nonfictional about my life and such.

I’m going to post them on a blog I started two years ago and never got far with: The Capote Review. So, if you are interested in reading them, check out that blog and add it to your reading list. I hope to at least post one a week. I’ve already posted my first blog post there today. There are 9 other blog posts still there from 2014 and 2015 if you want to read those too.

As for this blog, I’ve debated on making it entirely private by the end of this year and calling it quits. For now, I’ll continue with my Lone Writer’s Log Book posts for the entire year so I can at least feel like I have accomplished something.

 

 

Another year older…

Well, here we are again.

Except this time I’m not going to bore you with whatever goals or resolutions I’ve set for myself and plan to boringly blog about as the year progresses, knowing that I’ll abandon it all six months in.

I’m not making any goals or resolutions for the new year, at least not any that will change my waist size or creativity or bank account. If you’ve followed my blog for a while now you know I always fail.

gizmo

Just follow these simple rules…

I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing but try to keep a positive attitude while doing it. Sounds simple, right?  Eh, I’m sure something will fuck it up for me this year when the gremlins start creeping in. Let’s just wait and see. I’m already off to a great start, aren’t I?!

One thing I am going to do (at least for a while anyway) is go back to keeping my “log book” of what I do on a daily basis.  I kind of consider it micro-blogging or micro-journaling. Just a quick and simple list, of maybe at least 5 things, that I do each day. I blogged a little bit last year about making lists and such.

I also worked on saving money throughout the year and though I quit blogging about it in the last few months of 2016, I did keep doing it. Can’t say I accomplished much on paying down my debt because of certain circumstances that arose. That’s something I know I’m going to continue to work at. It’s a responsibility. There’s always bills to pay. So no need to make it a resolution this year.

I’d like to say I’ll write a new book this year but I’m not even going to hold myself to that. Heck, my reading goal for the year on Goodreads is just 1 book! See, already I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

So, there ya have it!  No real resolutions this year! Who needs that stress, that affirmation of goals that you’ll forget about or abandon in a few months?  Not me!

 

 

Live Laugh Love

Well here we are in the last week of another year, closer to another end and closer to another beginning. It’s been a tough year, and I think we are all hoping that 2017 will somehow be kinder.

I’ve been enjoying the numerous jokes and memes on social media about how everyone will be glad to see 2016 go. It’s days are numbered. We’ll be staying up on New Year’s Eve to watch it die! Then there are those with a more serious approach about no matter what year it is or what time it is, we are here in it now and that’s all that matters. Still, we measure everything with time, don’t we?

The many notable deaths we’ve experienced this year alone are enough for us to be glad that the days left in 2016 are numbered. George Michael on Christmas Day. Carrie Fisher and Richard Adams both today! Also Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and John Glenn this month. Janet Reno, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro and Leon Russell in November. Gene Wilder in August. Muhammad Ali and Anton Yelchin in June. Alan Young (and Harambe the Gorilla) in May. Prince in April. Gary Shandling and Patty Duke in March. Harper Lee in February. David Bowie and Alan Rickman in January. And so many others. The New York Times has a beautiful pictorial by month if you care for a look.

Death was not a stranger in my household either this holiday season. I lost one of my beloved dogs, Zander, in November. And December started off with the passing of my father. I also lost two dear pen pal friends earlier this year.

I think many of us, myself included, are also still recovering from the outcome of the election in September. It seems 2016 was earmarked to be a bad year from the start and many of us held our breath hoping for a positive outcome, but the bad news continued to stack up and we are still afraid to exhale.

While I do have my shiny new 2017 calendar waiting in the wings, personally I have to find a way to somehow make it count. There’s no doubt that the headlines will abound pointing a finger at the next Trump tweet or making us aware of the next celebrity death  before 2017 is even a week old. And while emotionally affected, I have to separate myself from it and think about who I am and where my place is in all of this.

For 2016, I think my biggest accomplishment was my return to the stage as a stand-up comedian, a hobby started over 16 years ago but quickly abandoned and overshadowed by other less important and trivial things that I thought mattered more to me at the time. It has certainly helped me creatively and I plan to continue to pursue it and grown in 2017.

I was just looking at the “Shannon is funny” tab on my blog where I started keeping track of all of my performances and there have been 32 so far this year, almost 1 per week since I first started up again back in May. I have one more to close out the year this Friday which will be a musical performance, another accomplishment this year that came from my return to comedy. I started a musical comedic duo with a fellow comedian and we’ve written 4 songs to date and have already performed on stage 3 times this month.

My creative soul will always belong to writing in some form or another, which is why I think I’m ready to work on a book again.  It’s never been an ongoing task that I felt the need to devote time to, even when I wanted to. I have sat down at times feeling the need to write only to discover the words won’t come. I always know when it’s time, or at least my muse does. And sometimes my best work comes from the necessity to heal. So that makes 2 projects I’d like to set my sights on for the new year.

After my father passed, my sister gave me a small table lamp from his bedroom. On the lamp shade are the words, “Live, Laugh, Love.” I think those are good words to live by next year.

I wish each of you a happy new year!

 

Blog. Money. Health. Write. August 2016.

hello augustAnd so here we are again now closer to the end of summer and slowly inching toward the end of another year.  Sigh… I hate this time of year. It’s that weird, in-between phase of transitioning out of summer and into Fall.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Fall!  I just usually hate August and September. I think that’s because it’s scorching hot outside, and it’s back-to-school season which was always a bummer way back when.

Blog

I wrote 5 blog posts in July. Most of them were about my stand-up comedy, but I’m okay with that. That’s where most of my creative energy is going these days and I’m okay with that.

Last month I also discovered a website called Medium. It was created by the founders of Twitter and is basically a blogging platform. There’s lots of great posts that I enjoy reading every day and I’ve also started blogging there. I wrote 2 blog posts there in July. You should check it out!

Money

InBox Dollars Account: $41.20
iBotta Account: $32.20
Receipt Hog Account: $12.21
Primary Savings Account: $5.00
Primary Money Market: $5.00
Credit Union Savings: $90.00
Capitol One Money Market: $381.61
Cash Savings: $0.00
Total: $567.22

Well, I lost money in July. As you can see, I have no cash savings.  I also dipped into my primary savings and money market accounts. Sad, I know. But shit happens. I did grow all of the other accounts but I’m still down from July by $24.14.

Health

No reason to waste much time here. It’s too darn hot out there. I don’t even remember the last time I stepped on the scale.

Write

The paperback version of Feeling Himself Forgotten is finally finished and is now available. That was a big weight off my shoulders. I tend to be more creative when it comes to writing in the Fall and Winter months so I’m hoping to start a new project now. And as I mentioned earlier, I’m writing posts over at Medium.com now too.

And that was July.

Dad’s Day

I got to speak to my father this morning. That means a lot to me to be able to speak with him and wish him a Happy Father’s Day and to have him know who I am. I was not that fortunate on his birthday back in April. He doesn’t usually hear his phone ringing, but he checks it and calls you back.  On his birthday, he didn’t know who I was and he hung up on me. I got to see him in May when I visited him and he thought I was his grandson until my sister corrected him. So today was a good day. For him and for me.

It’s been just over three years since we admitted him to the senior center. He went there for physical therapy after falling and breaking his pelvic bone in a drunken stupor. That’s when we also discovered he had canceled his insurance to give himself more spending money, probably to buy beer. The senior center was the only place that would take him. They helped us get his insurance started again.

Dad had previously been diagnosed with alcohol-induced dementia when he was in a car accident.  And yes, his BAL was over the legal limit during that accident. Thankfully, no one, including Dad, was seriously hurt but his behavior brought us great shame and disappointment. Before having to go before a judge, he fell and broke his pelvic bone and more than one person told us that was probably the best thing to happen to him. He probably would have served jail time. Instead, we surrendered his drivers license and decided to admit him as as a full-time resident at the center.

It was difficult at first. His behavior there was very inappropriate because he didn’t want to be there and thought he could get himself kicked out, and they were also trying different medications with him to improve his mood and cognition. He also got physical therapy on a daily basis and was around other people, and he couldn’t drink. But the dementia has still slowly been getting worse.

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He’s also stopped walking. After a double hip replacement, another accident thanks to alcohol, and then breaking his pelvic bone, he didn’t walk well and now refuses to walk at all. Some days he refuses to even get out of bed.  We hate to see him in this condition but we have to accept the fact that at least he is safe and is getting proper care.

It’s not so bad now, but in the beginning neighbors and friends would always ask about him and were quick to judge us for the decision we made to keep him in the center. Some people even said, “I’d never put my mom or dad in a home.” It hurt. It hurt a lot. We didn’t want to put him there either, but had no choice. I live three hours away. My brother and sister both work and have families. And none of us have the money to see that dad gets the daily care and attention that he needs.

My sister got so tired of hearing this that she started saying to people, “Well, I’m glad that you don’t have to work or take care of your family. I’m glad that you have the time and the money to be able to give your parents round-the-clock care and attention. Some of us aren’t that fortunate.”  It made people think.

Prior to my parent’s divorce, my dad and I were not very close. I’m not sure why really. We argued a lot. We didn’t talk to each other. When he left my mom halfway through my senior year of high school, I resented him even more and wanted nothing to do with him. He was a womanizer. He was an alcoholic. He was a thief. But at some point in my life, I started to forgive him and we started to speak by phone every weekend.  It was never a long conversation. Just checking in. But it was still something. We made up for a lot of lost time during those years.  He still called me every weekend for about the first two years since he’s been in the center. Now the phone doesn’t ring as much.

Years ago when Dad was still lucid and could walk, he always wanted to drive out to the cemetery every time I was in town.  So we’d go and visit his dad. It was Christmas Day when I took the photo of him above. Dad is standing where one day he’ll rest eternally, next to his dad, something he was always quick to remind us of and point out every time we went there.

For now, I’m glad he is where he is, and still here in our lives.  Like I said, he’s safe. He gets good care. He eats. He can’t drink. He’s probably ready to go. He’d definitely leave the center for good in a heart beat if he had the choice. Today, he remembered who I was. I told him I loved him. I do love him. He’s my Dad, and the good outweighs the bad. And not everyone can say that about their dad.  But I can. Today is Dad’s Day.

Blog. Money. Health. Write. May 2016.

may_022I can’t believe it’s already time to write my blog post to recap another month!  Where is this year going already???

April was not a good month for me when it comes to money!  And it was also my birthday month – I turned 40 this year! ‘Nuff said.

Let’s start by checking my totals on all of my accounts:

InBox Dollars Account: $32.07
iBotta Account: $26.20
Receipt Hog Account: $6.54
Primary Savings Account: $10.00
Primary Money Market: $10.00
Credit Union Savings: $70.00
Capitol One Money Market: $251.37
Cash Savings: $0.00
Total: $406.18

Yep, that’s right. I lost money in April.  While my InBox, iBotta, Receipt Hog, and Credit Union accounts all grew just a few dollars, my primary savings and money market accounts both took big hits and I also zapped all of my cash savings. This is all because of some unexpected bills that came up in April and I unfortunately had to tap into these resources.

I also forgot to make any transfers to my Capitol One money market account!  I won’t make that mistake in May though.  I’ve already got two transfers scheduled right after each pay day for $30 each so that’s $60 that will go into that account automatically in May.

I did make some progress with my health in April though so I’m very proud of that accomplishment.  I even blogged about it some. I started keeping a food journal in early April, focusing more on what I eat instead of calorie counting.  And I also started walking again on my birthday.  Two weeks ago I also started doing food prep for the week to insure I eat healthy lunches.  And it’s been paying off!  I lost 7 pounds in April; I hope I can double that or lose even more in May.

There’s no writing going on other than blog posts, and I don’t think there will be much to come this year.  I’m just not feeling it.  BUT…I did get my manuscript back from my editor so I hope to have a new book available by the end of the year!

And that’s April in a nutshell. Can’t say I’m sad to see it go but I can’t believe it’s already May. Have a good month!

Blog. Money. Health. Write. April 2016.

aprilApril has always been a favorite month of mine because it’s my birthday month and as a child I always enjoyed Easter and the coming of spring.

With that being said, March always just felt like it was in the way. It’s the end of winter. And since 2013, it’s a big travel month for me for work. I travel for two weeks in March, usually the first week and the last, and the two weeks in between just feel like a rest stop from one trip to the next. So, yeah, blink and I’ve missed March all together and this year has felt no differently.

What does that mean?  Basically that a few of my goals have suffered during March and probably aren’t even worth mentioning. But let’s review anyway.

Money

First, let’s check in on all of my accounts…

InBox Dollars Account: $30.61
iBotta Account: $25.20
Receipt Hog Account: $5.16
Primary Savings Account: $40.00
Primary Money Market: $5.00
Credit Union Savings: $60.00
Capitol One Money Market: $251.31
Cash Savings: $99.00
Total: $516.28

The Capitol One Money Market flourished in March thanks to it being a long month and me getting 3 paychecks. I had an automatic deposit of $25 transferred to it each time. My InBox Account finally reached $30 which means I could cash it out if I wanted to. And I finally reached the minimum to cash out on my Receipt Hog app as well.

Health

Ha!  You’d think with as busy as I was in March I would have burned a lot of calories and dropped a lot of weight, but that wasn’t the case.  I was gone the entire first week for 9 days and the entire last week of March for 5 days. While I’m on the go and busy, I didn’t eat well and actually ate out quite a bit.  I think I stepped on the scale once this month and there were no changes.  So at least I didn’t gain!

But as I’ve said before, the weather is changing and it’s warming up outside so I will definitely be getting back out and getting to be more active soon and I’m looking forward to hopefully shedding some pounds this spring and summer.

Write

No writing in March either. Too busy. And my finished book is still in the hands of the editor for at least a few more weeks.

So not a lot of progress this month from being so busy, and that’s exactly how March felt for me.  When I’m on the road traveling for work, I can’t even remember what day it is most of the time.  And it goes by so fast.  I still can’t believe it’s already April. March went by in a blur.

But that’s okay. The sun is shining and there’s still lots of good things to come this year.

See you in May!

Cleaning out the closet…

We live in a small house with small closets. I have the “luxury” of having two closets, but it’s far from being an actual luxury. A tiny coat closet in the dining room holds all of my pants. It also holds our bath linens.

The rest of my clothes are in a somewhat larger closet in the office. Yes, it’s still too small to hold the clothes that are in the other closet. Weird, I know…  If our basement was finished I’d probably keep all of my clothes downstairs.

Anyway, the bottom of the pants closet has served as storage space to some of my personal belongings: photo albums, letters, banking statements, paper manuscripts, research files, and a plethora of paper handled bags.

I decided I was going to clean out this storage space this weekend so that’s just what I sat down to do today. I started by pulling out all of the paper bags. There were gift bags from birthdays and Christmas and bags from any retail outlet that gives out a nice paper bag with handles that I had shopped at since 2006!  I always feel like I’ll reuse it and I hate to throw away a nice bag, but obviously I don’t reuse them as much as I should so they all went into the recycling bin today without a second thought.

20160207_115956_resizedI had fun flipping through some old photo albums and looking back at days and friends gone by.  I also found numerous film negatives, still in their little plastic envelopes from the photo developer.  I kept a few just for nostalgic purposes and threw the rest away. I grabbed my phone and took snapshots of a few old photos of myself and my grandparents and immediately shared them on Facebook because they made me smile. One such photo is the one of me to the right.

I am 16 years old in this photo.  It was taken in the summer of 1992 as a cast photo for a production of “Hello Dolly!” staged by the community theater group in my home town that summer. It was custom to take photos of each cast member and put them on a bulletin board in the lobby for the audience to see as they came in. The photos were always black and white and they were either head shots of us wearing black tee shirts or we were in costumes and in character.

I played “Rudy” who was the head waiter of the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant. It’s a small role, and a bit upstaged by Louie Armstrong in the Barbra Streisand movie. It’s a very serious role and the director had me blow a whistle to call my waiters to attention in the restaurant scene. I also spoke with an accent. I took a serious photo with a smirk on my face and the whistle held up to my lips which actually made it into the local newspaper, but it was this “fun” photo that made it onto the bulletin board. The photographer was my best friend at the time and asked me to do my “Joker” face. But, yes, those are my real eyebrows!

The photo took me by surprise and made me laugh.  Ahh, youth and to be young again. It’s funny because I can still remember my opening monologue from my big scene. And I remember the fun I had and the friends I made as we staged and rehearsed the production that summer. I never did another play after leaving town in the summer of 1995, but those years I was involved in community theater were great.

20160207_152458_resized (1)I took a new photo of myself today just for the heck of it. You see, I’m usually the one behind the camera and I rarely take selfies. I am the camera. I even wrote a book about just that back in 2008.

And that’s a sad place to be in this digital age where there are no negatives and no photo albums to preserve those moments that made us smile. All of our photos are on our phone. I’m guilty of that too. Lose your phone and you’ve lost your history, and I’m not talking about texts or contacts. I’m talking about birthdays, track meets, Christmas, graduation, prom, anniversaries. Your Kodak moments are all there and digital and unless you post everything to Facebook like some people, they are easily lost.

It’s scary to think how convenient it is and how dependent we are on technology these days, but if the grid is wiped out it’s all gone.  All we have left are the photo albums and developed photos from the 90’s and before when one hour photo was the convenience and Mark Zuckerberg was in grade school.

Once the closet was clean and the trash was taken out I sat down with Ward’s letters and put them in order by date and read a few of them. I realized I have no photo of him, but that’s okay. I have the letters and I have memories. And those are better than nothing.

As for that photo of me, God, I look old. There’s a good reason I don’t take photos of myself right there!

When a stranger calls…

Yesterday I received a phone call from a kind lady I didn’t know. But she knew everything about me. She had read the hundreds of letters that I had written to my long-time pen pal who lived in Oxford, Mississippi.

My pen pal was a retired professor named Ward. We met in 1993 when I was still in high school. I had placed a small personal ad in a Memphis newspaper seeking friends. Yes, this was pre-internet and cell phone days and personal ads in the back of newspapers existed. Ward was one of the few to respond to the ad, and so began our long relationship of letter writing.

I met Ward face to face in Memphis the following year over lunch. He was a very tall elderly man with a awkward toupee. He was very quiet, and as you can imagine because of the age difference, we didn’t have much to share over lunch that day. Before he left, I gave Ward a folder filled with my years of poetry writing for him to read and critique. He kindly returned it to me months later in the mail with some nice sentiments.

In 1995, I moved to Memphis to attend college. Ward and I continued to communicate through letters and one Sunday in either 1996 or 1997, on a whim with nothing to do, I drove to Oxford to surprise him. Ward lived in a large beautiful southern home nestled in the side of a hill behind an iron gate. He called his home Tuesday’s Hill because he’d found it on a Tuesday many year’s ago. The property was filled with luscious flower beds and plants, and there was large statuary adorning the garden everywhere you turned. Many of Ward’s letters had expressed his joy of working in the yard and planting flowers, but it was quite a joy to see all of his hard work in person that day.

Unbeknownst to me, Ward lived in the quaint little guest house behind his beautiful home. His ailing bedridden sister lived inside the house.  I didn’t even know until then that Ward had a sister!  I came to accept over time that Ward was indeed a very private man.  I felt like I got to know him well through his letters, but in face I knew very little. Unfortunately, that day when I visited him at his home would be the last time I ever saw Ward face to face again.

We continued to write to one another, even after I moved to St. Louis in 2001.  Occasionally, he asked me to fly to Memphis to visit him one more time. He even offered to pay for it, but I never took him up on the offer. I wish now I had. I called him for a few years each December to wish him Merry Christmas and to catch up with him via telephone. Ward occasionally mailed books to me, often with no written letter included at all. Just a book in a padded envelope to let me know he was thinking of me. When I had first met him, he suffered from a gimp hand then and his writing was sometimes hard to read so I imagined that’s maybe why he chose not to write.

In 2014, I started writing to Ward about every two weeks, much more frequently than I ever had before. During this period of time, Ward never wrote back once. I had a feeling he might have been upset with me for not visiting him again, or worse, maybe he wasn’t able to write back. I feared he might have passed on already, so I wrote to him one last time late that year and told him it would be my last letter.  I never heard from him, and then the phone rang yesterday.

The lady who called me went to church with Ward and she and her husband had become good friends with him and visited his home regularly. She had found all of my letters and reached out to me to let me know that Ward passed away last Friday.  There was a caregiver and hospice nurse by his side. His caregiver had talked him into moving back into the house from the guest house a while back (Ward had told me in a letter that his sister died many years ago). She repeated what I had known all along, that Ward was a very quiet and private man but because of our letters all those years, she wanted to find me and let me know that he was gone.

Ward told me years ago that he was leaving his house and all of his belongings and property to his church. He attended every Sunday and his friend told me that he usually sat in the very back by the door and when service was over he’d leave without talking to anyone. I can’t imagine someone having to go through his estate and having to decide what to do with it! At one time Ward told me he donated thousands of old books to a library in another state! They had even sent a truck to pick them up.

Ward also told me that he wanted his ashes, along with his sister’s, dumped in the Grand Canyon. His friend told me he changed his mind and wanted to be buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. I know it well from when I lived there so hopefully I can visit him there and pay my respects one day.

Learning of his passing brought me great peace. I finally had some closure and knew what had happened to my pen pal.  But it also has brought regret to me today. I feel like I should have visited him. I should have continued to write. Death always reminds us of the things we should have done, and reminds us that now it’s too late.  It leaves us behind, alone to go on living. I just hope that Ward is at peace too and that he isn’t lonely anymore.

Making a List…

3021379-inline-screen-shot-2013-10-03-at-85808-amWell, we’ve got one week left to the year so it’s time to start thinking and planning. I always tend to set a New Year’s Resolution that I’ll track here on my blog. It’s usually weight loss. Isn’t it for everyone? And like everyone else, I usually abandon my goals by spring, or I stop tracking them at least.

This year my life was changed after reading Amelia Freer’s book, Eat. Nourish. Glow. I still practice a lot of her suggestions today and have since I read the book back in March.  She has a new book due out in mid-January that I’m already looking forward to.  If you are looking for good advice about dieting and eating healthy, I highly recommend her!

I have also blogged a bit about using the free app My Fitness Pal. I still used it quite a bit this year, even making it to a 52 day streak before I stopped right before the holidays. It’s a fun way to keep up with your calories and exercise, and I find that it does help keep me on task when I’m focusing on eating healthy. I blogged about my morning walks which I miss! The winter months ended those for me though it hasn’t really felt like winter lately.

So yeah, my health will be a focus again next year but I’m not going to blog about it as much. I plan to roll it into a bundle of things I’m going to focus on and blog about together.

making-a-listA few weeks ago I became intrigued by list making. I’m a list maker and nothing beats the satisfaction of crossing things off a list whether it’s just a grocery list or errands. I thought about making this a blog focus but as I told a friend, do readers out there really care about me scratching “change the kitty litter” off a list each week? So, instead I’m making one list for the blog focus which I’ll get to shortly.

Lots of people focus on money each year. I wish I didn’t have to. It’s quite a burden at times because, like everyone else, there usually isn’t enough! I always attempt to save some, usually just for Christmas, but that doesn’t always work out because, like I said, there’s never enough. So why blog about that? Eh, put it on the list!

I’ve done pic-a-day challenges and reading challenges too. None of that next year other than my plans to use Facebook less and Instagram more. I’m just ready for a change. But no reason to blog about that here since Instagram is kind of like a blog already. I cross-post a lot of my Instagram to Twitter so you can follow me there if you want.

to-do-listSo, now let’s get to my plans for 2016. I plan to wrap all of my goals together into one list and rather than blog about them separately, I’ll blog about them together. So let’s start with that list…

  1. Blog once a month. That’s only 12 blog posts.  I’ll certainly do more than that, but like I said the plan here is to blog about my list of goals at least once a month.
  2. Save money! Sounds easy, but it isn’t. I’ve used different plans to do this in the past and have some new ideas in mind. Anyway, time to focus on it a bit so I’m putting it on the list.
  3. Get healthy! Ha! Better said than done, right? I’ve already told you about some of the things I’ve done that worked before. So next year I’ll explore some new ones and start over again.  Boring, I know, so now you know why I’m only planning on 12 blog posts!
  4. Write. I’ve got a new book on the brain that I’m anxious to start writing. It’s a new year, so why not start a new page?  Other than word count or progress, I’m not sure what I’ll blog about since I don’t like to discuss an idea while I’m writing, but I’m putting it on the list. I haven’t written anything in over two years, so it’s time.

That’s it! Four things to focus on. I can certainly think of other things, but those will happen anyway like gardening or cooking and such. Things I like to do already. So four goals…blog, money, health, write. That’s it. I can do this!