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So after looking at what didn’t work last month, the fitness side of life, I decided to read Nerd Fitness to regain some enthusiasm and look for tips to make this work for me. I realised that what I left out of the equation last time was a sense of accountability that impacted on me and any form of  reward, Ye Olde Carrot & Stick!

With the financial side of things I employed some techniques to help me, two apps to help keep track of my money, and unsubscribing to all stash unload groups on FB and many cross stitch shop newsletters.  I didn’t do anything to help make the fitness side easier.

So the goals for February are:

  1. Walk for 5 minutes each morning before breakfast
  2. Do my Angry Birds Workout three times per week
  3. Cut out all soda from my diet

Walking

In Summer in Melbourne the hottest times of the day are 4-6pm and the coolest time is 6am.  So It makes sense to exercise in the morning.  This goal is not about doing any form of fat-burning exercise; it is about creating the habit of getting up and exercising.

Motivation for this habit: I’ve given Julie $50.00.  This is a huge amount of money for me.  I’ve only got it because some bills I planned for came in under expected cost. So …. Julie holds this windfall.  If I walk every single morning in February I get my money back. If not, she gets to keep it. This is my choice, my stick that will make me get out of bed.

The other motivation (this one suggested by Julie): No using the iPad/iPhone/laptop until after my walk. This encourages me to get that walk done so I can see what’s happened with you guys overnight, and means I don’t get distracted with FB etc and suddenly its midday and too hot to walk. So I plug all devices in outside the bedroom at night, and lay out my walking clothes and shoes ready to just put on in the morning,

A final assistance as provided by Julie and Ian is the gift of an unused treadmill that was gathering dust in their garage. This is for those days when it is raining (excuse me while I giggle madly) or simply too hot already to go outside (more likely). so I can use the treadmill under the aircon.

Workouts

To do the Angry Birds workout every second day.  This is a bodyweight and dumbbell workout that I can tailor to my fitness levels and should not spike the migraine.  I plan to do this in the afternoons. A walk will boost my metabolism for a little while, so doing this in the afternoons should lengthen that boost.

Motivation: If I complete all of my workouts for the month, I will buy myself something to help with my fitness journey; a pull up bar, some better socks, a set of adjustable dumbbells. I’ll decide exactly what at the end as I will have a better idea at that time as to what is the highest priority, The best part is that if I complete all of my workouts AND all of my walks, then I’ll have that $50 to spend towards that reward – how’s that for financial planning and motivation 🙂 🙂

I will sort out a gym space in the back room to do workouts so there’s no faffing about finding space etc. I’ll also set the workout up on Numbers on the Pad so I can enter my progress each time and adjust my workout difficulty easily.

Soda

I’ve found that I work best when concentrating on only one aspect at a time.  The financial side has settled down into a routine so this month I’m focusing on moving my butt off the couch.  However in anticipation of adjusting the diet I’m throwing in a little change here of cutting out all soft drinks / fizzy drinks / soda / pop.

I don’t normally drink these but they have crept back into my diet in the last couple of months, so they can quietly creep back out.  I hope my friends will support me here and not feel uncomfortable when I ask for water.

So that’s it.  Any thoughts? Suggestions?  Anyone want to share their life goals for this month?

 

OK it’s evening on the 31 January 2014.  So how did I go with my plans and aims for the month:

  1. Have all of my financial accounts out of overdraft and into “the black”
  2. Using 2kg dumbells do Bent Over Dumbell Rows. 3 sets of  8 reps with 2 minutes between each set.
  3. Walk a minimum of 5000 steps per day every day.
  4. Shop my stash when stitching

Well I passed two and failed two.

What Worked:

I have not  bought a single item towards my cross stitch hobby.  I have been given a fat quarter of black 25ct evenweave by Julie for  SAL that wasn’t going well, but nothing has been added to the stash. Incidentally the threads for this SAL (Brodeuse Bressane) ended up coming from Julie’s stash too – but that was a victim of circumstance 🙂

Tammy made it really difficult with her new Colour Cascade Designs, many of which have been added to my Lust List, but I’ve managed to make it to the end of the month!  I think I can continue this one to the end of next month.

As of this moment, all of my current bills are paid and my transaction account is in the black. I was given some money by my mum, but the ease of budgeting my money via YNAB and tracking my money with Pocketbook helped me from inadvertently getting back into a hole.  It also reduced a lot a of stress as I knew at any one time how much money I had and where it was.  I no longer had to remember that I was putting money aside for a bill later in the month or that I had already spent the money but it hadn’t been taken out of my account yet.

Using these two programs I am certain I can keep my finances under control and on track to my end of year goal of:  Have a one month financial buffer.  I should also be able to cope with unexpected costs on my own as time goes on.

What didn’t work:

I did not walk 5000 steps every day. I did not keep up with my workouts. Part of this was due to migraine flare-ups and the resultant fatigue/exhaustion/depression that lasted days afterwards. Partly this was also due to the heat, as this is Summer in Australia and partly this is due to apathy.  Once I perceive that I have “failed” at a task, I find it more difficult to devote any enthusiasm to it.

So in summary I’ve learned that with the help of my friends and family I can learn to abstain from spending money.  I still need to work on finding ways to get my butt off the couch.  Progress towards one out of two end of year goals is not bad.  I can live with this.

 

First WIPocalypse check-in for the year and I’m already a few days late …. oh well.  Here goes:

Stitchalong SAL – Any AAN design

For this SAL I thought I would dig out my WIP of Cuor di Fiocco (Snowflake Heart).  Unfortunately, although I found my WIP, it was not in its project bag, so I have no idea what thread I am using to stitch it in.  Further investigation is required before I can get back to this piece.

Alessandra Adelaide AAN Cuor di Focco

Progress 16 Jan 2014

Brodeuse Bressane SAL – Fleur de Lys

I love Brodeuse Bressane designs and decided when the Fleur de Lys SAL was announced late last year, that I would stitch this one on black.  After a number of floss tosses and false starts I finally settled on a mix of ThreadworX threads with a touch of Gloriana here and there.  Well I only had 32ct black Belfast in my stash and I’m not happy with the garland of leaves,  I think the fabric is too small for such intricate lines to show clearly.  So I’m going to start this design again in a few weeks when some 25ct black fabric arrives – courtesy of Julie. I think she had enough of watching me struggle with this piece 🙂

Brodeuse Bressane Fleur de Lys

Leaves

Maggi Co’s Village WIP – Catgirl & Catboy

This is a WIP from 2012. It was originally designed to go into the group house I was in at the time, but as usual the project outlasted the item it was being stitched for.  I still love the project and I have now finished it.  First finish of 2014.

Catgirl & Catboy by Jardin Prive from the artwork of Maggie Co's Village

FINISHED

 

Topic: Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

Hi I’m Mel, formerly a librarian but now living on disability due to chronic migraine.  I do what I can, when I can and don;t stress about the rest.  I live with my two beautiful cats in Melbourne, Australia.

Instead of picking specific projects for this WIPocalyse, I plan simply to work on all of the SALs and whatever of my WIPs that interest me at the time. I have over 50 WIPs so if I can get 1 small one finished each month, I will call it a win!

Some of my WIPs are in the list to the left and the tab above. I will add other WIPs as I unearth them! Planning to shop my stash this year, so the WIPocalype is keeping on path.  How about everyone else?  How are you going so far this year?

 

OK 2014 has started off with some very very tempting new designs.  Colour Cascades Fabrics has branched out into Colour Cascades Designs with some edgy modern gorgeous art-to-cross stitch designs.  The Lust List is expanding rapidly!

Artists signed up with Colour Cascades so far include:

I’m adding the following charts to my Lust List, but there are so more on the Colour Cascades site already and so many more to come!

OK less than three days in and my resolution is already being tested …..  At the end of this month, the following Alessandra Adelaide Needleworks charts will be removed from sale:

Alphabets

Animals

Biscornu

Flowers/Friuts/Garden

Mandala

Others

Sampler

Trees

 

So if you want any of these designs, you have until the end of the month to order them.  Me, I want five, but I’m going to wait until next year and have the fun of hunting them down OOP or asking Alessandra if she can release them in digital form …

I’ve decided on a couple of serious resolutions this year. I’ve made them specific, measurable, and I have a tools and process in place to help me achieve them.

By the end of the year I aim to:

  1. Have a one-month financial buffer.
  2. Be able to do a bodyweight pull up .

Aim:  To  have enough money in the bank to pay for all of my ongoing bills one month ahead of time. To help achieve this  I’ve set up my budget through You Need a Budget and am tracking my spending via Pocketbook (the Aussie version of Mint).  Already I have pared back on non-essentials and cancelled any participation in SALs that require the purchase of charts, fabric or threads  to participate in.  I’m challenging myself to shop my stash and am running a competition in conjunction with this. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge!

Most budget apps get you to list out all of your bills and then wait for the money to come in to pay them.  The YNAP approach is to look at your money and prioritize where it needs to go before the next amount of money comes in.  It seems like such a small thing but it is a fundamental change in mindset for me.

Aim: To grab a bar and pull my chin up and over up it and back down once. I’m overweight. I’m in the morbidly obese category.  Until recently I thought of exercise as a generic adjunct to losing the fat. Then I read this article and stopped to think, what do I want to achieve with my fitness? That led to some introspection and I decided that I’d really like to be  able to rock climb.  So lifting my own body weight is step one on that journey.  I have a training regime that will get me as a slow pace (thanks to Bruce the migraine) to that point hopefully by the end of the year.  Then I can move on to the next phase.  Coupled with this will be better eating and more walking to reduce the amount of weight I have to lift 🙂 🙂

I’m currently using Striiv and Runkeeper for my walking progress and MyFitnessPal for my general food and fitness diary. I’ve also joined Nerd Fitness for general fitness motivation. So if anyone else is planning these kinds of activities this year, please friend me on these networks so we can encourage each other along.

4 week goals:

  1. Have all of my financial accounts out of overdraft and into “the black”
  2. Using 2kg dumbells do Bent Over Dumbell Rows. 3 sets of  8 reps with 2 minutes between each set.
  3. Walk a minimum of 5000 steps per day every day.

I may not achieve all of these goals, especially the financial one, but I will try my best, roll with it, and if necessary, adjust the timetable for February.

Except for the occasional skein of DMC floss from Spotlight (the Aussie version of Joann’s I think) I will attempt to only shop my stash for 2014. That means no purchasing of charts, threads or fabric for 2014. Do you think I can make it?

Here’s the competition:
Comment on my Facebook post and choose the date that you think I will cave and buy stash! The person who chooses the resultant correct date will receive a package of charts, threads and fabric from my stash.

Only one person per date. Yes you can choose 1 January 2014  Yes you can choose 31 December 2014  I will tailor the prize in terms of fabric count, colours themes etc for the winner. Entries close at the very end of 2013, Australian time. That’s a touch over five days time.

I’ve received a couple of Christmas cards reminding me that I haven’t posted on this blog in six months (and of course not everyone is on Facebook) so I’d better do a catch up so you can all see that I am still alive.  Hi, I’m alive !!!

I feel I haven’t really accomplished much this year but I forget that my life has to be measured in baby steps these days.

Wyndham Vale

Wyndham Vale

I’ve been in my wonderful Casa del Triffid for 12 months now. I have steady gardeners visiting once a month to keep the yards mowed, clean, weed-free and the trees and shrubs pruned when necessary.  A Christmas present from Ian & Julie is a lovely herb bed that the gardeners will be putting in the back for me next Monday.

I have been responsible for my own shopping, cooking and tidying for around six months (I relied on Lite & Easy pre-prepared food packs for the first six months).  Although I don’t feel very successful in this area – I had unrealistic expectations of creating healthy nutritional meals three times a day and having a company-ready house daily – I think I’m doing OK.

Project 42 (exercise + diet + mindset = healthier Me) has had a few setbacks but I’ve finally found that the ONLY exercise that wont upset Bruce the migraine is walking.  So I’ve been walking … strolling … NOT power walking.  A walk to the shops and back is 10kms and takes about 2 hours.  It also burns over 1000 calories.  I’m happy with this.  I try to do this once a week depending on weather and migraine. Also I’ve increased the number of times I get up or walk about for a break while doing things, just to keep the metabolism moving.  Its all about the little things.

In late-November I saw a new neurologist, she is US-trained and in her 40s.  Unlike all of the other neurologists I’ve seen who are Australian/UK trained (completely different ideologies) and male and in their 70s.  She’s changing my meds around and currently has me on a strong anti-inflammatory to see if that will help.  She is taking me off the Topomax which she believes is causing more  neurological side-effects than the migraine.  So I’m currently in Week 4 of a 5-week med swap.  At this point I’m in more pain and have less energy, but I am sleeping more than I was. We will see when I’m through the transition.

Abby and Little Miss are working out well together.  Little Miss has become a fuzzy slug.  A slothful, laid-back cat who is more than happy to let Abby be the alpha. Miss is my lap cat, sleeps on me in bed, and is becoming my stitching cat (she is good when I stitch but she still thinks that whole DMC skeins are the BEST cat toys ever!).  Abby is happy to accept this furry addition to the furniture and the attendant second food bowl, multiple spawning water bowls and extra litter bowl.  Otherwise Abby just continues as the familiar but independent soul.

There was some stitching done during the year, much drooling over new designs and discovering of new designers.  Also I joined an Australian Stitchers Facebook group who coincidentally started up a monthly get-together during 2013.  I’ve met a great group of stitchers and we will continue these get-togthers into the next year.  Anyone who is in the Melbourne area on the dates in question are welcome to come along!

In the next little while, I will copy over some of my previous Facebook updates and photos of my stitching, the cats and anything that could be of interest.

Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice, and Blessed Be to you all !!!!

 

Ah ! Another thing I learned from QI. If you have a real Christmas tree this year (as in a chopped down sapling) contact your local zoo and see if they want the tree after Christmas. Apparently elephants can go through 5 trees each a day, given the chance, and may other animals can use them too.

Half past midnight. Been in bed a while but sleep is elusive. It doesn’t help that every time I close my eyes the bed starts spinning. Three cheers for med changeover side effects…

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