Welcoming the New Year

Welcoming the New YearThe recap of why 2013 was so bizarre, some of the latest status reports for 2014, and some thoughts about organization.

Doing the 2013 Recap

2013 was an unusual year. Even though I took on the word “FOCUS” as my theme, I’m not certain whether I really *had* more focus than any other year. Perhaps it was my theme just to keep me from completely flying apart.

My Daddy-do passed away in January 2013, and there seem to be blank spaces in some of my written records for February. My job ended suddenly on Feb 28 (with 7 days notice), and all of March and part of April was spent landing the next position. Then I had the very good fortune to spend a week in April acquiring a certificate in bellydance (my General Skills or GS certification from Carolena Nericcio from FatChanceBellyDance). In May, I spent a week at a bellydance festival, performing for the last time with a troupe that I’d been part of for two years. Upon retiring from the student troupe, I made a huge transition from “full-time student” to a “part-time instructor,” launching the beginning of what you might call my “student teacher” time.

Heading into 2014

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m still gainfully employed at the location that brought me on for a “four month contract” in April 2013. There’s still been no change in my status–I’m still a contractor–but two departments would really like to make me a full-time employee. We’ll see what happens.

Dance instruction continues to bring me so much joy. Monday through Wednesday after work, I’m usually teaching ATS to a variety of students. Thursdays I usually switch gears to study as a student, training with other advanced or intermediate dancers in my local area.

I’ve taken on “CREATE” as my theme for 2014, and have been putting my hand to “create something” every day. My daily updates can usually be found on either twitter or Google+, although I also cross-post my creative ventures to Cayswann Crafts on Facebook.

Thoughts about Organization

The other major hit in December: My purse was stolen from my car. Now, there were many ways in which it could have been worse, but recovery has made me think about several organization things. They didn’t get my phone, but I’ve had to replace my phone recently because an update of the HTC software made several regular apps I used suddenly stop working. Having replaced my stolen Nexus 7 tablet and now purchasing a new Nexus 5, I’ve been very deliberate about how to use my electronics.

Many people can identify with removing physical clutter from their homes, closets, etc. But have you thought about removing the digital clutter in your life? I’ve started keeping a master list of the apps I use on my tablet and phone, sorting them into folders, and ensuring that I have (encrypted) notes about my accounts and passwords. One by one, I’ve been logging into every app and evaluating whether I want to keep it. I’m amazed at how many duplicate-function apps I had on my devices. Exactly how many ways do I need to take down a simple To Do list? Right. This round of digital discovery has me focused on decluttering.

In my family life, around the house at my Sweetie’s, we’ve been talking about how to reduce the clutter. I’ve been given permission to dive into the paperwork of the house to bring some much needed assistance and organization. I’m definitely having fun recycling paper, sorting and organizing, and otherwise seeing everyone have less stress. The long-range plan is to attack every pile, every paper, every folder — both my own paper piles and those that belong to Sweetie. I’m getting better at having things backed up digitally and sometimes even indexed and inventoried in some of my digital records. (If you’re interested, my favorite app is Evernote. I love the interface both on my computers and my mobile devices–both phone and tablet.)

I have some wild plans about reducing the clutter in my online presence (trying to consolidate where I post journal entries, for example) but I have some technical issues to overcome before I can roll out the updates I have in mind.

I hope you all are finding 2014 working for you.

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Today’s Blessing That I’m Thankful For: My Sweetie, for being there through all the ups and downs, pains and achievements of 2013. Here’s to our 2014 together.

P.S. Added note: I think I just found a possible solution to one of my website issues. I’ll just need to save up a few dollars, but there’s a “pay us to do it for you” option that looks affordable. So nice to see.

Welcome to 2014, the Year of "CREATE"

At New Year’s in 2012, I felt drawn to use the word “DANCE” as my theme for the year. When January 2013 rolled around, I chose the word “FOCUS” with some measure of nervousness about what that might mean.

New Year’s Eve, 12/31/2013 — I suddenly knew exactly my theme for 2014 = CREATE.

I’m certain that *Create* will mean many things throughout 2014. But one application comes to mind first: MAKE THINGS. I love to make things. I love to see colors and ingredients coalesce into something new just because I put my hands to them.

Right before the holiday weeks wrapped up, I managed to finish one commission languishing on my workbench and prep some new floral hair clips as Christmas Gifts for my family. Yesterday, New Year’s Day, I went back to the workbench and finished some additional commissions waiting for my attention.

My niece not only snatched this up for Christmas,
but had the chance to wear it to a wedding several days later

I cannot show you photos of the commissions created on January 1 because they haven’t been seen by the recipient yet. *grin*

But here’s my posts from Twitter, summing up the #CREATE experience on days 1 and 2.

  • — #CREATE day1: Fixed 1, Created 4 floral hair clips. Supplementary: Uploaded 3 sets of floral hair clip photos from Dec & day1 #crafty
  • — #CREATE day2: Create 4 small hair clip bases; Spun wool on my drop spindle. Supplementary: Backed up 1K+ media files; processed 19 videos

I’ve found myself making the distinction between actually creating new things versus some of the supportive tasks around my crafty and creative projects. Just thinking about the flowers I finished in December made me want to upload the photos. Thinking about the flowers I finished on New Year’s Day made me want to process those photos, too. This morning, I set my personal computer to backup everything on my personal phone while I diligently worked on my work computer. Backing up the photos helped me find (and remember!) the videos on my phone, which then I had to figure out how to import to my iPod and then troubleshoot when they wouldn’t import properly. (Turns out there’s a new step in iTunes for creating the iPod version of the file, but I digress.)

Over my lunch break, I hand-sewed several small flower clip bases. And while enjoying dinner with my sister and a close friend, I was able to relax and *create* more wool yarn on my drop spindle. Even now, as I write this post, there are eight videos left that need to convert before I can finish syncing my iPod. I now have an hour’s worth of material broken down into 1-5 minute snippets that I can review and study when I’m away from my computer. I just love some of those management tasks that support my creativity!

I have no guarantee I will actually manage to *create* something every day of the year. But it is definitely a focus for me, and I hope to be able to share some of that success with you here. I hope that we can share inspirations with one another.

What do you see happening in your 2014?