After the storm

WP_20160123_18_10_16_ProEnduring the winter storm doesn’t worry me too much. I grew up in upstate NY, and remember The Blizzard of ‘77. Ever since, most storms barely cause concern. But this month, there were other worries.

My father had a min-stroke. That was a scare, and the hospital he went to was 2 hours away. I meant to visit but there was some waiting to see which hospital they would send him to, when something else happened.

WP_20151215_17_06_45_ProPepper started going down hill. She’s had issues with arthritis. Being an older dog, I expected that, but last Sunday, I found her with labored breathing and not able to get up. She hadn’t eaten much at all, so we rushed her to the vet.  Sadly, the vet suspected some sort of issue with her liver and we decided to put her down rather than let her suffer.

I also found the Rimadyl prescribed for her by the one vet for arthritis pain could very well be the cause of her death. By all accounts, she only had arthritis. The first vet said she saw no tumor or other issues. The second vet found her blood work and xrays did show problems.

She’s gone either way, and I miss her terribly. She was a constant companion, and little things remind me of her (and she’s gone), so it’s been a very rough week.

Meanwhile, my father is home and better, but scans found the stroke did cause some brain damage. They found some other issues that they will keep an eye on, but that, too, lends to a week where I feel this oppressive weight of loss and worry.

The storm, oddly enough, provided some time away from people and things, to mourn and deal with those feelings. I’m not crying any more, but little things still remind me of her not here.

I’ll be so glad when spring gets here.

Well hello, 2016!

2016

I was so glad to see 2015 fall behind because the year was less than successful for me. Hopes for this year are high, and I intend on plunging into things pretty quick.

My Resolutions:

  • Write and publish regularly. If I call myself a writer, I need to be writing. This means also sharing what I write with the world. I’m also keeping this a general goal because I will publish non-fiction as well as fiction.
  • Lose 30 lbs. I’d love it if I could lose the weight by Summer- typical, I know, but I’d be happy with losing anything any time through the year. I also include getting fit because I’m not liking this ‘old lady’ body I have now.
  • Cultivate Focus! I’ve started on this goal by cutting way back on tasks and responsibilities. Where my brain was scattered over 20 or so things, now I focus on a handful of top priorities.
  • Develop and implement online courses. Local business just hasn’t worked out so I want to explore providing lessons via the Internet instead.
  • Get Daniel ready for college. This is perhaps the most challenging goal- being responsible for another human being to find success in life. He’s in 10th grade now, and will graduate in only a few years.
  • Be more active on my blogs and web sites. I’ve narrowed down my list of blogs/sites and figured on a schedule that doesn’t overwhelm or burn me out.

There are other little goals, but these are the main ones I will focus on.

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I setup my planner by altering a Composition Notebook with scrap paper and using a pretty blue duct tape for binding. I stamped the quote on the cover.

I made ones before for the month, but this time, I will use it for 3 months, making another notebook for blogging/sites. This will be tasks and daily stuff.

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Inside, on the left, I made a pocket for calendars so I can switch them out, with the lower purple area (an envelope) to put in my goals. This is printed and slipped in, but I can also include the minor goals in the same pocket.

The right side includes bills for the month (printed on a card), with post it notes for ideas that I can paste onto pages for my task list. I will also include a page for writing word counts, minutes of exercise, and weight changes.

I’ll be sharing my blog planner when I finish it too.

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What I’m up to… trying to focus

findingfocusThomas Frank on YouTube “How to Focus Your Priorities and Narrow Down Your Interests – College Info Geek” really struck a chord in me. I look up tips and tricks for focus and productivity, but this video really helped me understand what I was doing wrong.

He talks about a story about Warren Buffet’s advice on prioritizing success. Basically, you make a list of the top 25 things you want to do. Now make another list of the top 5, from that list, you want to do most.

One might assume you focus on the top 5, putting aside the rest for later, but the advice is that you don’t- you avoid the rest at all cost. It distracts you from those top 5 things.

taskThis was serendipitous for me since I’ve had issues focusing and having too much to do, then not doing anything. I’ve been cutting back on meetings, events, and things that don’t serve me in the long run.

Give yourself fewer choices. Too many choices tends to cause indecision for people, according to the Paradox of Choice. (see his video here).

I’ll be posting more in the way of current events, but in the meantime, this is what I’ve done lately;

  • Compiled and published a Writer’s Planner, which is for sale for $2.99. This is for printing, cutting out, and adding to any composition notebook to create a planner.
  • Updated my sharonpoffinber.com web site by switching from a paid hosting to Weebly (free). Streamlined the pages and what I’ve added.
  • Played a lot of Dragon Age Inquisition on Xbox 360.
  • Skipped Halloween/Samhain this year after being sick for so long. It worked out because we didn’t get the crowds of trick-or-treaters we did in past years.
  • Had a falling out with a friend/client over a misunderstanding. I doubt it will work out. You live and learn.
  • Put off publishing the Writer’s Group anthology until later this month. I’ll post more about this later.
  • WP_20150829_14_12_13_Pro 1Made myself a planner from a composition book. Looks good and functions great. This includes a calendar, charts to track writing, blogging, exercise, and business. It is designed for only a month, though.

Sick days….and days….and days

cat on desk

The past two months, I’ve been ridiculously sick. I’ve caught every flu or cold out there-, almost back to back. This past week, after five days of being bedridden with flu-like symptoms (and fever), I get on antibiotics, only to catch one of the worst colds ever. I’m still recovering from that- better but not back to 100%. It might takes more weeks or even months before that happens.

Needless to say, it shut my whole life down.

Such lengthy illness leaves one rather isolated because no one wants to get the cold/flu cooties. And I don’t like to talk about sickness or my troubles, but when it engulfs your life so completely, there’s little else to talk about- unless you want to know all the movies and T.V. shows I watched while stuck in bed. I could barely talk on the phone due to the congestion, so I’m left with the Internet as my only friend.

So I think I’m finally on the mend. I’m on day six of antibiotics, still working the muck out of my body, and struggling to get my life back on track. (Of course, somehow I managed to get this horrible crick in my neck, which I think came from coughing so violently the other night….ugh@ being sick).

I’m no longer contagious, and I’m sure I won’t take my health for granted for a long time to come.

 

 

First Day of Homeschool

PS_20150901103547Unlike the public school folks, homeschoolers can start a bit later. And today, one day after Labor Day, seemed fitting to get started with Grade 10.

Generally I schedule for the week over the previous weekend. This lets me plan ahead, juggle a schedule, fit in field trips and appointments, as well as meetings and other things that pop up. This week, he has scouts, doing yard work (which was yesterday), and I have meetings at various times. This means I have to plan ahead so he does assignments on his own, and I check them when I get back.

Wednesdays are easy days. He has scouts in the evenings and because we do homeschool in the evenings, I set only his Spanish lesson, writing, and daily journal for the day. Bear in mind, we also do things on the weekends sometimes. I even allow my son to trade days if he wants a weekday off.

So this year, we’re returning to the fun of exploring geography with hands on activities. We pick a country and explore arts, crafts, cooking, language, monuments, and the country’s history. We already covered Russia in the way of history via World War I, but this time we get to plunge a bit more in depth with its origins and culture. Dan picks out the recipes, and we’re trying to decide between Kalduny, Kotlety, or Pirozhki. For art, we might explore Faberge eggs, but we already learn about him a bit earlier. We could work on Russian Artists, and explore their style, or even explore Russian composers. We might also learn about the ballet in Russia, or try our hand at Russian folk dance. There’s myth and legends, such as Baba Yaga, the witch with a house that runs on chicken legs.

So much to explore.

We’ll be doing similar things with other countries.ww2Poster.Mock.2015.FINAL

History will include World History of World War II. This fits in great, since we’ll be attending a WWII re-enactment event in our town in October. There’s music, art, the war, technology, and medicine to learn in this time frame. We watch documentaries, read textbooks, and visit museums.

We went to the WWII weekend before and found it very fun. They had camps setup at the park of Polish, American, Russian, and other groups dressed as the soldiers of the WWII. They have a fashion show, and I remember a tent where you learned about the medical on the field of battle.

Social Studies also covers American history and Community which he gets plenty through the various topics we cover over the school year. As a Scout he regularly partakes on social events.

As for art, I want Dan to explore art journaling. Basically, we learn various techniques and he gets to try them in a journal. He doesn’t seem to like doing art, but I hope he can have fun with it. I’ve started an art journal playlist on Youtube where I collected some techniques and tutorials.

Music will include from the countries we learn (cultural music and composers), styles of music, and how music impacted our history.

Writing is also not his thing, but I’ve told him a hundred times that he needs it as a skill. We’re back into spelling, where he must look up word meaning, write out sentences, and utilize new words into his vocabulary. He will also keep a daily journal, and he will do regular reports, essays, and fiction pieces. Considering how he doesn’t enjoy it, he does have a natural flair for story telling, creative ideas, and even writes well. Spelling…well, not so good, but neither was I at that age.

Tomorrow I get his textbooks on Math and Science. We’ll be exploring Algebra, Economics, Biology, Earth/Space, and some Environmental Science. He likes Physics too.

For extracurricular, Dan picked Videography. We’ll be making and editing videos, maybe even trying out hand at special effects. He also agreed that he should learn computer repair since his laptop had issues the other day. I can teach him what I know. I think I still have my computer repair textbooks from the classes I took.

So it will be a busy year, but hopefully a fun, educational one.

Homeschool Update: We passed 9th grade

Homeschool9thWe passed the 9th grade, and now enjoy our summer vacation. Many homeschoolers continue to learn through the summertime, but I wanted to enjoy something of a vacation for a while. This means no homeschool planning for a month. This is vacation for me. Winking smile

Since we switched from the Board of Education reviews, the experience is far less stressful. We review twice a year; once in January, and the last review is in July. It means a bit longer school year, but we tend to start a bit later too.

With homeschool, I now have to maintain a transcript of his grades. We also started to consider the path to college. We even spoke to a college funding consultant (a friend of mine who does this for a living), and she’s helping with preparing him for college soon.

So I can now focus on other things, and Daniel can chill for a while until the school year starts. I might have to take up a reading list this summer, or learn a hobby to keep him from being bored.

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SharonPoffinberger.com

I felt it was time to retire Frootbat31.net and move on to SharonPoffinberger.com, to make it more official now that I have books published, and getting out there to the public. The anonymity felt like a comfy blanket to hide beneath, but it is time to embrace challenges.

I’m still fixing the web site domain to point at the correct site, and re-furbishing the site for updates and better navigation. It’ll be done soon.