ICSEW Conference

ICSEW Conference

I started my little blog, and then kind of abandoned it.  That wasn’t my intention, but figuring out what I want to do with this space is a bit of a challenge.

Today I have an update on a something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but haven’t taken any action on.  There’s a group that I’ve been interested in called the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women (ICSEW).  Today was their annual conference, and I got permission from my boss, signed up and paid my entry fee, and off I went!  I don’t go to a lot of professional conferences, so this was pushing my boundaries.  I didn’t know anyone else that was going, and so was totally on my own.

Over the course of the day I saw a few faces that I recognized, but as far as I could tell, I was the only person from my administration to attend the event.  I saw other parts of my agency well represented, but I guess my area could use some work.

My biggest take away from the panels I attended today was the importance of listening.  As my improv teach often quotes from this book, “listening is all there is.”  It’s so simple, but so hard to achieve.  It’s the basis of trusting relationships, of understanding other points of view, and staying focused on the world around you.  Each other speakers today spoke of the importance of listening and how poorly a lot of us are at it.

I know I’m still improving.  Especially listening over the phone.  There are so many distractions that I can let myself be ruled by, particularly email.  Or even just thinking ahead to what I’m going to saw next.   Which means I’m not listening.  How is my response going to be any good if I don’t hear what the person speaking is saying.  It’s a weakness of mine that needs my attention to improve.

Professional development was also a hot topic.  I got some good tips, and need to spend some time really focusing on them.  More on listening and professional development later.

Throughout the day there were references to the horrifying events that have taken place in our country since Saturday morning.  The need for inclusion and diversity cannot be overstated.  I was really heartened by all the positivity I felt today and how supportive the audience members were for these comments.

 

Hello, but Not much of an update

Hello, but Not much of an update

Hey friends!  I haven’t written anything in ages, because, well, I couldn’t think of what you’d want to read.  Then I realized, since there’s probably 4 of us, it doesn’t really matter.

I haven’t made it to the thrift store to drop off donations.  That’s a totally achievable goal, that I just haven’t made happen.

I’ve been getting in the my C25K runs in between the many raindrops.

The most progress to date has been on my the goal of knitting a sweater ….. Have I mentioned that?  I haven’t ever knitting a whole sweater, so I’ve started a baby sweater.

The pattern is from one of my favorite pattern books called, “60 quick Baby Knits.”  Since I’m on a mission to use up yarn and not buy new (with few certain exceptions). To make it, it takes a front and back rectangle that match one another.  It has a basket weave pattern on the sides, with the simple cable up the middle.  Then, place them together, pick up stitches and make sleeves, which also have a cable pattern.  The back piece is complete, so that’s 1/4 of the way done, maybe?  I have pictures, but I need to figure out how to add them.  Soon!

 

Other things that need to happen soon:  planting dahlia bulbs.  Now that the weather is starting to warm up and maybe possibly drying out there is spring planting to get done and in the ground.

For the 4 of us that are reading this, are you making progress on any of your projects and goals?

Threadcycle

Threadcycle

As I’m looking for more things to load up and take to the thrift store, I am reminded of a new-ish service in Thurston County:  Threadcycle.

Threadcycle is a clothing, textile and shoe recycling program through Thurston County Solid Waste that partners with local thift stores to keep textiles out of landfills.  Only have one sock, donate it instead of throwing it away.  Worn out shoes or gloves?  Donate them!  It’s such a cool program.  As long as it’s free from chemicals, and not wet or mildewed, they’ll take it.  Old sheets can go, too!

This bit of info of their page always give me pause, “In the United States the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing and textiles a year.”  70 pounds! That’s more than the checked baggage allowance on an airline flight.  That’s more than what a Kindergartner weighs (maybe? I’m guessing here).  It’s around the size of a full grown Labrador or German Sheppard.

I’m astonished we could have so many textiles per person to get rid of.  Then I think of books like “Overdressed: The High Cost of Fast Fashion” and “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster” that describe the radical change the clothing industry has gone through in the last 20 to 30 years.  The shift of manufacturing to overseas factories with lower costs lead to a spike in clothing that was cheaply made and and could be changed out swiftly.  It also cost less to purchase, making it more accessible to a broad clientele.

The result is we end up buying more clothing than we need, because it’s fun and doesn’t feel like it’s breaking the bank.  Also because we have a need to be on point and fashion forward, even if that means we only wear the item for one season, or even just one time.

While it’s always better to reduce than recycle, the Threadcycle folks make their program each to access.  According to the information on the website, you don’t have to sort your items specially, just drop them off like you would anything else to a designated partner location.  (Personally, I do set aside a bag for the Threadcycle items, but that’s just how I am.)

So maybe give a thought as you are cleaning out those closets and drawers, instead of tossing the old, worn out clothes in the trash, toss them in a bag and let them be recycled into a new life.

Time

Time

I’ve been meaning to share this TedTalk on time (it isn’t very long) and how we use it.  We do what we prioritize.  We also do what we write down.  We like to measure our accomplishments (think regularly weigh ins on your scale).   This video covers it all – basically, in one week we have 168 hours (24 hours x 7 days) at our disposal.  Figure we spend 40 hours at work and 40 hours asleep (if we are that lucky), then that means we are left with 88 hours for other things we want to do!

Okay, so that’s an overstatement.  In order to get to our 40 hour minimum per week job, most of us have a commute, so we lose maybe 10 hours a week to that.  Okay, 78 hours!

Grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, housekeeping, and pet care take up additional time, but the whole point is that we have more time than we realize.  I know I frequently lose time on Facebook or playing a silly tapping game  on my phone.  When I sit down to figure out how to spend my time, much like when I figure out how to spend my money, I realize I can do more than I thought, just by paying attention and making something a priority.

Lots of nights after work, I just don’t want to do anything.  Just go home and hang out with my cat, crafts, and the internet.  The result is that I lose out on all sorts of neat opportunities.  In the last few months I have prioritized taking some classes at my local community center, the first was an improv class, the second an art/journaling class, and then another improv.  These have been great for me since they are stretching my comfort zone.

It can be hard to leave home after work to go and do things, but it’s so worth it.  And even if you don’t think you have the time, you really probably do.

You Do What You Priotize

You Do What You Priotize

I have many things in my home.  So many things.  Things I love, things I thought I would love, and things I just don’t know what to do with anymore.  I have a particular room that just collects…stuff.  Tonight I was looking in that room and I realized that there were bags and boxes of items that I thought had gone away and been donated.  Apparently not.  I appear to have only moved the item to a less traveled space in  my home, and left it there.  I found a pair of shoes that I wore about 7 years ago, that I thought were log gone in a bag.  Whoops.  So, new priority for the week:  clear out the things that I thought were already gone.

Do you find that sometimes there is a particular step in a process that you struggle with?  I often find that actually loading things into the car and taking them to Goodwill, Value Village or other donation location is the hardest part.  I’m not sure why – partly because I don’t do it often and so it feels very difficult (but it’s really not, at all).  Sometimes I feel like I’ll be judged for what I am bringing to donate, or that I’ll be seen as having too much.  The Task of driving things I no longer want or need seems to be the hardest thing to do.  I’m sure there’s some sort of psychological reason for what I dread this Task.

In the past I read book by Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up (I’ve currently forgotten the title).  I need to read that book again and apply some of her lessons to my house.

In other goals news:

Ember:  I’ve been practicing carrying Ember in his cat carrier.  He gets treats in his crate, and we have worked up to closing the door and moving around the house without too much difficulty.  Recently though, I loaded him into the crate and carried him out to the car.  I only set the crate in the car for a few seconds before bringing him back inside, but that was enough to scare him.  however, i don’t think it was too terrible, because he was willing to take a treat from the from of the carrier afterwards.

Running: This weekend was Week 3, day 1 of the C25K!  I’m 1/4 of the way through the training schedule, and mostly it still feels pretty easy.  I took it easy because it was early in the morning, and because I was out with my sweetie.  He’s never done a run before, and I’ve been running off and on for several years.  I didn’t want to overdo things for either of us.  The whole “easy” part will probably last through this week… then next week it jumps up to 5 minute jobs.  But hey, we got this!

Goals!

Goals!

There are a lot of things that I have wanted to work on and improve, that I am hoping this blog will help me achieve.  One of my goals is:

Running! –  After completing a half-marathon last year, I ended up with plantar faciitis.  Not fun!  It involved weeks of painful walking, the loss of cute shoes, and a needle in the sole of my foot.  Now that it has been several months, I’m looking to get back in the habit.  I’m signed up for a 5k race in Disneyland (!!!) in November, as well as the local Turkey Trot.

There’s lots of time to build up to something as managable as a 5k, but I want to make sure my feet can handle it, and I can take breaks in training in needed.  So far I am up to week 2, day 2 of the Couch to 5K App.  C25K is the tool I have used every time I have started running.  Yes, every time.  Since about 2010 I have been trying to be a runner, but I’ve never managed to be consistent.  Usually the event I’m working towards ends and then I get distracted or just lazy and no longer make the time a priority.  That’s the key, prioritizing time!  Next time I’ll share a video I’ve been using to help set goals.  More to come!

 

First blog post – Welcome!

First blog post – Welcome!

I’m Wendy, and this blog is where I want to break down and track goals into, you guessed it!  Small Achievable Goals!  Everything seems so huge and overwhelming at first.  Most on my mind are starting running again and working with my delightful rescue cat on some behavior training.  To do this I plan to research best practices and document my success.  I always have ideas for things I want to do, so I expect what’s covered on this lil ol’ blog will grow and change.  Savings goals, oh yeah!  Trip planning, for sure!  Learn a new skill, always!  It’s all rather amorphous and may grow into something else, but for now, it’s a way to share my thoughts on all the things I want to do, and to focus on the  small achievable goals to get there.

One of the first things I will need to break down into it’s component parts is WordPress and how to change the photo.  Raspberries while delicious, don’t really relate to my blog.  I’ll let you know what I learn next time!