Welcome to our State of the Blog report for February 2017, the month we more or less took off to go fishing.
Okay, so I didn’t so much go fishing as hibernate for a while. I’ve been struggling for a while with stress, maybe even depression. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I did know that I needed a little break. So I took one. I split my time between work and Little Bit, who was on her three-week winter break. And mostly I was feeling back to normal again, right up until the moment I backed into some poor little old lady’s car yesterday.
No excuses. I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Fortunately, no one was injured.
In one moment, all the stress came flooding back in, as well as a fair amount of guilt. Now it’s just a matter of paying for the damage. I need a new tail light assembly, which I was able to order from Amazon for a reasonable cost, but I’m still waiting on an estimate for the other car.
We took almost a month off, and people still came and looked at our site, at least a little bit. We put the posts and the newsletter on pause, but we should be back to normal this week.,
I’m thinking about shaking our posting schedule up a bit., While I’ll keep to my Monday/Thursday this week, I’m moving my new post days to Tuesday/Friday going forward. I’m hoping that by moving my deadline away from the weekend, I can decompress a little better on Sundays.
February’s Reading List
So while I wasn’t blogging, what was I doing?
I read a bunch. Mostly good books, but looking back the books may have been reinforcing problems rather than providing a break from them.
The Handmaid’s Tale: Because dystopian feminist novels seem way too relevant.
The Girl with All the Gifts: See above, only R.E. zombie apocalypse novels.
Station Eleven: More dystopia.
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Interesting historical and historiographical perspectives. The idea that we teach American history as a series of hero stories (where Americans are always heroes, as is America and the American government) to our middle school and high school seems to explain a lot about why people think the things they think. Do other countries teach their histories like that? Or do they confront their ugly (or even just realpolitik) truths a little more clearly?
In Farleigh Field: Because I have a World War II obsession and Home Fires doesn’t come back to PBS til next month. Also, because it was part of the Kindle First program, and I like Rhys Bowen’s other books.
The Hanging Tree: What could be better than this series that combines police procedurals and wizards? Not much.
I’m also rereading Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone to Little Bit each night.
The Broken Band
As so often happens, I let a little thing derail me from my exercise goals and didn’t readjust. This time, it was a wristband.
I’ve had my Fitbit Charge for 13 months, and over the last 5 or so months, the band has been peeling off the Fitbit. In October, I picked up a band guard to help keep the wristband intact. Because evidently, you can’t just replace a band for a Fitbit Charge.
In February, about a month after the warranty expired, the band came off completely in spite of the band guard. No more alarms to prompt me to stand up during the day. No more step tracking or any of the other things that were helping me stay focused on exercise.
So I stopped exercising for a couple of weeks.
Why that setback kicked me off the elliptical machine, I don’t know. I suspect it had to do with the same state of mind that decided to just give the blog a three-week break. At any rate, I did go for a walk this week and jumped on the stationary bike once. Not my 4-day–a-week goal, but I feel like I at least am trying to rebound.
The Rest of the To-Do List
As for the rest of the to-do list, I still largely gave up sweets during the week (except when someone put a piece of cake in front of me, or pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.) So that’s at least a little bit of Live Healthier.
To improve financial health, I completed our partnership returns if not our personal returns.
But there was little in the way of blogging and blog improvement last month, and there wasn’t much doing good things other than attending a couple of meetings at church.
For March, I’m trying to get back to the exercise goals (4 times a week), continue with the sweet limitations, take a dang blog class, and do at least one volunteer thing that’s not just teaching Sunday School.
That leaves financial health, and mostly I need to make a decision about how to handle a couple of IRAs. Or rather, I need to act on the decision I’ve already made to move them into Vanguard with most of the rest of my accounts.
Little Bit goes to a year-round school, and she just finished up her winter break.
For the first time in a year, we spent all break in Raleigh. Fortunately, so did a bunch of her friends. She got to enjoy a friend’s birthday party, playdates, theater class, Girl Scouts, and a tour of a bunch of the local parks with her dad during a surprisingly mild February.
Also, she went to the library, a trip to the art museum, and Lego Batman. (She and Jon both said Lego Batman was fun. They’ve also found a new favorite movie theater that sounds a little nicer than the one we usually visit.)
She even got me playing Minecraft, her latest video game obsession. All in all, this was probably our cheapest track-out yet, since almost all of the activities (except Lego Batman and a carousel ride at Pullen Park) cost nothing.
A Shopping Trip
Little Bit and I even took a quick shopping trip after we realized that she had outgrown about half her summer clothes.
For several years, I’ve happily bought Little Bit most of her clothes at Kohl’s. But now both her body and her tastes are phasing out of the brand I’ve purchased since she was a toddler, and I need a new reliable source of age-appropriate clothes.
I hadn’t been to the Children’s Place before, but I subscribed to their emails a while ago. And since they seemed to have a really good deal this past weekend, we decided to give them a try. Their clothes seemed a bit less dominated by the pink and princessy than what we’d been buying. And we were really happy with the selection, the prices, and the fact that we got $20 bucks in Place Cash to spend next month while only spending $50 on 5 tees, a dress, and some sparkly silver shoes with little heels.
She’s incredibly happy (if noisy) clomping down the hall wearing those new shoes.
Wrapping Up February 2017
Again, glad the month is over. I have less reason for stress now than at the beginning of the month, and I’m sure I will eventually shake off the fender bender. (which is really a March problem) And I actually do have a couple of articles in the pipeline, even if I haven’t started them yet.
So how did February go for you? Or any good reading suggestions? (Just downloaded A People’s History of the United States)