Weekly Spread: February 24th to March 2nd

Last week I introduced you to a technique I am using to work on my relationship with time for the purposes of mental health and self care. You can check that first post out here: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/meowing/2019/2/18/weekly-spread-february-17th-to-23rd

Last Week

Here’s the completed version of last week’s spread:

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It looks like I was pretty negligent on my hobbies, so I need to aim for a bit more balance. I ended up adding things to my weekly to-do list, but I checked off more than I thought I would. So, I’ve made a few more slots on the list, but left some of them blank to be filled in over the next couple days. I met my goals for steps, level up life and page views, so I can up my expectations on those a bit. It seems my EBT skills (the graph) drop off on Thursday/Friday which is something to be mindful of.

This Week

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Layout:

Overall, I think last week’s layout worked pretty well. I didn’t use the schedule area (Sun, Mon, etc… beneath the calendar) so I shrunk that area and added a larger sticker. I added an “email” goal bar as I’m trying to clean out my inbox.

I shortened the Self Care area, as I had too many goals. I also increased the blog area.

Goals:

  1. Reduce E-mail Clutter: My inbox is overflowing. This week I want to drop the Google-labeled “important” e-mails from 560 to 510. So handling 50 e-mails.

  2. For my work-based health programs, I plan on walking 52,000 steps this week, doing three sessions of 11 minutes of stretching exercises, taking three mindful walks, getting at least six hours of sleep on five different nights and completing one activity for my Hooswell “Journey”.

  3. In my hobbies, I’d like to spend time playing The Sims, practicing doodling, organizing my Disney pin collection, and working on my next session of Dungeons and Dragons.

  4. For my self care goals this week I’d like to do:

    1. One meditation exercise

    2. 3 extra “5 minute pickups” to help with decluttering

    3. Play a game on Steam that is not Civilization

    4. Complete one task for tax preparation

    5. Start keeping track of my water intake in the Fitbit app

  5. I still need to give you a post about the “Level Up Life” app, but my goal in there this week is to earn 300 additional XP.

  6. I’m starting my next class series with EBT from a local provider, so keeping track of my check-ins and joy points (two EBT techniques) has become a priority. I’m hoping to get more of each this week.

  7. I’ve made a more specific list of things I want to achieve this week. In future week’s, I may do each task more than once per week, but for now I’m setting my goal at just once per week and see what happens.

Thank you for being my accountability! ;) What are your goals for this week? Are there any topics/tasks/goals from above that you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments!

Connections2: Round 1- Early spring with the Keye family!

Hi!!! Thank you for reading. I really appreciate it. I also really appreciate comments, so please feel free to leave one below.

This is the first post of my new Sims series and challenge- Connections. Connections is a rotational style of gameplay with a twist. With the exception of the first house, each household that you play is determined by the relationships with the preexisting households. I will get into the details of that when we switch families.

This challenge is mostly about premade Sims that come with the game. I wanted to keep with that theme when I chose my first family. I decided on the Keye family from the Parenthood DLC trailer. I downloaded both this Maxis made family, and the Maxis made house from the trailer from the Gallery.

A few notes about how I play before I begin. First, I don’t use any custom content or mods. Second, I typically don’t use cheats. I used the money cheat with this family so I could set them up with their new home, but I do not anticipate using cheats in the future unless I need to recover from a glitch. Lastly, I typically let my Sims control the story, doing what they wish to do, fulfilling their aspirations, and responding to their actions and decisions. For some added drama, I may choose to add a randomly generated table of life events to subsequent rounds. It was not, however, used in this round.

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The Keye family has just moved into the region. They are the first house in a new area being developed known as Newcrest. There isn’t much in the way of places to visit or neighbors to get to know, but they did get a lovely new home. They are keeping their fingers crossed that more people start to move to the area soon.

Their home is a very spacious two floor with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and plenty of living space. Plenty of space is important for this growing family! A large inheritance allowed them to make this move and they are so grateful for their new life.

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Karlie is a dedicated mother and home provider. She loves cooking, food, parenting, her husband, her kids, being involved and television shows. She has a reputation for being kind and loving. She does have a bit of a perfectionist streak, however.

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Jaylen, Karlie’s husband, is a bit of a couch potato, honestly. He’s not the tidiest person either. He’s also quite clumsy. Fortunately for him, Karlie finds all of it quite lovable. Jaylen loves collecting things and plants. He’s currently making his way as a gardener.

Lori is their creative and well-mannered daughter. While polite and fairly responsible, Lori struggles with controlling her emotions. She tends to be a rather gloomy individual, and she is known to be the jealous type. She has a natural artistic talent and a wonderful imagination. She’s also very kind and attentive to her younger sisters. She’s currently going through a bit of a loud phase and music can frequently be heard pulsing from her room.

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Abbey Keye is innocent, perpetually cheerful and always does her homework. She’s energetic and loves to play outside. She is always trying to help her mother take care of her younger sister.

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Lastly, we have Aria Troublemaker Extraordinaire. Aria can be found playing in the toilet, making messes all over the house, or running naked outside. She’s always angry about something and doesn’t like to sleep during the same hours when everyone else is sleeping. She’s strong, fast and always needs to be moving. She prefers running around the house seeing what everyone else is doing and what is going on over actually sitting and playing with her toys.

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During the first half of spring, in the Keye household, most of the time was spent taking care of Aria. All of Karlie’s attention was on keeping up with the little bubble of energy. Despite Karlie’s best intentions, she couldn’t find enough time and energy in the day to really help Lori and Abbey adjust to their new school the way she had hoped she would.

Aria was pretty eager to learn to run and climb, and to go potty on her own. Karlie enthusiastically helped her to do those things. Communicating was of less interest to Aria, but Karlie made sure they worked on those a bit here and there.

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Some days, Karlie could barely keep up. The family had to fend for themselves with whatever was in the fridge as Karlie had no time to make dinner. Piles of dirty dishes littered the living room coffee table. Aria’s high chair was covered in…Aria mess. And Karlie barely had time to throw together a sandwich to keep herself going. Ahh, the joys of motherhood!

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This giant amazing house has given Lori the luxury of her own bathroom, a teenage girl’s dream. Unfortunately, an awesome house does not make up for the struggles and anxieties of moving to a new school. Lori still has no friends at her new school and is struggling to get ahead in her classes. Those stressors plus a predisposition to be gloomy, toss in a general bad day and you have a recipe for crying in the bathtub all evening. So heartbreaking!

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Of course, the sisters have been there for each other this whole time. Even little Aria who loves to dance her heart out in Lori’s room to Lori’s favorite bands. Aria, Abbey and Lori have become closer while adjusting to this new place, finding friendship in each other while friendships outside the family are lacking.

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Karlie and Jaylen decided to have yet another kiddo,. Sure, their family was a little chaotic, but they loved it that way. Aria was going to be transitioning to a child soon, so Karlie was optimistic she could handle another toddler. While Jaylen and Karlie found keeping up with Aria to be exhausting, they also found it very joyful. They are always happy!

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Some days things went well. Some days Aria and Karlie were able to eat breakfast at the same time, at the table and the table was clean! These were good days.

As Aria grows older and is able to communicate, it has become clear that Abbey aspires to be as good of a big sister as Lori is to her.

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Finally, the day arrives. Karlie gives birth in the hospital with Jaylen by her side to yet another girl. They name this one Krista. The new parents are ever so excited to have expanded their family yet again.

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Jaylen offers to take over all the parenting for a day so that Karlie can get out of the house and make some new friends in the area. She joins the Upper Crusts so she can hang out with fellow foodies (such as Clara and Hugo, pictured above). She also gets invited by a random elderly lady named Antoinette to a lounge for drinks and karaoke. Antoinette invited her to a party after the lounge, but it was already midnight and Karlie was partied out.

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Shortly after the birth of Krista, it was Aria’s turn to transition into a child. The birthday festivities were small given the lack of friends the family had made, and because they had a new born.

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As it turns out, Aria’s wild antics might not be over yet. As a child, Aria is hot-headed with poor conflict resolution skills. Not entirely unexpected given her personality as a toddler, but will her fiery temper cause some drama in this perfectly peaceful household?

Weekly Spread: February 17th to 23rd

One of my greatest tools for self care and mental health is my Bullet Journal. I tend to keep my Bullet Journal pretty simple, like the original method by Ryder Carroll, with the focus more on planning, goal setting and self-reflection. While I sometimes use washi tape or stickers, or add in the occasional doodle, those only happen when I have time and/or a creative outlet is beneficial for me at that time.

By recording what I expect to do every day and what I actually did on any given day and then comparing the two, I’ve been able to adjust the expectations I have on myself. On a day to day basis, I’m kinder to my self and I’m finding more balance in my life.

I still have time struggles, though, particularly on weekends and with my overall picture of what I am accomplishing on a larger scale. Effectively, my life to-do list is long and ever-growing, even though on a day to day basis I’m forming more reasonable expectations. My therapist has suggested that I start applying the methods I use for day to day on the scale of a week.

Weekly Spreads are a pretty common thing in the Bullet Journal community. I’m trying to keep my new weekly spreads simple while motivating. I’m trying divide my goals by category to help give me an idea of balance. The goals side of my spread involves a lot of self care. I keep a separate work Bullet Journal as I have a 40hr/week job that has plenty of responsibilities and such to keep track of.

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The idea is that when I go to create my new weekly spread, I review the old one. If I didn’t finish a group of goals or tasks, I try reducing the amount a bit or relocating things that are less important to the monthly list. For things that I did well in and can push myself to do more (steps, sleep, etc…), I’ll increase the amount or add more tasks.

This week I have some to-do list tasks plus a variety of goals. I have health goals for the programs at my workplace that I participate in. I created a list of self care tasks based upon the self care categories I recently identified in my research (post about this coming soon). I think the list might be a bit too long, but there were 9 categories and I couldn’t choose. I’ll see how many I get done and adjust accordingly.

Level Up Life is an app that awards you XP (experience points and stats, like a roleplaying game) for completing various activities to improve your life. I increased my XP goal for this week based on what I earned last week. However, on Sunday I purchased a plant for my home which corresponded to a significant XP gain. So, I’ve already completed my weekly goal!

I have a list of blog tasks I need to complete, and I’m going to try to check off three of them this week. In addition to this post, I have 3 more in the works (categories of self care, day zero of our WDW vacation, and a Sims post). I’m also tracking a stat for the first time in awhile.

What are your goals for the week? Do you use a weekly spread?

Sorcerer Catnerd! I won a giveaway!

A generous artist, lovely person and fellow Simmer created this portrait of me (and add quite a bit of Disney flair) after I won a giveaway she had on Twitter.

It’s beautifully done, and a pretty good likeness, I think.

I encourage you to follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/legasimmer.

And to check out her gallery of work. She does take commissions! https://legasimmer.wixsite.com/gallery/gallery She has lots of pricing options, and her prices a quite reasonable. The prices are also listed on the site, so no awkward e-mails!

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Back from Walt Disney World & Upcoming Blog Posts

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Today I’m transitioning from Vacation Mode to Routine Mode, as last night I got back from 10 nights in Disney World. I had a great time in a magical place with some amazingly lovely friends who were excellent to tour with. It was my first time to the World with friends, and my fourth trip as an adult. My transition is even harder this year as I do not know when my next trip to the world will be, as we currently have no trips planned. I definitely will be back- it’s my happy place- but I don’t know how soon.

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I have plans to do a day by day trip report here with our experiences as well as some tips and recommendations for your own travels to WDW. If there is anything you’d like me to talk about in those posts (Toy Story Land, restaurant reviews, merchandise, how to prepare for a trip, or any questions you have about Disney, really) please leave a comment below! I love helping people plan their future experiences in WDW, and talking about all things Disney!

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Aside from my trip report posts, I’ve got a lot on my mind for upcoming posts:

  • Establishing an improved Self Care routine: My mental health hasn’t been the greatest these past several weeks. I think I need to make self care a priority. I’m going to do some research on the different categories of self care (physical, emotional, psychological, social etc…) and establish a weekly routine for addressing my needs.

  • Related to the above, in WDW I got a new notebook perfect for recording daily intentions and gratitude journaling. I will discuss my plans for this.

  • Disney Souvenir hail: Pins!!! Plus a few other things (like earrings and a cute purse) that I got in WDW.

  • Goals: Now that my vacations over, I can focus on the fact that it is a new year and I only recently started a new bullet journal. I have goals this year to improve my cooking skills and learning to draw.

  • Bullet Journal Spreads?

  • What podcasts I am listening to/podcast recommendations

  • Reblogging old posts

  • A Sims story? My new self care routine should involve more time for gaming, which means I will have Sim stories to tell.

  • Other things I might touch on- WDW news, journaling, depression, anxiety, pets, games, apps, books, penpalling

If there is something from the above list that really appeals to you, dear reader, please let me know and I’ll do my best to make it one of my priorities. While I blog for me, I do enjoy engaging with my readers so if something sparks your interest, we can have a conversation about it!

I hope you have a magical week!

What I'm Listening to This Week, Spotlight on: The NoSleep Podcast.

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Last week, I shared my love of podcasts and my playlist for the week in this post. Today, I’m going to begin by highlighting one of my favorite podcasts before sharing this week’s list which includes some new entries!

Spotlight: The NoSleep Podcast

The NoSleep podcast was one of the first fiction podcasts I listened to several years ago. Since I started listening, it has remained consistently on my playlist. I consider it a “must listen” and a staple for me.

Before I listened to NoSleep, I didn’t consider myself a horror fan. Horror movies have never interested me, and I don’t typically find them scary. Jump scares and gore aren’t things I enjoy. However, I love ghost stories, creepy tales, murder mysteries and the like. As it turns out, I am a fan of horror- just when it is done for my ears and imagination, not the screen. Thanks to NoSleep, I’ve searched for other horror audio dramas, seek out horror creators, and consider myself a fan of the genre. It’s opened up a new world of fiction to me.

The NoSleep podcast airs weekly and is collection of short scary stories- there is usually a few per episode. It’s is very well edited and produced and the voice acting is truly excellent. Here is a blurb from their about page:

In the spring of 2010, a new forum appeared on Reddit.com. It was called “Nosleep” and the concept of this forum (or “subreddit”) was to be a place for people to post original scary stories about frightening experiences. It was an online version of telling spooky stories around the campfire.

A year later, as Nosleep was growing at a rapid pace, one member named Matt Hansen proposed the idea of doing a podcast where some of the top stories from Nosleep would be narrated in audiobook style. The response was quite positive and over the next few months a small group of members endeavored to put together what would come to be known as The Nosleep Podcast. On June 13th, 2011 Episode #1 was released.

I highly recommend it for mature audiences who are able to handle a good scare.

Here’s what I am listening to this week:

  1. Season 12, Episode 1 of The NoSleep Podcast

  2. Episode 308 of Tanis

  3. Season 3, Episode 4 of Wooden Overcoats

  4. Season 2, Episode 11 of In the Dark

  5. Chapter 9, Part 2 of We’re Alive

  6. Episode 79 of Radio Harambe

  7. The Wicked Library’s “A Job’s a Job”

  8. Season 2, Episode 2 of Lake Clarity

  9. Season 2, Episode 2.5 of Limetown

  10. WDW Ride Guide Podcast on Star Tours

  11. Season 1, Episode 2 of Gone Cold

  12. Episode 206 of Angry Old Men

  13. Season 1, Episode 1 of Munchen, Minnesota

New to the List

Last week I listened to the first episode of gone cold- Texas true crime because they followed me on Twitter, and I like true crime. Well, the episode was very nicely produced and pretty interesting. They gave a lot of backstory about the location before getting into the crime, which I greatly enjoyed. I will be giving episode 2 a listen this week.

Last week, I didn’t have enough podcasts in the queue, and I also listened to the last available episodes of Subject: Found and Alba Salix. So this week, I’ll be adding 2 new podcasts to the list: the Angry Old Man podcast, and Munchen, Minnesota. They both brought themselves to my attention through Twitter, and I’m excited to listen as I know very little about either of them.

Angry Old Man looks to be an improv comedy podcast. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t find the first episode, or an introduction/”start here” episode. I’m doubtful that this podcast will be something that remains on my list long term. Improv comedy podcasts don’t tend to be my thing, but I will listen with an open-mind.

Munchen Minnesota, on the other hand, is an supernatural audio drama which seems right up my alley.

What are you listening to this week?

Podcast Recommendations: What I'm Listening to this Week!

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I have a great fondness for podcasts, particularly audio dramas. Listening to a well-edited, engrossing story helps any repetitive work task become a joy. As a laboratory specialist in a science lab, I spend a lot of time doing repetitive tasks by myself.

Because I adore podcasts so much, I’d like to write more about them here on my blog. I would love to have a conversation with you, dear reader, about the sorts of podcasts you like. I’m always looking for podcast recommendations.

In fact, remaining on my podcast list week after week is a bit of a challenge for the podcasts. I’m pretty ruthless with what actually gets a listen. Each week, I evaluate to see if there are any podcasts I want to cut off the list and replace with something else from my long list of podcasts I’m interested in. I don’t have enough time to listen to all the podcasts, so I pick and choose carefully.

My favorite pods are often fiction, but I also love longform journalism, true crime and Disney park planning. I will give any genre a chance though.

In the future, I plan to spotlight some of the podcasts I listen to. But for now, here is my current playlist for the next week.

Here’s what I am listening to this week:

  1. The Season 11 finale of The No Sleep Podcast

  2. Episode 307 of TANIS

  3. Season 3, Episode 3 of Wooden Overcoats

  4. Subject: Found Season 2 finale

  5. Episode 10 of Season 2 of In The Dark

  6. Chapter 9, Part 1 of We’re Alive

  7. The Season 2 finale of Alba Salix: Royal Physician

  8. An older episode of Radio Harambe- #67

  9. The Wicked Library’s episode entitled “The Screen Play”

  10. The first episode of the second season of Lake Clarity

  11. Limetown’s back and I’m on Episode 2 of Season 2

  12. WDW Ride Guide Podcast- Living with the Land

New Podcast I’m checking out this week: gone cold- Texas true crime

These folks took the time and effort to find and follow me on Twitter, so I’m going to check them out this week. starting with what I believe is their first episode: Carla Walker Episode 1

What are you listening to now? Do you have any recommendations?

Mobile Game Recommendation: Hungry Hearts Diner (free)

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity with both joyful times and sad times. Our two elderly cats (18 & 19 years old) passed away from very different reasons just over a month apart from each other. Before they passed, each needed lots of individual care and attention, and trips to the vet. Aside from the passing of Whisket and Dixee, we both had a lot going on at work and that led to many late nights getting home since we carpool. There were some joyous times as well, though, we had my parents out for Thanksgiving week, we had a Pathfinder RPG session, and we went home for a couple days to celebrate Christmas!

Before we left for home, I downloaded a few mobile games on to my tablet. I rarely play mobile games, but my desktop PC cannot come with me when I travel! One of those games was a free “Editor’s Choice” simulation game called Hungry Hearts Diner: A Tale of Star-Crossed Souls. The game had 4.9 out of 5 stars. The reviews included things like “relaxing”, “heartfelt”, “great story” and “beautiful”. I’m all about story, and love beautiful indie games, so I was intrigued and downloaded it. I’m so glad I did!

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The mechanics are a cooking-style game. However, the play is less about time and more about strategy of meal selection. There was no rushing and being overwhelmed by a timer. This game is slow-paced and thoughtful. I chose the dishes that would lead to my customer’s happiness, and that was what mattered the most. The mechanics are very simple, fairly intuitive and it is easy to play.

As you satisfy your customer’s culinary desires, you unlock their story through a conversation with them. The stories are dialogue-based, and for me they were just the right length. There was no “wall of text” but there was enough in each conversation for me to feel for the characters, and to compel me to learn more.

The only downside of this game is the stories are too short! I want more of this game, and I am so sad I am almost done with it and that there isn’t a sequel. Still, I’m super glad I found it. I loved it, and would highly recommend it to anyone enjoys cute stories and casual, easy games!

Connections: Venessa Jeong (Early Fall 02)

Last Time: I introduced Venessa and she landed her first gig as an actress. Time to go on set!

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It was Venessa’s very first day of paid acting. She was nervous, but mostly excited. Her life long dream was becoming a reality. The first thing she did when she arrived was have her makeup and hair done.

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She was totally amazed at the transformation. She looked like a totally different person! The next step was to get into costume.

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And before long she had transformed into a pirate. ready to take to the high seas.

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Her first shoot went great! It was a whirlwind (and we forgot to take more photos), but it was amazing! Venessa mets loads of really interesting people and had a lot of fun. She was going to another audition as soon as she could.

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Venessa has her sights on another audition. For her next audition, and she suspects many future auditions, it’s going to be important to keep up her strength and fitness. What if a role requires dancing, for instance? She decided she needed to do more than just jogging and went to the gym.

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At the gym, she made quite the fool of herself in front of a very nice (and cute) gym trainer named Don. Despite her failures, Don was helpful and encouraging. Don and Venessa were actually getting along quite well.

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Venessa is continuing to build her social media presence which sometimes includes fierce bathroom selfies.

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As I mentioned last time, Venessa loves people but doesn’t have any friends in the area. Venessa has been chatting with everyone she meets to remedy her loneliness. She is also starting a club called the “Actor’s Guild” for local actors.

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She even invited her gym trainer over to her house to hang out. She wasn’t sure if he’d be interested, but to her surprise he enthusiastically accepted her invitation…

Next Time: Hanging out with Don and the next audition.