Monday, April 27, 2009

April Princess Challenge

Wow. Is it bad that when you've taken so long to get back to your blog that you have to stop to remember which site it's on? :o Clearly, I haven't been keeping up with my blog, but I have many good reasons. I didn't have anything to say other than going over my goals (I've been keeping up with them, no worries!), and I've been totally swamped with work, school, and wedding plans. With the wedding only a month and a half away now (AHHHH!) and facing the hardest part of the planning for me personally, the music and choreography (harder because it means more to me and I'm doing a lot of it myself) . . . to say that it's been stressful would be an understatement. However, with that stress has come learning about myself and understanding, and so now, before I have to go and have my music critiqued by Terinati's professional cousin tonight (GACK!), I'm going to do my April Princess Challenge! :}

Princess Skye has challenged us to: "For this month’s challenge I want you to look back in time, to your childhood memories. For many of us, being a Princess may have been a young girl’s dream and others may have been more keen on Pirates and the Great Outdoors. Still, that little girl is a part of your Inner Princess, her innocence and wonder, her dreams and imaginings. Take some time this April to get in touch with her. Dig up old photos and diaries, talk to your parents about what they remember of you as a child. If you still have them, look over your favourite toys and books. Visit old places you used to live and play. Get in touch with that younger self and what she loved, dreamed of and wished for. You may like to write about some memories or share photos of your favourite possessions or of your little self!"

Breathing deep and looking back, time was definitely slower back then. I have fond memories of the California sunshine that always seemed magical, especially when I was blowing bubbles into the silent, just barely breezy air. I liked to imagine that each one, as it glided over the top of our fence, would be a wish that soared out to the person I was destined to be with someday and make him smile. Little did I know just how far away he was! I loved to run, to explore, and the scent of trees . . . Kittens were definitely one of my favorite things, and I think I was touched by a kind of innocence that allowed me to love everything around me except injustice. That's always been my hot button, and probably will be until the day I die. :} I'm not necessarily proud of that, though it has given me courage to do what's best in situations I may not have otherwise, so in a way I don't entirely regret it.

Getting older, some of my fond childhood memories after moving involved playing "Imaginary" with Athena, talking about our dreams late at night during sleepovers, and being excited about what fantastic musicians we were! heehee. Truthfully, with the courage I had then, I may just have been a better musician than I am today. The boldness and honesty that comes with the dreams of youth have something precious that adulthood misses entirely, I think, especially when it comes to music. My younger, inner princess still gives me courage today. I remember her, where I've come from, and I know that I can accomplish my dreams once more, even when I'm really scared and nervous (or have horrible nightmares about being cast out of Terinati's family for composing horrible music :} ).

While I don't have old photos or diaries with me, I do remember my favorite photo book because of how many times I stared at it, alone in my bedroom when I was missing home, wherever it was. All of the pictures were of family, like our cat Dobie Grey and our old dog, Tippy. I tell you, they don't make animals like that anymore! Some of the affectionate, poorly written phrases are blurred with tears shed after they died. I feel sorry for my younger self, and still mourn with her from time to time.

Most important beyond these few, caring things that I think made my younger self shine, was her taste for adventure which still exists today, albeit more timidly now that I am aware of the many more ways I can end my life on this earth. :} Oh, but she was far less afraid than I! New places, even abandoned houses, rooms that seemed truly haunted . . . anything to find the truth! I had to know, I really believed that there was something more to life out there, and if I just kept looking, I would find it. That inner drive still burns in me from time to time, though I don't have the freedom to stop everything I'm doing and just run off in a new direction just to see what's there. But, that's okay. I think I've already found what I was looking for all that time. * smile *

It was this sense of adventure that turned every problem into a challenge, giving me an optimistic view of the world when things were not very uplifting around me. Getting hurt was an opportunity to learn from my mistakes, to try and do better, and to become a stronger individual, both physically and mentally. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and tears came many times, but in the end I felt stronger for what I'd been through, and thankful that I could understand others who had gone through similar experiences; many people just don't understand and never will without having gone through it themselves. However, this adventurous spirit is bittersweet, even today, because while the adventurous princess is beautiful and courageous no matter how scared inside and what she must face, many others seem like they would rather run from danger . . . It's a lonely path indeed.

In a way, I feel like my past, present, and future selves all walk hand in hand. I may not be able to learn from the future, but my past and I still intertwine, communicating and smiling in amusement at changes we promised ourselves we'd never make that ended up being for the best and things that my past self was better at because of her freedom of spirit and rebellious nature. * smirk * Punk! :} heehee. Meanwhile, I work to serve my future self in the present, thinking of what will make things easier for her to be her best for those she loves, and I wish my past self had done a little more of that, though it was on her mind frequently too.


Now, time for a review of my 101 goals!

2.) Finish composing “We Are One” for the wedding in June so that it can be recorded in the studio.

04/05/09 - made progress, ordered software, requested back-up music assist from cousin-in-law-to-be...

04/18/09 - finished composing with a few minor errors to clean up.

04/27/09 - getting together with Terinati's cousin to work on cleaning up the background parts.

4.) Get my BA in Psychology with a high GPA (already doing well there!).

04/27/09 - received my A in Rise of Modern Science!

6.) Learn Japanese (I don’t anticipate being fluent without living in the country, but I’d like to be able to get the gist of things, especially for reading and writing!).

04/08/09 - I know 100 kanji.

8.) Get down to 115 – 120 pounds (won’t be sure until I see how it looks on me; I don’t want to get too skinny!).

04/07/09 - weighed in at 118 pounds! :D Waiting to make sure I can maintain before I call this closed.

04/27/09 - After 20 days, I haven't hit 120 again or got to 115, so I'm maintaining beautifully! This one is CLOSED!

9.) Find as much stuff to unlock in Wii Fit and My Fitness Coach as possible (I’ll warn of any spoilers when I post about this in the future, because I really don’t like having things spoiled for me).

03/10/09 - unlocked Silver Membership in My Fitness Coach! Opens the Alpine Retreat and Techno music.

03/20/09 - unlocked 60 seconds of the Plank exercise and 45 reps of the Rowing Squat in Wii Fit. :)

04/14/09 - unlocked Gold Membership in My Fitness Coach! All music unlocked except for Yoga. Unlocked Island Paradise location.

10.) Exercise regularly. I don’t like scheduling it on M, W, F or anything like that, but as long as I do it 3 or more times a week, I think that’s good. Monotony of using the same days every week makes me just plain not want to do it (one of the problems I have with My Fitness Coach).

04/08/09 - I now work out daily unless there are complications that get in the way (like being sick, for example).

04/27/09 - Can't get more regular than daily. I'm calling this one closed!

18.) Finish reading the Harry Potter books so that I can be in the loop with my friends who are Harry Potter fans.

04/15/09 - finished reading "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J. K. Rowling.

24.) Don’t procrastinate with my school work! Sometimes it’s okay when I need to relax, but I know it’s ultimately better to shoot for doing my work early so that I’m giving a better, more relaxed effort.

04/08/08 - As far as I can tell, I work harder to get ahead in my work without losing my mind than anyone else I know. I never procrastinate out of sheer laziness anymore. This one, I'm calling done.

27.) Continue to work on not taking the negativity of others personally; it’s usually not even about me. Focus on being who I am and doing what I believe is right without participating in the negativity.

04/08/09 - I was able to do this in a dream I had last night. That's a HUGE step for me.

30.) Make a better system for randomly trying new dishes. Oo! Excel Spreadsheet!

04/08/09 - I've been making time to work on the spreadsheet. I've already entered about 3 1/2 cookbooks so far... many more to go...

04/26/09 - complete! 2,079 recipes all in my spreadsheet! Now, time to start cookin'!

33.) Stock makeup that I like and works for me.

04/27/09 - purchased some "green" (the colors are actually coral colors) eyeshadow and an eyeshadow brush to try out.

34.) Learn to knit, loom, or some kind of activity that involves craftiness and thread. There’s something therapeutic about doing it, and I really do want to make things like that.

04/08/09 - I went to a knitting party sometime last month... forgot to record it, but I'm still practicing now!

41.) Get a working ATM card. My current card doesn’t have a working pin (it’s the company; recurring issue for over two years), and I’m getting sick of not having cash on me because the bank is too far away and then feeling like a bum when I’m in a cash-only place and have to mooch off of my friends. Yuck. :/

04/26/09 - should be getting a letter in the mail with a new pin number. Hopefully this one will work! * crosses her fingers *

45.) Always write legibly. Sometimes I allow myself to feel rushed, and then I write a bunch of gibberish . . . which really defeats the purpose of writing. :}

04/08/09 - I'm doing well keeping up with this goal.

46.) Talk less and listen more (inspired by Princess Skye’s New Year’s resolutions for this one). Going to use some techniques I learned in my Interpersonal Communication course here! I can do it!

04/08/09 - this still takes focus for me. I find that when I get more rest, I am more able to focus. So, perhaps more sleep will aid in this goal.

50.) Get a laptop! Remote note-taking for class and good temporary storage unit for our poor, out-dated camera. This is a must for Japan!

03/12/09 - Got bonus from work and ordered a Mini 9" with Terinati! Can't wait to get it and start learning how to type on it. :) COMPLETE!

04/08/09 - I have the laptop and it works like a dream. :) I love it!

51.) Do a better job keeping in touch with people (family and friends alike).

04/08/09 - I'm getting in touch more! Yay! It's hard, but I'm putting myself out there. :)

52.) Keep my nails short. It’s a prerequisite for not stumbling on keyboards or issues with guitar playing, but I do let them get wild sometimes, just because I like their wildness. And then I cut myself on them. :} I’m too clumsy for long nails! :}

04/08/09 - still on task! I'm about ready to call this one closed, but I think I'll wait until June so that I've been consistent for half a year at least.

56.) Manage Hoshi’s experience points better (my character in L5R). I’m learning how my old techniques are leading to a jack of all trades master of none situation, and I just need to make sacrifices in some areas that aren’t as much in tune with her character and not be afraid to go with the other ones.

04/08/09 - And, off again! I ended up spending all of my experience to reach the Master level of the painting skill. Stupid, nagging ancestor from the grave...

57.) I will look up words that I don’t know so long as I have access to some sort of dictionary. I don’t anticipate remembering them all, but I’m not satisfied with using context all of the time anymore. I’ve already learned that doing a word a day doesn’t help me.

04/08/09 - I do this without even thinking now, so I'm calling it closed.

60.) Will stop and think more often rather than feeling rushed.

04/08/09 - This is still keeping me sane! In June, I think I'll call it closed unless I start having trouble again.

62.) Check this list once a week and,

04/08/09 - epic fail. Has it almost been a month? I've been stressed out and just too focused on the wedding. Why wasn't the wedding part of my goals? I have no idea. :} Anyway, I'll be good at looking at this from now on.

63.) Make a regular, non-spammy blog.

04/08/09 - Doing a weekly blog isn't working for me. Perhaps monthly, or bi-weekly, but I started dreading doing it on a weekly basis, so that means it's too close together. I don't have that much to say about my life, after all! But, I'll start doing better with this going forward.

66.) Keep up with Illuminique’s art work! She’s got some kind of style! :) I love it!! Make a website, darn it!

04/08/09 - Even though I didn't have much time to stay and hang out with her afterward, I made it to her most recent show a couple weeks back. Yay! :)

68.) I will work with Rainshine on making the mix CD!

04/08/09 - I'm sad that there hasn't been any progress here. :( If I wasn't working on the wedding, I bet it would totally be done.

70.) I will continue to give back, even if I’m no longer able to do so through TOPs for whatever reason.

04/08/09 - Terinati and I donate regularly . . . much more than I thought we did. And, we give so much on an emotional level (I don't think it's really appreciated as much as it deserves, but that's not necessarily the point of it), so I'm calling this one closed. I definitely don't feel guilty or like we don't do enough to contribute back to our world anymore.

73.) Find out what’s wrong with my right ear. No doctor’s ever find anything, but I suspect it’s something deeper, perhaps connected to my eye issue. It has constantly felt slightly clogged since I was about 9 years old, and for the first several years the doctors told me repeatedly I had an ear infection and I was on antibiotics, but the “infection” never went away. It doesn’t hurt, so I don’t know what it is. It’s just constantly uncomfortable and makes me want to pop my ears all the time, which usually just leads to further discomfort.

04/08/09 - Drinking more water lately, and my ear has been feeling better. Is it connected or coincidence? I guess only time will tell. Or a trip to the doctor. %D

80.) Try to scream less at scary parts of video games. :} I tend to get too involved with the characters, methinks.

04/08/09 - You know what? I have no idea how to stop this. I just notice more that I scream at scary parts of movies and other things that I didn't realize I screamed at before. D'oh! I've kind of come to accept that's part of who I am, because I don't have any ideas of how to make it stop. I mean, when it happens in a split second . . . the only way I could go about it desensitizing myself, and I'm really not into that. So, I'm closing this one. While not resolved in the way I intended, it still worked itself out.

81.) I will not rush myself or allow others to pressure me into rushing. I need to slow down and think things through.

04/08/09 - I haven't had any issues with this since I made the goal. If I still seem to be good, I'll call it closed in June. :)

82.) Find a bikini to wear on the honeymoon that makes me happy and doesn’t offend other people. :} I’ve never really had one (I’ve had two-piece swimsuits, but they weren’t the same), and it’s one of those things I need to do to really claim acceptance of my appearance.

04/08/09 - All I can say is... why are bikinis so gosh-darn expensive?! :} I found ones that I like, but I don't want to pay so much for them! We're POOR, darn it! How can less fabric cost more?? :p :}

83.) Fast more. It’s good for you, when done properly.

04/08/09 - I am now an alternate-day faster, and I feel great! I find that I have to make sure that I eat enough on the days that I'm eating, otherwise I feel it the next day. Other than that careful step, I feel a million times better than before I started, and I really didn't know what to expect. I refuse to fast more than that, though, so this is closed!

84.) Save more money. We still have lives to try and live and save up for after the wedding, too (that house won’t buy itself! Goal #16).

04/08/09 - ADF saves us food money, but now we need to be careful in other financial aspects of our lives. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities.

86.) Keep better records of my routine appointments so that I can be on time each year and get the preventative care I need.

04/08/09 - so far, I've been keeping my records!

88.) I will stop multi-tasking when doing something I know takes concentration because I feel the need to get as much done as possible (this includes spacing out at inappropriate times :} ).

04/08/09 - this has been good since I started it. Sometimes I need to multi-task, but it's all done within reason.

89.) Collecting things, such as thoughts, ideas, or symbols, which motivate and inspire me, reminding me of what really matters to me and who I am. I think it’s important to be myself inside and out, and that’s part of it.

04/08/09 - Well, I've added tons of suitable things to my wishlist, but . . . meh.

90.) Stop saying ignorant things out of habit like “that’s so gay” or “that’s so retarded” that I just picked up while growing up and don’t really mean that way. :p

04/08/09 - I've been really watching myself, and I only slipped up once. I really don't say these kinds of things as much as I did when I was little and different have a frame of reference for them. Perhaps my fear of saying these things was invalid. I'll keep watching until June, though.

91.) Get rid of subconscious undermining thoughts (usually dealing with my memory). I can accomplish more than I’ve trained myself to believe in the past.

04/08/09 - I find that positive reinforcement has been the best key element here thus far. I just recently started to remember more of my dreams and more conversation elements that happen around me, so I think that I am making progress.

92.) Make solid goals with Terinati to work through conflict resolution better in the future (a process that we’re constantly doing better, but I’d like to clear out really old communication problems that are still lingering).

04/08/09 - I think we're doing really awesome these days. :)

93.) Be more aware of power distribution in relationships and the perceptions of those power distributions (including my own).

04/08/09 - Since I'm not developing many new relationships, I haven't had much more opportunity to observe this. In the wedding it's weird, because I'm being granted ridiculous power as the bride, but I don't *feel* the power. I want to make folks happy and work with them, but everyone wants me to make choices because they want me to be happy. Well, aren't we all too polite?! :} I guess I just have to accept power on occasion and know that it's okay. :} (I prefer under-powered characters in my games as well . . . I wonder what that means? I smell a persona type that starts with Spiderman...)

94.) I will keep up with the real world news at least once a week.

04/08/09 - Right now, I have a hard time imagining that there was a time that I wasn't paying attention. Come June, if I'm still going strong, I think I'll call this good.

95.) Monitor my work goals with the weekly dedication I intend to give to these goals.

04/08/09 - I fell off the wagon for a while, but I'm back on it now!

96.) I will make more personal phone calls. Usually, I allow Terinati to handle this part of our affairs (it’s a good way to make sure that he approves of the decisions I make and include him in things), but I know he doesn’t like doing it all the time. So, I’m going to prove to him (and myself) that I am capable of handling phone calls with vendors to relieve stress on his part and improve my sense of security with talking to others. This probably seems minor to a lot of people, but a decade ago I was scared to talk to anyone, and even considered hiding the first time I met Terinati in person. :} To be fair to myself, though, I have no problem handling at work (most of the time).

04/08/09 - Okay, I'm still scared of making phone calls I guess! But, not as much as I used to be! I called my hair stylist and the seamstress for altering my wedding gown (needs to be hemmed a LOT...), so ha!

04/24/09 - after days of meaning to call Terinati's cousin to get music stuff scheduled, I finally did. That was scary, even though he's a nice guy! What's wrong with me?!

So, with that, there are 9 more goals accomplished and progress made on many more. :) Hooray!