2013 Goals update – 1

So at the beginning of the New Year, I set myself quite a large number of goals to try to achieve, rather than some silly resolution that I’d fail before the end of January was up. My list contains 100 different goals, a complete mix of things for work, personal achievements, hopes and dreams.

Sounds like I’m asking a lot from me right?

Wrong.

The idea of the goals was to look back over the year and say “Hey, look at you and the things you can do if you would only stop telling yourself you can’t”.

Now I know that there are a couple on my list that are just not going to be achievable this year, (like live in another country for 6 months), but that doesn’t mean that I won’t attempt them.

So this is me, checking in and sharing with you the ones I can tick off as done.

  • Post a blog for January
  • Post a blog for March

(So I managed to skip the Feb post – totally by accident of course, and not procrastination)

  • Catch a snowflake on my tongue

(Who knew it would STILL be snowing in March!?)

  • Visit the zoo – yay! I love things like this
  • Paint my nails a different colour and leave them for a week
  • Meet an online friend in person
  • Use the stairs where possible – No more lifts for me!
  • Have a memory jar

(I really need to start using this more often though)

  • Post a blog for April – ticked as soon as I hit the post button for this one!

So, that actually doesn’t seem like very many, when my list is 100 goals long.

But!

I have a number of goals that are almost complete as we speak. I am half way through completing a colouring book (kinda silly, but there’s got to be some of those in a list 100 long!). I’m attempting to knit not one, but two tiny blankets as my brother and sister-in-law are expecting twin boys!

I’m halfway through my watch a movie I’ve never seen with each letter of the alphabet goal, and I’m at book 18 of a 100 – and those are just a few I’m in the middle of.

So yes, my goals are progressing nicely, four months into 2013. Now to conquer the world!

world-love

Goals and Resolutions

So it’s that time of year again when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions about all the things they want to change within their lives.

Last year, rather than a resolution or two – which, let’s be honest, none of us ever stick to for longer than the month of January – I made a list of 10 goals. Now I thought these were pretty achievable, even for me. They were things like ‘lose weight’ and ‘submit a blog post each month’ and ‘start finishing stories that I start but then leave to start something new’.

Turns out that once I’d written my goals into a new notebook I bought for them, I never looked at the again. Sound familiar? We all do it.

So this year, I’ve set myself a bigger challenge. I have a list of 100 goals. 100 sounds like an awful lot right? Especially when I couldn’t manage the 10 I had last year. But you see; this year is different. This year I have a new outlook on things, thanks to events of the last 6 months, both personal and day job related. I have a support network to help me when I’m feeling low or find myself struggling. I have new friends and colleagues that want me to succeed. And I’m determined to show them that I can.

 

My goal list is printed and pinned to my notice board at my work area/study at home. It’s stored on my PC, laptop and a memory stick. And I’ve kept it fun. No one wants 100 goals that are all work related, so mine is a good mixture this year. And do you want to know the best part? I’ve got a whole year to complete them. Some are monthly goals, others are as and when I do something. Below are just a couple of examples.

* Read the books in my to be read pile – anyone else have this problem, where books seem to accumulate 10 times quicker than you can actually ready them?

* Complete my current WIP (work in progress) – basically this means stop procrastinating.

*Submit to 5 different writing competitions.

* Visit the zoo (secretly can’t wait for this one!)

* Have a memory jar – by writing each good memory down and keeping it in a jar, I’ll be able to re-read them when I need to most, and remind myself that I’ve had fun this year. Not everything is all doom and gloom even though it feels like it.

* Tie a secret to a balloon, and let it go.

*Finish a colouring book – because I’m a big kid at heart.

So you see, not everything has to be work related. I’ve learnt that in order to live a balanced life I need some downtime where I can relax and have fun. My life gets stressful enough as it is without me adding more to it.

What about you? What are your goals and ambitions for 2013?

 

My 2013 list of goals

My 2013 list of goals

 

Remembering The Past

I was in France recently, for a week-long camping trip with my parents. We had planned most of the week with activities and sight-seeing trips; except for the first day. We’d planned some trips into Paris, a day at Euro Disney and all the regular touristy things. So on that first day, we decided to explore the local village we were in, find the shops and markets and maybe spend the day sitting in the sunshine back at the caravan.

We ended up spending the day driving all over the vast farmland and countryside. You see, you cannot go very far in France, without coming across a war memorial. Both my dad and his dad fought in the military, so it’s always been an interest of mine. We spent the day driving and stopping at all the different memorials we saw.

A number of them line the roadsides, like the French Military site, Ambleny, which is one of the largest French Military Cemeteries of the Aisne region. Amongst the 10, 266 graves, 8157 have individual names, and a further 76 are civilian casualties.

 

 

 

It was stopping and visiting here that sent us on a quest to see what others we could find. We were staying in the surrounds of the Valley of Aisne, between Soissons and Reims, which was the main assault of the French Military’s offensive in 1917 during World War 1, and a number of further battles during World War 2.

 

 

 

The Battle of La Malmaison lies on the road Chemin des Dames and had already been a focal point of extremely heavy fighting during WWI, and so the German war graves commissioned the cemetery in 1941. It’s located near the old ruins of Fort-de-Malmaison and was used as a collection point for individual graves, combining them in a central location. During 1960 and 1961, 6,800 German war casualties were laid to rest here.

 

 

 

Vailly-Sur-Aisne lies on the North bank of the Aisne River, and here we found a British cemetery. Vailly-Sur-Aisne village was the point at which the 3rd Division crossed the river on the 12th September 1914, in the advance from the Marne. It fell to the Germans in 1915. It was retaken by the French on the 18th April 1917, lost again in June 1918, and finally captured by the French on the 15th September 1918. Vailly British Cemetery was made after the Armistice, by concentration from other burial grounds and from the battlefields.

The majority of those buried here died in September 1914. There are now over 650, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly half are unidentified. It was while here, that we found a number of graves of people from my home county of Berkshire. We also found graves with the emblem of my dad’s army regiment, making it even more poignant.

My dad's regimental crest

 

 

 

 

One of our last stops of the day, was the Guards Grave MCMXIV, in ‘La Forêt de Retz’. The Forêt de Retz was the scene of a rearguard action fought by the 4th (Guards) Brigade on 1 September 1914. In the aftermath of the fighting, many of the dead Guardsmen were buried by the people of Villers-Cotterêts. The cemetery was formed by the Irish Guards when the British forces regained this territory two months later and contains 98 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 20 of which are unidentified. Just north of the cemetery on the road to  stands a memorial to the Coldstream, Grenadier and Irish Guardsmen who were killed or mortally wounded during the rearguard action.

A later memorial was placed there by Lady Edward Cecil, the mother of Captain George Edward Cecil of the Coldstream Guards who fell during the fighting on 1 September and is buried in the cemetery.

 

 

 

 

The only thing I regret about our visit to all these sights was not having a pen. Each site had a visitor book, left in a secure weather-proof box, and I would have liked to have left a note with my thanks, to all those brave men and women who fought for what we have today.

 

 

 

 

 

3 things…

3 things…

At the beginning of 2012, I made a list of New Year’s Goals, rather than resolutions, because let’s face it – those are always broken within a few weeks. Apparently I managed to break some of my goals, even though I was determined not to.

One of my goals was to write a blog post once a month. Minimum. So far, I’ve failed that completely. Looking back, my last post was January 22nd, so I didn’t even make the first month! So this is my first attempt to rectify that, with a little post of 3 things…

3 things I’m thankful for

– My family, who as crazy and annoying as they can be, I love them to bits

– My friends who are always there to support me

– My relatively good health

3 things I can’t live without

– My phone. I’m awful at remembering people’s telephone numbers

– My laptop. It’s one of those teeny net book ones I can carry around where ever I go

– My Kindle, because it’s easier than carrying all my books on holiday

3 places I’ve been

– USA. A lot of my friends live in America, so I try to visit them as often as I can

– Tenerife. My Nan used to belong to part of a timeshare, so we would go every year

– France. I recently spent a weekend camping with my parents sightseeing in and around  Paris

3 of my all time favourite movies

– Top Gun

– Pretty Woman

– Finding Nemo. I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy.  Come on, Squishy Come on, little Squishy.

3 favourite hobbies

– Reading and writing – kind of goes without saying right?

– Walking. I’m a definite out and about in the country person

– Role-play. You know, those crazy make believe table-top games

3 random facts

– Living in the house with us is: 2 rabbits, 2 dogs, 2 fish tanks (marine and tropical) and 1  tortoise. Makes breakfast time a little crazy!

– I love the winter season, when the grounds covered in frost and everything looks picture  perfect

– As much as I try to deny it, I’m a perfectionist. If it isn’t right, re-do!

Fire! Halp!

Oh. Right. Well, in one of my writing classes, we were asked to write a short piece that described Fire. It could be anything, but we had to try and keep each word to just one Syllable. Do you know how hard that is when describing something? I ended up writing the piece as I wanted, then had to keep switching out the words in order to meet the assignment.

Anyways, I *think* I succeeded. What do you think?

Fire

As I sit in the cold night air, the soft glow of the fire brings needed warmth that seems to soak into my body through to my very bones. My breath on the small newly born flame brings it to life. Wrapped in charred white rocks the fire snakes and weaves its way around the small put, looking for a new way to escape the binds of its cage.

The sweet smell of resin soaks my clothes and the air near me as its set fire to. The fire burns with a singing joy, many snaps and crackles jump to fill the air as it feeds from the twigs and logs, as a warm glow settles in the dark night air. The flames flash bright reds and gold’s as they reach up and climb high into the air. Its ruddy glow emits a calming heat that quiets my fears and puts me at ease, coating me in its cosy grasp.

As the logs crash and fall over each other, I feed the flames with small sticks and twigs, watching them grow and fall back in tune with the fiery roar that breaks the quiet of the glade. A bank of hot ashes glows at the fire’s core like a bright ruby, but I dare not reach for it, even as it tempts me.

I lose myself in its depths as the fire dies away, the last of its flames trip and quake as they look for more fuel to burn. Ashes lay jilted, left in the dirt where they fall as the faint hues of red turn ever dark till only the black of night is left.