‘Twas I That Arted

I have alluded to but not provided much detail about my recent stint with driving the struggle bus.  Seriously, it’s been nearly a year of . . . “meh.”  Since November of 2018, I have just been unable to “get it together.”  I have written zero response letters to the pile of mail I have received from pen pals, I neglected Postcrossing until about a month ago, I have been completing only one or two swaps per month via swap-bot, I’ve traded a mere handful of patches, and I have run only 450 miles since January 1st.  I have so many projects that remain unfinished: the contents of a parcel I intended to mail in April remains unpackaged, a half completed quilt intended to be a house warming present is now for a home that is no longer new, so on and so forth.  Even my blog has been a victim of my neglect in that I have not written about my runs, for though my training has been subpar in comparison to past years, I have still been showing up to my races.  I think the only aspect of my life that has not suffered from my “meh” is my reading; my Goodreads goal for the year is 67 books, and I am currently at 54 read.  I have also been less “on top of” certain tasks at work as well, but I attribute (some of) that to a bit of head butting with a superior.  There was a period of time where I dreaded coming to work; I even interviewed for a position elsewhere, but I realized shortly into that meeting that the (new) position was not an ideal fit.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to feel better, more myself, and by “myself,” I mean more like the me of a year ago, before I got behind the wheel of the struggle bus and put the pedal to the metal.  I have even found some inspiration to create for the sake of creating.  The ATCs and postcards below are not for particular swaps and have no ulterior purpose; I just felt like . . . arting.  Approximately two weeks ago, I completed my fitness objective of earning my Fitbit goal daily for 30 days.  With two more races left this year, I have been longing to fall in love with running again.  This is not to imply that I no longer love the sport, but I have not been as dedicated to or excited by running as I once was . . . until I’m crossing the finish line.  Crossing a finish line inspires me to keep going, to keep trying until the next race, but then I do not maintain that desire . . . until the next finish line is fast(ish) approaching.  (I’m not fast).

A step in the right direction toward finding the (better version of) myself has been spending time in my craft room and workspace with no guidelines and no deadlines hanging over my head or stifling my creativity.  Below, for those of you who do not follow my Instagram account, are photos of some of the artist trading cards (ATCs) and postcards I have been making.

After my final runs of the 2019 “season,” I will compile the photos and thoughts I have been collecting and share them in one post.  September 28th is the Dempsey Challenge 10K and October 6th is the Maine (half) Marathon.  Anyone who wants to follow my progress during the latter race, as I traverse the 13-mile course, there’s an app for that!  Let me know of your interest, and I will provide you with the app name and my bib number.

In summary should you have chosen to skim-read . . .

I have been sucking, and I no longer want to suck.

The Gypsy

 

Potions

 

Henry

 

Freud

Note: I am well aware that the paper doll I chose for my Freud PC (postcard) is not Sigmund, but the doll looked similar enough, that I took some artistic liberties / poetic license and used it anyways.

Best Costume

Bot O’ Swap

Probably the most difficult aspect of maintaining my health and fitness blog is that I am attempting to keep it health and fitness oriented.  I am multi-faceted, as are most . . . OKay, ALL individuals.  I do not think it is feasible for me to not include other aspects of my life within my blog.  I think health and fitness are influenced largely in part by the well-being of our mind and spirit, not only a healthy BMI.  I have so many hobbies, and one of my greatest passions is snail mail.  I am a pen pal extraordinaire, a snail mail connoisseur!  I have intermingled my love for tangible mail with my love for a healthier lifestyle.  How?  With a swap-bot group named Health & Fitness Foray.  Note: Anyone who is currently using swap-bot is more than welcome (and encouraged!) to join either my HFF group AND / OR my other, quirkier group, Idiosyncratic Unicorns.

About Health & Fitness Foray 

“I have recently made several lifestyle changes in order to pursue a healthier, fitter life. Despite every calorie I have counted and every step I have taken, I have found that the most motivating aspect of health and fitness has been the support system(s).

Join this group to meet and swap with others who have similar lifestyle change goals. Goals can range from drinking more water to eating less carbs, from losing weight to taking more steps, from starting to exercise to joining a 5K. Etc., etc., etc. 🙂 This group is not only devoted to health of the body but also to the health of mind and spirit.

By definition, a foray is, “a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something.” Our goals do not necessarily need to be our enemy, but we can conquer them nonetheless!

Disclaimer: This is a group with the overall intent of being supportive, motivational, and influential. Kindness is imperative here. Anyone who is negative or degrading will be removed; bullying will not be tolerated.

I will accept all individuals, with a 4.95+ rating, who request to join the group. I do not want to exclude anybody who has a goal, but the group must be able to depend on each of its members to follow through with swaps. Therefore, a rating lower than 4.95 will not be accepted. However, consider requesting membership once you’ve improved your rating.

I am accepting of newbies as we ALL started somewhere, amiright!? However, any member who does not have any rating(s), within 3 months of joining the group, will be removed. In three months’ time, there is ample opportunity to gain ratings. 🙂 If you wish to earn some ratings ASAP, join the group’s swaps or PM me for a private swap.

I will be monitoring members’ ratings. Any members whose ratings begin to drop will be evaluated. I don’t expect every member to have a perfect score, but if there begins a pattern of flaking or complaints from partners, membership may need to be reconsidered. Note: I am well aware that life, forgetfulness, chaos, stress, postal error, etc. happen so no one will ever get the boot from the group for a mistake, especially when it’s obvious the situation is being rectified. If your account becomes suspended, partially suspended, or you have not logged in for a month or more (with no communication), you will be removed. However, once your account status is rectified, you are encouraged to re-join the group.

There will be type 1, 2, and on occasion, type 3 swaps hosted at HFF. If you have swap ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out to host! I love to have an active group!

Let’s reach those goals, ladies and gents!

Because I want this group to be as active as possible, ALL members will upgraded to officer status. Officer status allows you to invite fellow friends/swap botters AND host swaps. You are encouraged to do both as much as your heart desires!”

Current HFF Swaps

Kick The Bucket

“Kick The Bucket . . . but not really! Here’s the thing . . . we ALL have something we put on the back burner. We all have a “bucket list” of sorts or just a bunch of “stuff” we want to do, but somehow, we never quite get around to it.

For this swap, pick something from your bucket list, and do it. At the very least, start it. (Some tasks are far more time consuming than others).

Send your assigned partner a two page letter (letter set), one page if you write on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, outlining what you chose to do, how you feel now that you can cross something off your list, and maybe throw in a few other things you have on your bucket list 🙂 If you don’t have a bucket list, feel free to come up with something you’d like to do, just for the sake of the swap. What you choose to do can be WHATEVER you like; it is not required to be health / fitness related.

Who can join: ALL members with no recent 1s or 3s (current / previous month). Swap is open internationally.”

Profile Deco_April

“We have done this one before, and I think it’s time to do it again, perhaps on a monthly basis! Let’s decorate our partner’s profile with something motivating / encouraging. This can be a quote, a meme, a photo.

ALL members are encouraged to join. This is an electronic swap, but the same expectations of tangible swaps apply – decorate your partner’s profile by the deadline AND recipients are expected to rate in a timely and appropriate time frame.

Please decorate your partner’s profile with a MINIMUM of 2 of the aforementioned.

Anyone who needs help / instruction on how to post images to a profile, I will gladly assist you and offer up my profile for practice – just PM me.”

Give Up

“For this swap, send your 1 partner a PC outlining at least 1 thing you are giving up,or at least TRYING to give up, for the month. The thing you are giving up should be something that will benefit you in regards to your health / fitness. A short explanation as to your choice is also required. If you are not trying to give anything up but trying to ADD something to your life / lifestyle, that is applicable also! Don’t forget to explain why 🙂

PC is sender’s choice, all members of HFF are welcome to join. PC can be sent naked or in an envie. 🙂

I can angel, but I don’t expect I will need to.”

Bullet Journal Fun Swap

“For our first HFF:Bullet Journal Fun Swap we will exchange a letter telling our partner what drew you to bullet journaling and one flat bullet journal surprise!

The letter can be typed or handwritten. You can write it on pretty paper or a card or plain paper. Be as creative as you want. Just be sure to tell your partner why you started bullet journaling. For the flat surprise it could be anything you can use in a bullet journal. Stickers, washi tape, tags, etc.

I will angle if necessary!! And don’t forget to put the swap name and your user ID.

Have fun and happy swapping!!”

Move It #1

“This is the first in a series I hope to host monthly, with the mileage increasing (at least over the summer months!).

For the month of April, move an intentional mile every day. Take a walk. Go for a quick run or light jog. Bike. Swim! Row! Elliptical. Change it up. Maybe you can’t get out every day–just make an effort to reach 30 miles by the end of the month.

Track your progress each day (or each mile, if you prefer).

Around the middle of the month (April 13-17th), send a Swap-Bot message to your partner letting them know how far you’ve come. This is meant to provide mid-month accountability and allow you to course correct as needed. This is part of the swap requirements.

At the end of the month, send your partner your tracking log and at least a few sentences about the swap experience. Also include a flat surprise such as a postcard, notecard, stickers, tea, etc. Check your partner’s profile for ideas and avoid allergies, but this is sender’s choice.

In sum:
1). Move a mile every day (average)
2). Track your progress
3). Send a mid-month check-in of your mileage to your partner via SB message
4). Mail your log, reflections, and flat surprise at the end of the month

Hope we all enjoy this and come back next month! Let me know if you have any questions.

Looking Ahead
In May, we’ll attempt 45 miles.”

Needless to say, I intend to update my blog with HFF’s swaps each month.  Why not spread the word?  After all, these swaps are assisting me along my path to achieving my goals!