Thursday, August 20, 2015

Couldn’t help it

I have been following the secret diet faithfully for eight days and, although I was planning to wait three weeks before doing this again, I wrapped the tape measure around my waist just now. The measurement is down more than 2 inches! Good gravy*!

That’s probably especially dramatic because of the 10 days in Maui that preceded the taking of the first measurement. But still.

* No actual gravy was consumed on the secret diet.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tomato madness

Today’s distraction from the book I’m editing…

Tomatoes! (And blogging about tomatoes!)

When we got home from our trip, my fancy ananas noir was surrounded by weeds and totally falling over—the cage was sideways. There were bunches of green tomatoes, but they were mostly sitting in the dirt. (The whole thing had been knocked over in a windstorm earlier in the summer and, because I never check on it, I didn’t realize the degree to which everything was growing horizontally.)

As I weeded, though, I got a brainstorm:

I could use bungee cords to hold the cage up and provide vine support! It’s goofy, but at least now it looks like we are growing tomatoes intentionally instead of accidentally.

Also, there was one ripe tomato, which I was really excited to try. I set it down in the grass and then, no surprise whatsoever, in my bungee frenzy, stepped on it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tidying madness

I have a whole update on our Maui trip theoretically coming, but at the moment nothing is interesting me as much as…


I had put a library hold on “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” as I mentioned, and when we got back from our trip, it was available. I knew, million-page editing job or no million-page editing job, that I was going to be reading it immediately, so I didn’t even try to delude myself and just started taking little book breaks. After a day, I noticed that there was a second bookmark just behind mine, which meant—yay!—M.H. was also on board for tidypalooza.

Anyway, the book was utterly delightful—if you are the type of person to be amused by the writings of woman who has devoted her entire life to a mad obsession with tidying—and I believe what she says because there’s no way anyone else on earth could speak with such authority on the topic. Of course, I don’t really have time to start any major projects, but I couldn’t resist applying her method to my sock drawer.

Happy socks, arranged light to dark, and rolled, NOT BALLED.
I culled my sock inventory by about half, and there was so much extra room in the drawer that I decided to put my slippers in there to keep them company. I cheated, though, because only about six pairs of those socks really meet the “sparks joy” threshold. (They’re socks, after all.) Maybe the joy comes when you haven’t done laundry in a week and still have socks to wear.

M.H., on the other hand, is all in on tidying, and is starting right now. I’m going to be so jealous of his closet in about an hour.

Friday, July 31, 2015

August’s GREAT resolutions: Special edition

I thought seriously about abandoning the whole monthly resolutions concept for August. I let most of July’s plans slide and, for reasons I will explain in a moment, I really don’t see August being any more conducive to pursuing the quest for self-improvement.

But then I remembered that I get to make the resolutions, and I can make them as easy as I want. So:
  • Goal: Get to at least three yoga classes.
  • Rule: After we get back from Maui, follow the new eating plan to the letter.
  • Errand: Take measurements and “before” pictures that are good enough to potentially share. (But later.) 
  • Affirmation: I have time for what’s important.
  • Theme: Sunshine (reprising this one).
Basically I see August being broken into two stages: the Maui stage and the whatever’s-the-opposite-of-Maui stage. Because the moment we get home from our trip, I begin a mad rush to get Happy’s new 1,000-page book edited, laid out, proofed, indexed, and everything elsed. By August 31. Along with who knows what other work will materialize.

In other words, I’ll be chained to my desk but hoping that the combined influence of my goal, affirmation, and theme will be enough to get me out of the house at least a couple of times before the lovely Montana summer goes away.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The spiral of good intentions

So now of course I have this plan to start a new diet as soon as we get back from Hawaii. I’m planning to follow it to the letter, which will be…not difficult, really, but it will require some thinking and planning and cooking and strategic shopping. Well, fine. I can do that.

The problem, though, is my brain gets hold of the New! Life! Plan! and cannot stop. Before I realized what was happening, I had mentally made plans to also:
  • Write out detailed meal plans as soon as we get back.
  • Start getting up at 5 a.m. twice a week to go to yoga.
  • Lift weights three times a week.
  • Walk every day.
  • Go back to taking vitamins regularly.
  • Sell or give away every unwanted item in the garage, guest room, and basement.
  • Move one of my garden mint plants to an indoor pot and replace it with something less aggressive outside.
  • Resume meditating every day.
  • Start going to bed at 9.
  • Keep track of how long I use my standing desk and continually try to increase my time.
  • Interior decorate!
  • Shake things up by doing a different exercise every now and then, like swimming or rowing or running stairs.
  • Maybe start trying that Miracle Morning thing again, now that I’ve learned more about it.
  • Resume having regular family dinners.
  • Never waste time again as long as I live in any fashion.
I only wish I was kidding. I caught myself before any of this got written down or (God forbid) entered into an Excel spreadsheet.

Are other people like this? And are their life ambitions as shallow and stupid as mine?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The New Life Plan before the New Life Plan

I have a New Life Plan, and you are welcome to tell me it’s stupid. It won’t change my mind, because I already know it’s stupid.

Several weeks ago I volunteered to do some free editing for a writer/blogger whose work and ethics I really respect. He has developed a diet regimen that’s getting some amazing results in his experimental group and was writing a short ebook about it. I wanted to be the editor a) because it’s for a good cause, b) because I was going to read it anyway, and c) because I wanted to be the first one to get to hear what the miracle diet was. Oh, also, d) this is someone I’d like to work for in the future (for pay), and I figured one good way to get in the door was to just invite myself and walk right in.

Anyway, I had told M.H. that I was going to do exactly what the book said, no matter what it was, and now that I’ve read it, I intend to do just that. But I don’t want to start until we get back from Maui. In the meantime, I need to get all the Carb Nite junk food out of the house, and I’m doing that by eating it, in the evenings. (At least that much of the Carb Nite ethic has stuck with me—I absolutely refuse to eat carbs before 2 p.m.)

I know it makes no sense at all to start a diet by sabotaging my diet, but here are the advantages: a) the junk food will be gone, b) the before and after pictures will show a more impressive difference, and c) I won’t be working against my all-or-nothing personality by starting a new thing and then having to decide whether to continue it while on vacation or cheat on it immediately. Oh, also, d) I want to.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Triathlon blog: The next generation

Time for Mik’s annual triathlon race report, the one time a year this blog returns to its origins, if only in the most tangential way imaginable!

Actually, after you hear the tale, you may be inclined to be disappointed in me for falling down on my job as a supposedly experienced triathlon mentor, but please remember that I was never much of a bike person. (Foreshadowing!)

Anyway. Mik was in great shape for this race, despite the fact that he never trained for it, at least specifically. No biking, no running, no open water swimming—but he was swimming in a pool an average of three or four hours a day and doing three hours a week of dryland training. I figured that was plenty, especially since he had finished last year’s race without any tri-specific training.

The swim went really well, obviously. He was one of the first out of the water, had a good transition, and took off on his bike. But when he was about 10 feet out of the transition area, he tried to shift gears and the chain fell off. M.H. went running over and got it fixed for him, and we were all cursing his terrible luck to lose all those precious seconds.

Then he rode out of sight, and we waited, and waited, and waited. I was expecting his bike leg to be faster than last year’s, so I started worrying pretty early on and continued worrying for about half an hour. Had he crashed? Was he lost? Was he walking his bike up the hill?

It turns out that the chain had fallen off again almost immediately, and although he was able to get it back on himself, he was afraid to change gears again after that. So not only was he riding on a mountain bike rather than a racing bike, but it was a FIXED-GEAR mountain bike. He made it through the race in a middle gear, but I’m sure getting up the gigantic hill on the course was a total nightmare.

Finally he arrived in T2, and 29 minutes later, he was done. See?

His time was actually a few seconds faster than the previous year, and he won his age group of one, but his legs were shaking like crazy. I felt bad—not because I could have done anything at all with the bike personally, but just because it would have been smart to have him ride it long enough to discover any mechanical issues beforehand.

A lesson for next year, I guess.