Thursday, December 1, 2016

GREAT resolutions for December

I am learning that my attention span for monthly resolutions is really more like three weeks, and that the presence of a major holiday tends to derail me anyway. So these thoughts apply to Dec. 1 through 21, and all bets are off after that:
  • Goal: Never be busy. It is December, and I have a book deadline, but if I stay diligent I should never have to feel rushed, and I should never be too busy to schedule something fun.
  • Rule: Use social media only after 4 p.m.: I know it seems ridiculous that my social-media limits keep getting more and more lenient, but this is a tough realm for me (and maybe the secret to everything), and I’m hoping that 4 p.m. is a compromise I can actually stick to. More importantly, it allows me to reserve my after-dinner time for more pleasant, less rage-inducing pursuits…which might be a good idea.
  • Exercise: Daily yoga. This was November’s resolution, but it was so good that I’m going back for more. (Plus my mom found a stash of like 20 candles she doesn’t want and gave them to me, so I’m all set for the foreseeable future on the candlelight front.)
  • Affirmation: “What you really want is the good tired.” This is a quote from a podcast episode I enjoyed recently, and what it means is that satisfaction in life comes from finding some good work to do and doing it hard. Not sure what that specifically means for me right now, but I am inspired to figure it out.
  • Task: Fix the walls. I keep noticing spots in our house where something has dented the drywall or chipped the paint. I think I’ll go around with plaster and paint (and whatever other tools Google tells me I’ll need) and try to repair some stuff. It’s called expanding my skill set, skeptics.
At some point I should go back and look at the 2016 manifesto I wrote to see how I measured up, but I suspect that it’s been a pretty good year overall.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November wrap-up

Just a few quick notes, since I’m finding it harder and harder to blog in Donald Trump’s America:
  • Goal: Knit M.H. a hat. I knitted him fingerless mitts instead, because that’s what he preferred. I think I will still do a hat for him, though, since I’m on a roll.
  • Rule: Use social media only after dinner. This started off well, took a hit on Nov. 9, and fell all to pieces around Thanksgiving. However, I did manage to break the dreadful habit of checking social media first thing in the morning. Must continue to fight this fight…
  • Exercise: NaYoDoMo. I started every single day with 20 to 40 minutes of yoga, and it was glorious.
  • Affirmation: “I intend to feel free, light, and strong.” Woo, yoga!
  • Task: Come up with a simple, bare-bones daily housekeeping schedule and then stick to it. This started off well, took a hit on Nov. 13 (the day it said “Clean out the fridge”), and fell all to pieces around Thanksgiving. I’m still very glad to have done as much as I did.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Breaking my own rules

Blog silence is mostly due to work overload, but I was also devastated by the election results—to the point where I got so angry that I unfriended a bunch of people and decided it would be prudent for me not so say anything about it ever again, on any forum. In fact, I reached the conclusion that a result like this can only have been the result of a vast group of people having a backlash to being told how stupid they are all the time by people like me, so my recent thoughts have been particularly unhelpful.

(I also broke that no-posting rule long enough to tweet: “If you voted for the biblical definition of a fool, DO NOT turn around and tell me we should ‘pray for wisdom’ for him”—which is something I’ve been hearing lately that makes me blind with rage.)

Partial list of people I’m furious with: right-wing media, the con man himself and his family, Republicans who didn’t take an immediate stance against him and stand by it, Christian supporters, protest voters, Bernie Sanders, and deplorables of all stripes. (If you’re not a Christian, but are a decent person, and don’t hear the news much, and actually thought that Trump better aligned with your politics, I’m just resigned to your existence. Oh, honey.)

But there I go, and this is why I should not talk.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day

I feel strangely calm about Election Day—or, I should say, I am concerned about who will win, but compared with some people I know, I am an island of serenity all up in here. Even Mik, who generally does not speak in the mornings, told us, “Um, be sure to remember to vote” before he left for school. (“Um,” in this case, translates to “For the sake of my entire generation.”) Done and done, minor child.

Breathe deeply, everyone. It will be over soon.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Home stretch

The time change messed with me a bit—I was up at 5:15 (felt like 6:15, but even so—early). On mornings like these I’m so pleased that the Julie Van Keuren Center for Yoga Excellence is in a fairly isolated part of the house. I don’t have to turn on a bunch of bright lights or bother anyone else; I can literally light a few candles and off I go! Recently I’ve picked up a few tennis-ball-rolling tricks for tight shoulders and neck, so I’ve been adding those in as well. And I end every practice with a handstand, which is something I hadn’t been able to do for quite a while because of my shoulder but am easing back into now. All in all a delightful morning.

By the time I was done, the sun was starting to come up, so I figured it was time to turn on a light and get to work. The big deadline I’m working toward is on Wednesday, so this is the home stretch…

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaYoDoMo and other revelations

I’m only three days into the “NaYoDoMo” challenge, and already I can’t believe I’ve never tried this before. Why was I doing exercise that I didn’t enjoy that much, when instead I could have just been doing yoga, by candlelight, in front of a glowing fireplace, EVERY SINGLE MORNING? My days lately have been wall-to-wall work, but at least I sit down at my desk feeling fabulous.

For my “housework every day” challenge (it helps to call everything a “challenge”) I made a list of 30 things I’d like to do over the course of the month and then just plopped them onto my calendar semi-arbitrarily. So far so good, and I’ve got three things cleaned that otherwise would still be dirty (a bathroom, the kitchen floor, and the front yard [I cleaned it of leaves]).

For my “staying off of social media until after dinner” challenge, I’ve noticed that I’m approaching Facebook and Twitter with a bit different mind-set after being away for so long. I feel distanced from everything that everyone is posting, and the political stuff just rolls off me completely. I was surprised (for some reason) to discover that everyone is exactly the same as they were a month ago—talking with the same voice, making the same types of jokes, sharing the same types of stuff. It’s just not as interesting to me as it was, but I think that’s probably healthier.

M.H. has a theory that checking Facebook/Twitter first thing in the morning plays tricks on your mind—giving social media some kind of subconscious importance that it doesn’t deserve and then sucking you into a cycle of keeping up with it all day long. He has been joining me in turning the chatter off until after dinner, and we have both been so much more productive.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

GREAT resolutions for November

The November manifesto:
  • Goal: Knit M.H. a hat. He needs a new one, and I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn and can make it not suck.
  • Rule: Use social media only after dinner. This is the compromise I reached between “social media is evil, addictive, and bad for my brain” and “social media is really fun, and I like to see what’s going on.” I’ll use the same caveats I had last month—that I’m allowed to see Facebook and Twitter at other times when I need to for work, or when I need to look something up, or when I need to communicate with someone.
  • Exercise: NaYoDoMo. M.H. is starting a new book for NaNoWriMo, so it seems like a good time for me to invent/observe “National Yoga Doing Month,” i.e., 30 yoga workouts in 30 days. It might mean I skip my weightlifting and sprinting more often than not, but that’s OK—I’m getting more out of yoga right now anyway. And it’s fine to do yoga in the morning when it’s pitch black outside BECAUSE I CAN LIGHT THE GAS FIREPLACE AND MY ROW OF CANDLES AND DO YOGA BY WARM FIRE GLOW. Why, yes, I do welcome the changing of the seasons.
  • Affirmation: The series of yoga videos I’m doing actually has an affirmation for every day, so this month I’m setting a yoga-related intention instead: “I intend to feel free, light, and strong.”
  • Task: Come up with a simple, bare-bones daily housekeeping schedule and then stick to it. I feel like some general fall cleaning is needed, and walking around dusting things or whatever can substitute for walking around in the bitter cold outside.
I just finished my first candlelight yoga video, M.H. is clickety-clacking away on his new book, a mostly-blank housework calendar is before me, I have a full day of work ahead, the sun is coming up, and I feel fantastic.