Monday, June 20, 2016

A minty diversion

I don’t know why this might be, with everything going on in the world and in my life, but today I’ve decided to drop in on the blog to talk about…

…infused water!

This is a sprig of spearmint, a sprig of peppermint, and two lemon slices. In water. It is so dang pretty and refreshing and basically solves all of my problems. Or, to be more precise, my two small problems of 1) having too much mint in my yard and 2) drinking too much tea and not enough water.

(Honestly, it doesn’t actually solve Problem #1 because, who am I kidding, that’s about one-millionth of my mint. And I don’t know if Problem #2 is a real problem, but if you knew how much tea I drink, you would probably advise me that it couldn’t hurt to cut back.)

Review: As much as the world keeps insisting that lemon and mint go together, I still don’t buy it. You taste the lemon and mint separately, not as some cohesive blend, which is too bad, because we could have called it “lemint.” Still, ridiculously cooling and refreshing. 6/10

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Resolutions hiatus

If I’ve learned anything about making resolutions, it’s that they work out better when I put a lot of thought and care into them. Otherwise I’ll change my mind or lose interest before the month is over. Just a fact.

So today is June 1, my May resolutions were only sort of halfway kept, I’m swamped with work, and I’ve given zero thought to what I want to do next. I was going to think some up June resolutions anyway, but I could tell that it was going to be pointless. Then I decided I should just reprise my favorite ones from the previous 18 months, but that was no fun and also pointless (since the best of those habits are still going strong anyway). 

Plus, looking at the calendar for June, we have house guests, a big graduation party, Dex’s college orientation, an out-of-town swim meet, an out-of-state swim meet, and the usual infiniwork. July is almost as busy, and August’s planned activities include driving from Montana to California and back and taking our firstborn to college.

So new plan for the summer: Take a break from resolutions! Time to think (and blog) about other stuff. I think it’s the right decision, because it sounds really fun. :)

GREAT report card for May

Can NOT believe it’s June today. This nonsense is all a day late, but May overall was nuts, and I had real-life things to attend to, like successfully meeting a book deadline (woo-hoo!). And this:


(Don’t you hate it when multiple people are taking pictures and in every photo everyone is looking at a different stupid camera? Scourge of modern society.) 

Anyway, here’s the wrap-up:
  • Goal: Memorize Psalm 46. I was still telling myself that this was short and that I had plenty of time right up until last week. Read it a lot but memorized nothing. F
  • Rule: Start every day with a plan. This was so incredibly helpful that I started making weekly meal and vitamin-taking and exercise plans as well. More about that later maybe. A
  • Exercise: 30-second flexed arm hang. On the plus side, I am a bit stronger now. Otherwise, total joke. C (with a generous credit for “effort” due to the callouses on my hands) 
  • Affirmation: “Fix your gaze directly before you.” This was a good one. A
  • Task: Digital decluttering. I barely scratched the surface of the photos on the computer. It feels pretty good, though, to have cleaned out my work files and password program, including deleting a bunch of old user accounts on various websites. C 
GPA: 2.4

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In praise of the schedule

I’ve been quiet here through most of May, and I just realized it’s because of my new little habit of writing up a daily schedule. Nothing like mapping out a plan for each day to make you realize how little time you actually have! No time for trivialities like blogging! (I’m writing this at the end of a block of time vaguely labeled “Work,” which I realize is stretching the definition quite a bit.)

Scheduling is an interesting habit, though, because it’s making me really deliberate about what activities I choose for myself. And when I’m supposed to work (usually), I work, because I know there’s a limited amount of time allocated for it. It’s helpful this month that I have an enormous project from one client (can’t remember what I named them, maybe Bashful) with no real deadline. So I always have something to do during my work time—and if something else pops up, I do that instead.

I’m also learning to make sure that I don’t get too optimistic about how much I can accomplish in one day—or how long I can focus on work in one stretch. That means I have lots of breaks built in for things like yoga, walking, meals, and reading, and therefore I always have something to look forward to. It feels kind of awesomely decadent to hit something on the schedule like “Go outside and read in the sun.”

Unfortunately, I have one client (Sneezy) with the habit of occasionally blowing up my whole schedule by sending me urgent work at random times, but that’s OK. It’s not written in stone, and if I can’t stay on schedule, I can at least use the thing as a to-do list.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The angel and devil on my shoulders

We had to go to a swim-team-related banquet last night, and even though it would have been relatively easy to stay close to the AltShift plan, I made some poor choices regarding sugar. It started when I accepted some lemonade (I was starving, dinner was still 45 minutes away, and I reasoned that it had life-sustaining calories) and ended with…oh, just trust me when I say it ended badly. I had not had that much sugar in quite a while, and I felt pretty awful a couple of hours later and even more awful the next day (i.e., now).

It’s not really such a mystery to me why I might do this, but here’s my question: How can I learn to associate this awful feeling with sugar so that it no longer appeals to me? How do I burn this into my brain so I can stop using willpower to stay away from the stuff?

It occurs to me that I have the reverse problem, too, in that going for a walk and doing yoga both leave me feeling utterly fantastic, and yet sometimes—often—I have to force myself to do them. I have literally never regretted deciding to do yoga, and yet it’s still not half as appealing as a cookie.

I sort of feel like the whole point of meditation is to help you make these angel-on-your-shoulder choices; maybe I need to up my game.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

GREAT resolutions for May

I haven’t had a dud resolution all year, so I really hope I don’t end up regretting this impulsive “30-second flexed arm hang” thing. Here is the full May plan:
  • Goal: Memorize Psalm 46. An exciting foray into the Old Testament!
  • Rule: Start every day with a plan. Short story: There was one day in April when I had about 12 things I needed to do, I had no idea what to even start with, and I could tell that I was heading for paralysis. So I asked M.H. if he would make a schedule for me, and I agreed to stick to whatever he said I had to do. I wrote down all my tasks with time estimates, and he gave it some thought and came up with a nifty little plan with breaks built in. Then he made his own schedule with the same breaks. It worked like a charm for both of us, and since then we’ve been tackling our toughest days by making coordinating schedules. I don’t need to go to those lengths every day, but I think it would be interesting to see what happens if I at least set some intentions every morning for how I want the day to go.
  • Exercise: 30-second flexed arm hang. I find it ridiculous that I’m still not strong enough to even hang from a bar, let alone do a pull-up. I think a 30-second flexed arm hang should be achievable if I focus on it for a month. (I also plan to keep up with yoga and walking and lifting weights, but not everything can be a resolution.)
  • Affirmation: “Fix your gaze directly before you.” Those clunky “I take care of myself” meditations weren’t working for me, so instead I’m going to try some prettier words of wisdom from Proverbs.
  • Task: Digital decluttering. Specifically, I want to delete useless photos from my computer and phone, delete useless passwords from my password organizer program, and clean up my work files. If I get on a roll, maybe I’ll add keywords to photos or something, but that sounds scarily ambitious. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

GREAT report card for April

Here’s how my resolutions for April went:
  • Goal: Keep flowers on the table. This was an easy one, and it worked out just as I hoped. A month of increased loveliness, total cost less than $15. A 
  • Rule: Do some yard work for 15 minutes every day. I skipped this when the weather was dreadful, but I did 25 minutes most other days, and the yard is awesome and virtually weedless. (Except for the mint, which is pretty much unstoppable.) A
  • Exercise: Walking/cleaning/yoga. Yoga rules, and I wish the weather had been better so there could have been more walking, because cleaning isn’t nearly as enjoyable. A
  • Affirmation: I take great care of myself and my family. I took a normal amount of care myself and of my family, but mostly I forgot this affirmation existed at all. I need something catchier. D
  • Task: Get the ring appraised. I texted my sister the results of this yesterday, and she texted back “Just under the wire.” Yep! A
GPA: 3.4