Sunday, June 17, 2018

A hike, a kid, a harsh realization

We headed to Bozeman on Friday to watch a Shakespeare in the Park play—but since it’s mountainous, and since Dex lives there, we also planned to take a short hike and to see our boy.

First was the hike (Middle Cottonwood Creek Trail), and not to be obnoxious, but it was not that exciting by Montana standards. Still, if you lived in Bozeman and had this right in your backyard? That would be neat.


Then we picked up Dex, said hello to his cat and one of his buddies, and had a tasty dinner. It is always fun to catch up with Dex, as he loves his job/classes/town/house/cat/friends/life, and honestly what more can you hope for as a parent? 

Unfortunately, at 30 minutes to Shakespeare showtime it was pouring down rain. The good people of Bozeman were heading over there anyway with umbrellas, but we had two raincoats between the three of us and no desire for two hours of wet shivering. So we dropped Dex off and headed home. We’ll have to catch the play at some other venue if we can work it out.

I woke up the next day in PAIN from the short hike—I’m afraid that spending December through May sitting at my desk 10 hours a day has dragged me to new depths of out-of-shape-ness. Seriously, both this and pain from the first two weeks of swimming were no joke; I must be a mess physically. I’m going to need to think hard about what I’m doing for exercise these days and probably step it up a bit.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Still swimming!

Outdoor 6 a.m. swimming got off to a ROUGH start, honestly; all I’ve wanted to do for the couple of weeks is go lie down. Like, no matter what time it was or what I was doing. It was so bad that I was delighted on Monday to have a dental cleaning—30 minutes of scheduled midday horizontal passivity, hooray! Not to mention my neck got horribly sore for some reason that must be related to either really weak muscles or really bad form. But the exhaustion and the neck pain are both lifting, and swimming feels a bit more normal, and the walk home is no longer finishing me off completely.

Plus, now that the water temperature at the pool is reliably good, the morning exercise and sunshine are really nice. It seems the last remaining problem is that I am tragically slow and can’t do even a full 50 meters of butterfly, but that can hardly be considered a problem, since I don’t really have any goals for this other than morning exercise and sunshine.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

June habit

Since I am on a minor blogging streak, I’ll do the habit report. (I am still trying to add a new good habit, or eliminate a bad one, every month.) Here’s what I have so far:

January: Eat more vegetables
February: Take shorter, cooler showers
March: Start every workday at the standing desk
April: Something something gratitude
May: Keep social media out of my office and out of my face

The only one of these I’m doing well on is “Eat more vegetables,” but at least I’m doing better than before on all the rest. (It’s good to look at this list in its entirety now and then!)

So for June…I recently had the thought that if I just did one small house-cleaning task every single day, it wouldn’t take any significant time (and might actually make a nice break from desk work), but I could actually get a lot done over time. I started doing that a few weeks ago, but I think I’ll call it my June habit. Every time I notice some small thing that needs to be taken care of, I put it on my calendar for the next available day. (And the things on my list all take about five minutes or less—so not “clean downstairs bathroom,” for example, but “clean downstairs toilet.”) This seems to work really well for me, or at least I’ve done every single thing on my calendar so far and made the house noticeably more pleasant to live in.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Morning swim practice

I went with Mik to the first outdoor morning swim practice of the season, having again scored permission to invade the masters’ side of the pool without actually paying or signing up—one of many perks of being Mik’s mom. (Today we had three 50-meter lanes and two swimmers, so don’t think anyone will mind.) It was a mixed bag…

The good things:
  • The pool heater is fixed, and the water temperature was pleasant.
  • The horrifyingly nasty locker rooms have been demolished and are being replaced with shiny new ones, which means I’ll be able to take an actual shower after swimming when they fully open in few days.
  • The walk home gave me time to listen to an entire hourlong podcast, which I had been missing more than I realized.
  • My shoulder is 100 percent again, so I’ve decided to commit to doing around 30 minutes of whatever the actual workout is, rather than just dinking around.
The bad things:
  • I slept poorly because I knew the alarm was going off at 4:55. (I’m sure that will pass, and anyway it’s moving to 5:05 tomorrow.)
  • Swimming hurts SO MUCH. Not in an “injury” way, more in a “you’re 47 and have not swum in 10 months” way.
  • Even walking hurt—in a “you aggravated your Achilles tendon a bit last week while running and it’s not going to let you off the hook just yet” way.
The best thing, really:
  • I came home happy (though in pain, truly), and when Mik came home a bit later, it was that much easier to talk to him for having spent 45 minutes in his world.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May habit

It is already May, which means I’m going to try to add a new good habit to my increasingly-hit-and-miss collection of them.

Social media seems like a good thing to get under control, since it sucks away both time and morale. I will need lots of both this month, since my hopes of my workload easing up a bit this month are dashed, and on top of that I’m in a jury pool. (They say work-related excuses will not get you out of serving, but perhaps a literal nervous breakdown would do it.)

Anyway, the habit is to stop looking at social media on my computer at all, and to keep my phone out of my face until noon, at least (no need to be super-strict on the time, I guess; the habit I want to establish is simply to NOT pick the thing up first thing in the morning). This is a very lame resolution/habit and really should not be hard.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A habit of gratitude

I woke up feeling incredibly stressed about work, so I decided that a good, easy, calming habit to work on for April would be the habit of gratitude. At least gratitude is supposed to be calming. So I hear. I’ve always been a fairly grateful (and, until recently, calm) person in general, so I’ve never gone so far as to write in a gratitude journal or make it a deliberate practice or anything like that. I don’t know if I would even go that far now—I guess what I’m going for is just to remind myself throughout the day to stop and be grateful for the good things in life. And maybe blog or Instagram about them once in a while.

Anyway, in my absolute-ball-of-anxiety state this morning, I tried to calm down and think of some things I was grateful for.
  • ATTEMPT ONE, PARAPHRASED: “I’m really grateful that Horrible Thing A that I always worry about has not happened. Yet. No, wait. I’m grateful that Horrible Thing B has never happened to me. Oh, those poor people who it has happened to. It could still happen at any time. No, wait…”
  • ATTEMPT TWO, PARAPHRASED: “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!”
So that was a bad start. But this evening, as I was looking out the window at the FREEZING RAIN falling on the walk I had planned, my mom happened to call from the car on her way to the mall, where she has been walking with my sister several nights a week. And I was right in time for her to pick me up and let me join them, which was really, really nice and exactly what I needed. So I am grateful for that.

It is amusing me to no end right now that Entry One in the gratitude register is mall walking.

Monday, April 2, 2018

April storm

It’s a new month, so it’s time for an ambitious new habit, preferably something that takes advantage of the spring weather, like…[looks out window]…staying inside in a comfy chair with slippers and coffee!

Here’s a reminder of the habits I’m already trying to keep:
  • January: Eat more vegetables (doing fine on that)
  • February: Take shorter, cooler showers (I will recommit when the weather warms up)
  • March: Start every day at the standing desk (I wouldn’t call it a habit yet)

The very good news for April is that I negotiated fewer hours with the company that is keeping me over-the-top busy, starting next week. That is just in time to help me meet a major deadline for a different client, but hopefully by May the work crisis will be substantially over. One can hope.

At any rate I think I’m going to need an April habit that’s either very easy or very helpful to getting lots of work done. Gotta give it some more thought.