Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What passes for midsummer fun

I know the masses are surely crying out for reviews of amazing infused water concoctions, but to be honest I’m in a bit of a rut. I decided that the satisfaction of walking across the dewy grass in the morning to hack away at bits of my mint monstrosities outweighs any desire to go shopping for more creative ingredients—and, anyway, mint is really good. Here’s what I can tell you:
  • Mint + apple slices: Tastes like apple juice to me, though admittedly I haven’t had actual apple juice in several decades. 8/10
  • Mint + peeled orange slices: Just OK; oranges don’t seem to work that well in general. 6/10
  • Mint + pitted cherries: Interesting! 7/10
(I think mint + peach could be a real winner; I’ll let you know next time I own a peach.)

I haven’t managed to get any non-domestic fun on the schedule yet: Several of my clients are either busy sending me work or busy jerking me around. Trying to set boundaries while remaining the helpful, available, willing, cooperative freelancer they know and love…

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Updates on life and lemint

I think I maligned the lemon-and-mint-infused water before. It’s really refreshing, I’m starting to “get” the flavor, and I keep making more and more of it. Revised rating: 8/10

I also tried a couple of concoctions with orange slices, but I didn’t think they were good at all:
  • Orange slices and a cinnamon stick: Cinnamon water is very weird, and it seemed like the flavor from the orange was all peel. 3/10
  • Orange and lemon slices: Same deal with the orange peel, though less weird overall. 5/10
When I’m not infusing water—oh, who am I kidding. I’m perpetually infusing water now.

Along with all this water infusing, I have been crazy-busy all June with work and travel and major life events, starting with my eldest graduating from high school. (Say what??)

My people
On Thursday he heads off on a road trip with some friends, and the next thing we know he’ll be off at college. He won’t be that far away, and I know he’s going to love it, so we’re probably as emotionally prepared as we can be. I think my job right now is to not interfere too much as he has these last-splash events with his high school friends and deals with all the leaving-the-nest tasks.

After graduation, we attended a three-day college orientation with separate programs for the parents and students. It was pretty fun, but I’m not sure it was strictly necessary for the parents. Probably just the university’s sneaky way of forcing us to practice the big drop-off ahead of time.

After that we did two weekends in a row of swim meets, with me working frantically in the days in between to meet some deadlines.

Now I’m realizing that there’s one month of summer gone already, and if I want to make the most of what’s left, I’m going to need to do some serious fun-planning for July and August. Fun is GOING ON THE CALENDAR.

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.