Thursday, September 22, 2016

A plan to de-stress October

I’ve re-warmed to the idea of doing monthly resolutions—probably because September’s are going so well. Other than missing a couple of family dinners when I absolutely had to work, I’m at 100% compliance. Even more telling is that I’m already pondering some resolutions for October.

In fact, I’m thinking of going big for October—like giving up Facebook and Twitter for the whole month big. That sounds drastic to me, and I think it would be really hard, given my current usage. On the other hand, news about police brutality, racism, and the election—and the idiotic opinions I keep running across—are driving me bonkers and stressing me out. And, frankly, even when I agree with what’s being said, I’m sick of the implosion of our whole stupid country being turned into “outragetainment.” 

If anyone has hit upon a strategy to consume social media in a limited and sane way, I would really like your advice. Otherwise, I think 31 days of abstaining could be a useful experiment that would be good for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hike to Broadway Lake

I scheduled my day off last week for Saturday, and since it happened to be a gorgeous day, we decided to spend it hiking in the mountains for what I suspect is the last time this year. This hike was off of Lake Fork Road, south of Red Lodge, and it was a nice, easy trail—a four-lane highway by Montana trail standards, really. It was also really crowded, but that could have just been the fact that it was probably one of the last good hiking weekends.

My favorite thing to do while hiking is to take pictures, so here they are:

Hillside dotted with aspens


Color along the trail
Nice day
The lake itself is no big deal, actually!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Morning routines

Work has been so slow that it’s pretty easy to take one full day off each week. But I have to remind myself to still plan the day off—there’s actually a pretty big difference between taking a day off and simply having no work to do.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and cooking, and also putting the finishing touches on the Center for Yoga Excellence. In fact, I had put some candles in there and so did my morning yoga by candlelight (and glowing computer screen)—it was still really dark outside, even though I am now by far the last one to get out of bed. In fact, by the time I get up, M.H. has typically made two breakfasts for Mik and gone on a 90-minute walk—and Mik has had 90 minutes of swim practice.

Beasts, these two.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Welcome to the…

After hearing me muse about whether I should call my new space the “yoga corner” or the “yoga nook,” M.H. suggested “The Julie Van Keuren Center for Yoga Excellence,” and it made me chuckle for so long that that’s definitely what I’m calling it.

I tried some yoga there first thing this morning; I might need to work out exactly how to fit all my moving parts into the relatively small area, but I think overall it’s going to be great. I feel much less exposed than my previous location, which was in full view of anyone who came to the front door. The fact that there is carpet all around, and some empty walls, means that it will be easier to start practicing handstands and headstands again. When it gets cold and dark in the mornings, I can flip the switch for the gas fireplace that’s right there and do warm yoga by firelight. AND it’s going to be nice to just leave the mat and blocks and stuff out all the time.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day projects

Today seemed like a good day to take on the task of cleaning out Dex’s room. I caught M.H. in a mood to help, and we cleaned and rearranged everything so that it’s still Dex’s room, but it’ll also be a pretty nice place for guests to stay. It wasn’t as depressing as I imagined—the reports from college are good so far, we’re happy that he’s happy, and so we are all adjusting.

I told Mik (to tease him about his own room) that it looked like we had two sons, but one of them was just very neat. Mik said it looked like I had two sons and one of them doesn’t live here at all, which—OK, FINE, BE A REALIST.

We have a little more house rearranging going on, because I’m building myself a new yoga area (yoga nook? yoga alcove?) and moving the board-game shelf and game table that were in that space into the play room. Then the play room needs some sort of overhaul. Most of the toys are purged, but I’m hoping I can somehow turn it into a place more appropriate for teenagers to play.

Here’s the basis of the yoga…corner—it’s made with some leftover laminate flooring and duct tape:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

GREAT resolutions for September

OK, I’m going to go ahead and do this! Here are my resolutions for September:
  • Goal: Sit down for a family dinner every weekday. The one (sort of) silver lining of Dex being away at college is that there is again a time when everyone living under this roof is actually available to have dinner together. We started this on Monday, and I am happy about it.
  • Rule: Take a full day off every week. I don’t always work every day—but I usually do work at least a little work every day, and typically I’m “on call” most of the time. My intent with taking a day off is to be more productive with my work time, more aggressive about limiting my schedule, and more creative about finding fun, restful things to do. (I already started this, too, actually.)
  • Exercise: Stick to the schedule. I don’t see anything coming up in September that should prevent me from keeping to the plan I’ve laid out for myself, which is this: Lift weights on Mondays and Fridays, do sprint workouts on Wednesdays, and do yoga on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. And walk every day.
  • Affirmation: “I welcome the changing of the seasons.” Metaphorically, too, this time!
  • Task: Clean Dex’s room. He left everything in pretty good shape, but someone needs to go in there to dust, vacuum, air it out, make up the beds, and have a good cry over the inevitability of the passage of time. 
This GREAT framework, while still amusing*, is pretty limiting. I’m completely over the affirmations (A). I feel like ideally I would just keep this same exercise (E) plan every month. There are months when my resolutions should probably be just a list of tasks (T). And obviously my goal (G) is just a rule (R) in disguise. This nonsense may have run its course in its current form. Hmmm.

* To me

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hike to Beauty Lake

The purpose of this post is to 1) brag about having actually planned and executed a hiking trip and 2) to record it for posterity because we might want to go back someday.

M.H. and I headed out yesterday morning for a hike to a place called Beauty Lake. It’s up over the Beartooth Pass on the Wyoming side (Beartooth Lakes trailhead, trail #621) and also passes another cool lake called Crane Lake.

The hike is not a long one—we probably did six or seven miles total, and only because we did so much wandering off the trail—but it has its moments of difficulty. It is steep in places, and the elevation makes climbing fairly brutal! The views are crazy, though; here are my favorite photos:

A mossy creek draining Crane Lake.

Exploring around Crane Lake

Crane Lake in all its glory

Sticks, scenery and Beauty Lake

OK, it’s not bragging if you call yourself “Beauty Lake.”