Tuesday, March 31, 2015

GREAT resolutions for April

I have an eerie sort of feeling that April is going to be a lot busier for me than March.

Actually, let me clarify. I have a couple of huge projects on the calendar for April, so I know it’s going to be busier than March, but I also have an eerie sort of feeling that other stuff is going to start popping up left and right, the way it always does when you’re already too busy.

So my resolutions for April are appropriately gentle—and designed to create time for work, rather than suck it away. Here they are:
  • Goal: Be able to run a nine-minute mile by the end of the month.
  • Rule: No wasting time on stupid Internet stuff. (This is more specific in my head, if you were worried that it’s unenforceable.)
  • Errand: Deal with the health insurance issue that just got dropped on my desk. Plus February’s errand for sure this time.
  • Affirmation: “I am strong, focused, and productive.”
  • Theme: Sunshine!
The only part of this that might suck significant time away from getting work done is the running, but my reasoning is this: I haven’t actually tried to run a mile in quite some time. So theoretically I might be able to do a nine-minute mile already.* If that’s the case, my total commitment will be exactly…nine minutes. And, anyway, training outside = sunshine, which is also on the menu.

* But I doubt it.

Monday, March 30, 2015

March wrap-up

Geez, another month is almost over. Must be time to start thinking about how I’ve done on my March resolutions:
  • Goal: Check! The scarf is finished. Useless now that it’s spring, but finished.
  • Rule: Check! Not only was I good about doing my shoulder rehab, but I also did a bunch of other upper-body stuff with Mik. My shoulder is close to cured. Actually, the left one has been bothering me more than the right one that I originally injured. I don’t know if that means that some of my rehab is not really that helpful or what. When Mik goes back to swimming, I’ll switch to only lower body weights and see if totally resting both shoulders for a while gets them back to normal.
  • Errand: Check! I sold my unused skillet almost instantly, and then I went ahead and also sold several other big-ticket items via the magic Facebook group I discovered. (I didn’t take care of February’s errand, but my excellent excuse still applies.)
  • Affirmation: I don’t know if I get a “Check!” because I haven’t really been reminding myself of this daily, as I’d planned. Still, I’ve noticed that recently I’ve been much more likely to just take care of things rather than stare at them for weeks, so maybe I internalized the message (“If something about my life is bothering me, I take care of it right away”) anyway.
  • Theme: Midway through the month I switched from tracking my own stuff to tracking Mik’s weight training. There’s only so much mental energy available, I think, for tracking things. But I’ve been continuing to pay attention to how the things I do make me feel, and I’m mentally developing a plan for how I want to eat once things get back to normal around here.
I have known since January that the theme for April was going to be “Sunshine,” but other than that, as far as what I choose for next month, your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Goal achieved

I made Dex take a moment out of his busy morning to model his finished scarf:

Ooooh! Aaahhh! Too bad it’s March now and he won’t have any reason to wear it again for eight months.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Minor work famine

I just finished the final copy edit of M.H.’s next book, Belief. This will be the sequel to Legitimacy, and if you liked Legitimacy, you should start getting very, very psyched, because Belief is coming out soon and will make you giddy with delight. I think it might be my favorite of M.H.’s books so far.

It’s been nice to have this book project to keep me busy, because work has been slow lately. I have one company (Grumpy) where I have to go to its website to see if any work is available. When it’s the slow season, as it is now, I open the window on my second monitor, set the site to auto-refresh every 11 seconds, and pounce like a starving cheetah whenever an assignment appears. Unfortunately, I’m competing with an unknown number of other starving cheetahs and don’t always get there first.

It’s not so bad when I have something productive to do on my main screen, like edit the next great American novel. Without it, though, I have to choose between sitting at my desk all day for the possibility of nabbing an hour or two of work versus getting up to do something productive around the house, which guarantees I won’t make any money.

What I probably need to do is convince myself that we are not going to go instantly broke and take advantage of these days off. They should balance out the 14-hour days I sometimes put in when I am busy, if I would just let them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Impending awesomeness

Mik has a break between swimming seasons, and we decided that, during his month and a half out of the pool, he should lift weights, get amazingly strong, and shock the heck out of everyone with his awesomeness. This plan was my idea, so I got put in charge of it. And since I was in charge of it, I decided the best thing to do was lift weights right alongside him.

Yes, me! Regularly lifting weights at the gym! I need to remember for future reference that just letting the kids play computer games all night is a lot easier way to parent them.

Anyway, so far we have managed to go twice, and I will say that by far the most challenging thing about lifting weights has been getting out the door in the first place. Really it’s 99 percent of the battle. It’s odd because I have no trouble at all showing up for yoga or swimming class, and here’s this golden opportunity for quality time with my child that I have to be dragged to kicking and screaming.

And, yes, I guess I could also take him swimming with me, but no one wants to get lapped that often.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A happiness freakout

M.H. is sick, which means I drove Mik to school today. And since that child doesn’t talk in the morning anyway, I thought we might as well just listen to a podcast. I hit Play on “Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” and off we went.

The hosts started off by talking about how making your bed in the morning is such a great habit to get into, because it’s a small, easy act that makes you feel orderly and in control of your life (and therefore boosts your happiness). Normally I would have been soaking it all in, nodding in agreement, trying to think of even more great ways to feel orderly and in control.

But then I got uncomfortable. What must Mik think of these babbling grown-ups? Had he given one thought in his entire existence to “getting control of his life” or “boosting his happiness”? Of course not. From the perspective of a 14-year-old boy, the entire premise of the podcast is utterly absurd. He didn’t say or do anything, but I could almost feel his vague, baffled contempt.

You know what it was like? It was like that feeling you get when you’re watching TV with your kids and a sex scene comes on: You’re not quite sure how much they understand of this mysterious adult world, but you really hope it’s not too much.

Friday, March 6, 2015

T is for Tracking

My Theme for the month of March is tracking—which for now just means keeping a free-form list of everything I eat and do and how I feel and the vitamins I take and how much sleep I get and so on. The main reason for this is that my weight loss has more or less stalled, and I’d like to see if I can glean any insights into, well, basically anything.

I’m sure there are much better and more scientific ways to go about this, but I guess I’m thinking of this as more of a hypothesis-forming phase. (So far my hypothesis is that I’m just kidding myself about the whole dairy thing and might need to try cutting it out again, but I hate that hypothesis.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

About my shoulder

So if you looked closely at my March resolutions, you may have deduced that my shoulder…saga…is still ongoing (since I resolved to get back to doing my prescribed physical therapy). My shoulder really doesn’t bother me in the normal course of life anymore, but 1) I still can’t swim butterfly, 2) I notice some areas of weakness in various yoga positions, and 3) it hurts to sleep on my stomach or side with my arm raised above shoulder height.

All of these were definitely made a bit worse by focusing so much last month on push-ups, a movement that happens to be the opposite of what I should be doing to fix this. (I knew that going in, but I couldn’t help it: I am obsessed with being able to do push-ups.)

Anyway, I’m planning to be really diligent and see if I can’t finally get this behind me—maybe while retaining some of my push-up strength if possible. It’s frustrating that this is taking so long to heal, but then I think back to when I couldn’t even raise my right arm over my head without pain, and I am grateful that I can at least swim (mostly) and do yoga again.

P.S. I threw neck exercises into the resolution, too, not because my neck is bothering me, but because Dan the Physical Therapist told me that’s the one body part that everyone should be stretching every day. Free advice.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The most important thing you will ever read on this blog

I recently discovered a Facebook group called Billings Online Rummage, which is a giant online garage sale where people are selling everything from baby booties to SUVs. Yesterday I put my unused, expensive frying pan up for sale there, and within 45 minutes a young woman was at my door peeling off $20 bills and putting them in my hand.

I NEVER EVEN LEFT THE HOUSE. This might be the greatest thing in history. If you live in Billings, you should join the group immediately. If not, you should find your own city’s equivalent.

Super-psyched to start selling everything that isn’t nailed down.

Monday, March 2, 2015

One of life’s stupid little mysteries

As usual, the new month is starting off with GREAT (ha ha) promise. I’m treating my Affirmation—“If something about my life is bothering me, I take care of it right away”—like it’s the law of the land and have already dealt with six or seven small irritations. For example, for about two months now I have considered my stainless-steel bathroom cup too gross to actually drink out of. It took five minutes to scrub it clean with baking soda this afternoon.

(Why do I do things like this? Why? Why? Why?)

Dealing with the long-neglected scarf is satisfying, too. At first I wasn’t sure why I would have let the project lapse in the first place, since it was about two-thirds done and looked great. When I picked it up again yesterday, I remembered what the roadblock was: I was running short on navy blue yarn and was going to have to run to the store to try to match it. Instead I decided to just run upstairs to my GIANT drawer of abandoned hopes and dreams yarn and use the closest thing I had. It turned out that I have owned a nearly perfect match all along, which leads me again to the obvious question: Why do I do things like this? Why? Why? Why?

Designed with (and for) my color-blind son.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

GREAT resolutions for March

OK, on to March! I guess!
  • Goal: Finish knitting the scarf I started approximately two years ago.
  • Rule: Do 15 minutes of neck/shoulder rehab exercises every day.
  • Errand: Sell my expensive, unused Le Creuset skillet (+ last month’s Errand). 
  • Affirmation: “If something about my life is bothering me, I take care of it right away.”
  • Theme: Tracking.
I want to write more about a couple of these, but for now, let me just say that coming up with an Affirmation was much harder than I had imagined. I knew they were a bit corny (though the one above, chosen for what I initially perceived as corniness, is suddenly growing on me), but I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for is how…revealing they are. In a way they say, “Hey, that sentence I just posted? Right now I basically do the opposite of that because I am a horrible/ridiculous person at heart.”

The one I finally came up with seems useful but innocuous, and it could work at multiple levels. It’s also a good way to sneak house-cleaning back onto the resolutions list, because if I succeed in taking that sentiment to heart, then I foresee a lot of hanged pictures and organized drawers and cleaned closets in my future.