Sunday, May 31, 2015

Habits to keep on with

May’s resolutions were a particularly good bunch—seriously, you should try the arm-hang thing and see how long you can do it. I did not meet my goal of 60 seconds, but was able to vastly improve my time to *cough, cough* 17 seconds. That’s still sad, I know. But it’s something I think I’ll keep working on, since I have the pull-up bar right there within view of my desk all day long.

The errands this month were really satisfying to do, and I liked the affirmation a lot. My rule was that I was going to lift weights three days a week, but I actually ended up lifting weights every day as part of my little morning routine. I took a training program that had two long workouts and broke each one up into three parts. Then I cycled through doing those smaller parts. I found that it’s so much easier for me to carve out 10 or 20 minutes every day than to face a 30- to 40-minute workout three times a week.

That’s another habit I’m going to stick with, at least until I get my shoulders healed and go back to using my gym membership again.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

An idea about ideas

I don’t know who this guy is or how I even found this post today, but it gave me a terrific idea for next month’s rule. For 10 seconds I congratulated myself on being sooo proactive, but then I realized that May is basically over (ALREADY?) and it’s probably past time to give some thought to next month’s resolutions.

I already have the Eight-Week Shoulder Healing Extravaganza going on, but even though that involves a lot of rules, they’re not official rules (for GREAT purposes) in my mind. Maybe so I don’t try to take on too much new stuff in June, though, I’ll lump that whole thing under the category of “Happy shoulders” and call it my theme. I don’t know if my shoulders feel happy yet. (They have been doing a lot of new popping and crackling lately, but since I have no idea what that signifies, I’m choosing to believe it’s the sound of progress.)

Speaking of themes, my “Miracle Mornings” in May kind of sucked. The morning routine I seem to have settled on is checking Facebook and Twitter on my phone before getting out of bed, emptying the dishwasher, making some tea, doing a super-short strength workout, and then getting showered and dressed and sitting down to work. I thought the phone thing might at least stop me from immediately checking Facebook and Twitter again on my computer, but not usually.

I did look a little deeper into the official “Miracle Morning” guy and found out that he is very big on affirmations. He likes the format “I am committed to ____ so that I can ____ by ____” (e.g., I am committed to writing 500 words every day so that I can write my first book at some point before I die”). LOL

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Doing something right

We made it through the first 10 days of eating ultra-low carb, and now it’s Carb Nite™! I must be doing something right this time, because I’m actually less excited about eating carbs than I am about the fact that I feel so much better now than when I started this.

(It helps that doughnuts, brownies, and ice cream are not on the menu tonight. Strawberries, though.)

I keep learning this same lesson over and over, but when I consistently do a few simple things to take care of myself—eat better, take vitamins, go for walks—it makes everything so much easier. In the course of a week, I go from pushing-Play-on-another-episode-of-Daredevil-because-getting-off-the-couch-is-frankly-too-exhausting person to strolling-around-downtown-visiting-the-library-and-the-organic-food-store-and-then-coming-home-and-planting-heirloom-tomatoes person.

It makes me want to keep going to see if there’s a saving-the-planet-while-designing-a-website-and-writing-the-great-American-novel person in there somewhere.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Running errands

I said out loud to myself yesterday, “I am never going to actually get my bike out and ride it, am I?” And Mik overheard me and said, “But I want to go for a bike ride with you tonight.”

So obviously I got my bike out, dusted it off, inflated the tires, had my “mechanic” put the chain on for me, and went for an actual stinking bike ride. We did not go far, but it was fun, and we spent the whole time talking about how we would conquer the Molt hill this summer so Mik could train for his triathlon. (I’ve mostly given up on the idea of doing the race myself, but we’ll see.)

Then today I was so inspired by my excellent progress that I got up and did February’s errand, too, which was applying for a passport. Easy peasy. Road trip to Canada in four to eight weeks!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day Six

I’m nearly a week into what I call in my head the “Eight-Week Shoulder Healing Extravaganza,” and it’s off to a good start. My shoulders feel great, for one thing—but I was warned that that is not a reason to stop taking tons of Advil. Apparently it has to be a minimum of EIGHT WEEKS of rest and anti-inflammatories unless I want this to come back.

I emailed my yoga teacher to let her know I was taking eight weeks off, because I’m a regular and I didn’t want her to worry that I had died. She responded with an offer to create and demonstrate a “no-shoulders” yoga practice I could do at home. Isn’t that the nicest thing ever? I wasn’t sure how to respond at first, but now I’m thinking I’ll probably a) take her up on it, b) take her out for tea afterward, and c) write a note to the gym managers telling them what a treasure they have and that she deserves a huge raise.

Another part of the plan (there are actually many parts, and a spreadsheet) was to be very strict about getting back on the ultra-low-carb wagon. It is really pretty easy when you don’t have to eat outside the house, and I have lost eight pounds since Monday. That would be almost entirely water weight, of course, and it has happened exactly like this before, but it is still really fun to watch the scale plunge steadily.

I know my New Life Plans have a tendency to fizzle out, but the good thing about this one is that I have to stay the course for eight full weeks or it won’t really do me any good. And I stuck Advil in there amid a bunch of good habits to trick myself into staying with them as well.

P.S. My husband’s book Legitimacy is free on the Kindle for the rest of the day, and if you’re at all inclined to download it, you should! Even free downloads are a huge help to self-published authors, because they can temporarily put the book on Amazon’s top-100 lists, which gets them noticed by millions of people.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GREAT update and explanations

A few of my May resolutions really needed explanations, so here they are in case anyone is curious (and you might be, because this is turning out to be an excellent batch of resolutions):

Goal: 60-second arm hang. I read somewhere that all the typing and texting we do is killing our collective grip strength, and that hanging from a bar is a great way to get it back. (I can't find the post that originally inspired me, but this one is similar.) Out of curiosity I decided to see how long I could hang from the pull-up bar outside my office…and found to my dismay that I could count the number of seconds on one sad, pathetic, feeble hand. So every time I walk by the bar now, I try to improve. Hanging should also be a good movement to stretch and strengthen my shoulders, but I want to be really careful on that front because of my eight-week shoulder healing extravaganza, so I will be satisfied even if I don't work up to bearing my full weight for 60 seconds.

Affirmation: Everything I do, I do out of love. This one was inspired by this blog post. It seems like such a great way to approach food, and I realized that it would be even more powerful if I applied it to everything. I don't have any particular agenda here or a way to evaluate how I'm "doing." My strategy for affirmations has been just to put them in front of myself every day and see what unfolds.

Theme: Miracle mornings. This one is a little odd, because that phrase comes from a book I have not actually read. But I gather that the idea is to start every day out doing a few things right: maybe some meditation, maybe being thankful, maybe prayer, maybe getting outside or getting some exercise—whatever would get your day off to a great start. Anyway, it sounds brilliant to me, and I'm having fun tweaking my morning routine. As a side note, my original plan was to get up and do this when M.H.'s alarm goes off at 4:30 (he drives Mik to morning swim practice) but let's face it: Getting a couple of extra hours of sleep is the real miracle.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day One

A post titled "Day One" after a long blogging hiatus can mean only one thing: New Life Plan.

This NLP was brought about by way too many weeks of celebrating and traveling and work and eating junk at the slightest provocation (dating back to Easter, really) and also by some incredibly annoying shoulder and neck pain. Basically I've regained all the weight I had lost recently and have gone back to—well, not square one, but maybe square six, with my shoulders.

I did some reading on shoulder impingement and learned that job one is to get the inflammation down long enough for healing to occur, which requires a minimum of eight weeks on Advil. I also need to stop swimming and doing yoga for those eight weeks. I super-HATE that course of treatment, but I also hate the idea of struggling with this for the rest of my life, so I'm going to give it a try.

As far as diet, I'm going to eat ultra-low carb (under 30 grams) with no dairy and no eggs, and have a very restrained (read: low-doughnut) Carb Nite every 10th day instead of every week. That diet should also be helpfully anti-inflammatory, especially if I load it up with—according to Google—kale, garlic, peppers, onions, and green tea, which I think I can handle. In fact, add some bacon and it sounds like breakfast.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Crying over spilled milk

One fun thing we did in D.C. was visit the Hirshhorn Museum, which is filled with interesting and/or hilarious modern art. Here’s a little story about a missed opportunity I experienced there:

The third floor has a totally minimalist vibe, with the exhibits spread way out in very white spaces. I rounded a corner and spied, appropriately, a minimalist sort of guy, all by himself, wearing off-white pants and a white shirt. He had one hand on his chin and was intently studying a painting.

This was the painting.

I should have whipped out my iPhone camera immediately, but in my 1) shock, 2) amusement, 3) desire not to be rude, and 4) incompetence, I hesitated too long, and he moved on.

I have a lame photo of the scene that’s too little, too late, but I think you’re better off just imagining it in your head. It was so wonderful.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Back from the National Science Bowl

We got back this morning from a long weekend in Washington, D.C., watching Mik compete in the National Science Bowl, and I can now say without a hint of bias or exaggeration that my kid is the most wonderful, talented, intelligent, poised, and handsome eighth-grader in the entire country. The quiz-bowl portion was great, and then the team topped it off by—out of nowhere, really—winning first place in the electric car building/racing competition.

Here's a picture from the National Science Bowl’s Flickr stream of Mik celebrating their win. Yes, it was that awesome.

My sister’s family and some old friends live in the area, so tons of other fun was had, mostly involving birthdays and restaurants and eating, so it will be good to get back to eating ultra-low carb for a while. Or, to be more precise, it will be prudent go get back to eating ultra-low carb for a while.

Friday, May 1, 2015

GREAT resolutions for May

Here are my resolutions for May (as usual, most of these require more explanation, which I’ll get around to eventually):
  • Goal: 60-second arm hang.
  • Rule: Lift weights three days a week.
  • Errand: Get my bike in riding condition and ride it, at least once. And then do February’s errand even if it kills me.
  • Affirmation: Everything I do, I do out of love.
  • Theme: Miracle mornings.
I decided that I should try to keep running intervals but that my schedule probably won’t allow me to commit to a certain number of days per week or to a goal. Instead, I’m committing to weight lifting, since, one, I’ve actually already been doing it and, two, I have enough equipment that I shouldn’t ever have to go to the gym. Plus I found a simple plan in a chart format that I can print out and use to record everything. I’ve actually been following the same plan for two and a half weeks, which is kind of amazing.

Seems the magic formula for success is not having to leave the house + piece of paper.