Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Walking into winter

I added up all my Map My Run walks and determined that, to meet my goal for September, I need to walk eight more miles between now and tomorrow tonight.

I guess I could do that. But I could also prorate the mileage (after subtracting out the four days I was sick and physically incapable of walking) and announce that I am not only done but did a mile extra! Since work is starting to pile up and I feel like I complied with the spirit of the goal, I am leaning toward option 2. But chances are M.H. will see this and make me death-march the last eight miles with him tonight and tomorrow, so who knows.


Speaking of death-marches, winter is coming up, a season that usually starts halfway through fall and ends halfway through spring. I am traditionally not a fan. I don’t have seasonal affective disorder or anything—I’m just not looking forward to six months of dark and cold. And wind. And snow. And ice. And the barren stillness that settles sullenly over the land. And did I mention never, ever seeing the sun?

BUT ANYWAY, I’ve been trying to think of ways I can use my GREAT resolutions for October to do things to prepare—emotionally or physically. I was thinking, for example, of making my errand something that spruces up the house to make it seem brighter and cozier. And for sure I’ll need an affirmation to help me cope (“I welcome the changing of the stupid seasons!”). Any other ideas? I’d love suggestions for a goal, rule, errand, affirmation, or theme.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Four Dances hike

I’m STILL going to have a heck of a time getting to 75 miles of walking this month, but it’s not for lack of trying. Scenes from Saturday’s lovely hike at the Four Dances Recreation Area right outside town:

I was finding it irritating to keep track of miles, so I downloaded the Map My Run iPhone app. You just start “recording” when you start your walk and it tells you your mileage and pace. Works like a charm (as long as you remember to hit “End Workout” before you get back in the car and drive away).

Just 31 miles to go to reach my goal…

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The road to the trail to Glacier Lake

I woke up this morning feeling like I was suffering from allergies, not a cold, and I realized that my problem for the past week was probably that I was suffering from allergies and a cold. Doesn’t seem quite fair, but ANYWAY…

M.H. and I had so much fun hiking last week that we had been wanting to go again while it’s still warm enough. Since the sniffles were down to a manageable level, I decreed myself Well, and off we went.

Our chosen hike was at the end of an 8-mile unpaved road, but the guidebook failed to mention that you really need a high-clearance vehicle (and not a Honda Accord) to make it all the way to the end. This is about where we gave up:

We were in a gorgeous area, though, so we decided to just hike up the road itself. It was a good decision:

Absolutely stunning, and just imagine what I could have captured if we owned a pickup.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Sickness and “The Unhappy Painter”

I am maybe emerging from this cold a bit; it’s so discouraging to feel absolutely rotten after so many weeks of feeling fantastic. For sure my goal of walking 75 miles this month has taken a hit. I’ll have to be diligent about it once I’m convinced that I can walk without falling down—which isn’t going to be today, I’m thinking, but look how I am chipper enough to blog!

There hasn’t been much I’ve been able to focus on the past few days, but I have been going through Mik’s box of ancient memorabilia bit by bit. My favorite discovery so far is a story called “The Unhappy Painter.” It begins:
There was a painter. He was unhappy. His friends were going to move away. I am going to tell you the story.
It turns out the friends were moving because their mother wanted them to live closer to her. After a few misunderstandings and hard feelings at a “grand carnival” they get to the heart of the problem:
[The unhappy painter] finally told them they did not have to move. They looked surprised. They asked him if that was true. So he had to tell them that they were grown up and they did not have to move. And they lived happily ever after.
The end. Did you catch the moral of the story? Once you’re grown up, you no longer have to listen to your well-meaning but overbearing mother! I am dying. (Three more years, Mik, three more years.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


M.H. and I went hiking yesterday and enjoyed a bunch of the so-pretty-they-almost-look-fake views you see here. I was dragging toward the end, though, and I started developing a throat tickle the minute we were off the trail. I spent most of today nursing a miserable sore throat and staring into space.

Glad we got into the mountains at least once this summer, even if it somehow contributed to the whimper-fest that is now my life.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

KonMari’d a kid

We’ve been rolling through our house like an unstoppable KonMari machine, and the most recent victim beneficiary was Mik’s bedroom. He wouldn’t have called it fun to spend three hours with his parents determining which of his possessions spark joy (answer: basically like four of them), but I know he is glad not to be starting his high-school years with a bedroom full of stuffed animals and crayons and seventy-three different sizes of clothes.

(For the record, joy-sparking possessions include T-shirts related to athletic achievements, a Pinewood Derby car shaped like a rubber chicken, a Portal blanket, and every scrap of paper that has anything to do with Science Bowl. We left him a bit more than that, obviously, but it’s nice to know what the essentials are.)

An unfortunate side effect of cleaning Mik’s room is that he wanted to throw out a big box of old stories and drawings, and I didn’t want him to, so now there’s a bunch of kid memorabilia sitting in a pile in my once-clean office INTERRUPTING THE FLOW OF MY PEACE. (This is what you get for not doing things in the proper order—am I right, people who have read this book??)

I’m starting to think it really will be possible to finish the whole house within six months, which is awesome considering that the KonMari promise is that once you experience that single moment of whole-house tidiness nirvana, you will never have to do this again.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

All the happy buzzwords

The secret diet I’ve mentioned a few times has officially been released, so I can call it by its real name now: “AltShift” (by Jason Seib). M.H. and I have been following the AltShift rules for about three weeks, and so far I’m impressed—but not surprised because, as I mentioned, I have nothing but trust and respect for the author. (Still, I’m glad I volunteered to edit this for free because, for some reason I don’t quite understand, I would much rather provide $100 or so worth of pro bono editing work than shell out $25 for an ebook.)

Anyway, we’re AltShifting our little hearts out over here, and KonMari-ing them, too. Or at least a version of KonMari. She suggests that after tackling clothes, you next move on to books, but I don’t think M.H. and I are emotionally prepared for that. Instead, we’re getting rid of other stuff as fast as we can, and I just did a ruthless culling of the junk that was in my office and rearranged some furniture.

I guess it says something about the quality of this diet that both M.H. and I are losing inches AND experiencing a shocking degree of motivation for large projects.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The great closet KonMari-ing

It’s been pure bliss to have only a “normal” amount of work, and so, in my state of freedom, I immediately tackled my massive closet-cleaning project. To follow the KonMari method by the book, you’re supposed to take EVERY item in a category and put it in a huge pile somewhere. Ouch.

But the worst part is handling every single item and deciding what goes and what stays. I was fairly ruthless and ended up with five full garbage bags of clothes to donate. Ouch.

But then came the fun part! I gave some careful consideration to how I wanted to organize what was left and put it all back into my closet, making it as pretty as possible.

I transferred all my neatly folded socks and underwear to shoeboxes (shoeboxes being a KonMari-approved storage solution) and was able to leave my dresser completely empty. Here’s the after:

The pictures really don’t do it justice. My closet is an oasis of peace and pure, radiant joy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

GREAT resolutinos for September

I finished my all-consuming work project last night and now face that weird feeling of “what did I do with my life when I wasn’t working all the time?” Fortunately, it’s September 1, so that gives me an extra incentive to think through some ideas.

(I recently ran across the phrase “September is the new January” in terms of resolutions and fresh starts, and I realized that now, for me, every month is the new January!)

New month’s resolutions:
  • Goal: Walk 75 miles. 
  • Rule: Every day I am working, spend some of that time at the standing desk.
  • Errand: KonMari the crap out of my clothes so I can stop being so jealous of M.H.’s closet. (I’ve been using “KonMari” as a verb lately; sorry.) My closet is large, so maybe I will be able to repurpose some or all of my dresser to store linens or something.
  • Affirmation: This month’s affirmation brought to you by Google Image Search. See above.
  • Theme: Thanksgiving! (Never too early.)
I did well on my August resolutions—five big checkmarks there—but of course they were mostly extremely easy things I was going to do anyway. And, by the way, I may just start spelling the word “resolutinos” since I seem incapable of typing it any other way, and “resolutinos” has a nice ring to it.