Monday, March 30, 2009

Resolutions - Part 2

To refresh your memory, this year, instead of having goals or resolutions for the entire 12 months, I decided to set goals for a quarter at a time. Let's discuss how I did.

1st Quarter Goals
1. Attend church every week I'm in town. I actually did fairly well on this one. I only missed church three times; one time I was sick and one time I had a guest visiting. I missed it a few more times due to traveling but those don't count, remember.

2. Exercise every day. I did really well on this one. Once I felt recovered enough from my surgery, I exercised in some way or another almost every day this quarter. I did miss a few days, naturally; a couple days when I was sick a couple weeks ago, a couple days last weekend while in Vegas with family (though I did get some physical activity moving boxes/furniture and walking the Strip/casino), and a few times due to poor planning on my part. All in all, though, I'm very pleased.

3. Read 3 Shakespeare plays. This one has to be far and away the easiest goal but I didn't accomplish it at all. Not a single play read. Good grief. I may need to rethink this goal as it obviously isn't important enough for me to even attempt!

4. Invite friends to my house at least once a month. I did ok with this goal. January I invited people over three times, once in February, and none in March. Not that there weren't people at my house in March, I just didn't expressly invite them over for the intents and purposes of this goal.

Now, on to my goals for the next quarter. For the past few days, I've been thinking about what I'd like to change in my life or what I'd like to focus on more. My 2nd quarter goals reflect my thoughts.

2nd Quarter Goals
1. Go to at least two meetings of church every week I'm in town. Although last quarter I did fairly well with going to church every week I was in town, I never stayed after the first meeting. I have always enjoyed the second meeting (Sunday School), so it should be fairly easy to stay at church a little longer. Cross your fingers.

2. Save $300 a month. (Not including income from renters.) I've never made an actual goal to save any certain allotment of money every month - I just stick excess into my savings account sort of haphazardly. As warmer weather gets closer, I start dreaming of trips to nearby national parks and am sure I'll find other ways to spend more money, so I need to have a savings plan in place in order to budget accordingly.

3. Play tennis and swim once a week (each). I'll still walk and ride my bike, but I want to add some variety to my exercise routine. I would love to have a designated tennis night and play every week like we have in past years! It may be a little cold to start right away, but once the weather is consistently warmer, I'd love to start playing again. Anyone interested in joining me??? And, I love swimming. It feels so good to be in the water, working my entire body at the same time. I hate the hassle of getting in and out of the pool, though, so I'm only going to plan on going once a week instead of more often (I'd go every day if a. I could walk to the pool in 10 minutes or less and b. it wasn't such a pain to change clothes, shower, swim, shower, change clothes). Now I need to go home and find my swimming suit - I haven't seen it since I moved last June!

4. Read or listen to French every day. I really want to be prepared when I go to France next year - I know my vocabulary is totally suffering from neglect. Adam gave me some French music to listen to (Notre Dame de Paris - thanks, Adam!) and I've purchased 5 books in French; two are full of short stories, one is a book of fairy tales, one is a sci-fi/fantasy novel, and the last is a classic: Le Petit Prince - I'm going to start it first because it's pretty famous and I've never read it. I'm betting that having a reason to do it (being able to converse in French while in France) helps me work harder at this goal than last quarter's Shakespeare goal (*moment of silence for that goal*).

Whenever I set resolutions/goals, I try to pick things designed to improve my mind, body, heart, and spirit. Since this quarter I sort of combined body and heart in one goal (tennis = physical activity and social interaction), I added a fiscal goal into the mix. It's my list, so I pretty much get to do whatever I want with it. Teehee.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Is Here!

Things I Like About Spring: (in no particular order, despite the numbers used)

1. Crushes. What is it about Spring that makes our thoughts turn to Romance? I don't know, and it doesn't really matter, I guess. I just enjoy having Spring crushes! My current crush developed this week: the new Fed Ex driver. He's cute, he's friendly, and he has a nice smile. I don't know his name. It doesn't matter - it's just a crush!

2. Flowers. I went for a walk earlier this week and noticed flowers beginning to sprout in my old roommate's yard. So exciting! Tulips, daisies, and daffodils are some of my favorite flowers (though I'm a sucker for just about any variety) and they are quintessentially SPRING. It's almost time for me to buy myself more flowers and I can't wait. I hope Albertson's has tulips when I lose two more pounds!

3. Green. This morning, sitting on my porch for a few moments before heading to work, I noticed that there are several trees in view that are beginning to get the slightest touches of green on their branches. Woohoo! I love my view year-round, but my favorite is when all the leaves are adorned with green leaves. I may be getting addicted to my porch.

4. Daylight. A lot of people complain when Daylight Savings starts. Yeah, I didn't love waking up an hour early on March 8th, especially since I had to wake up at 6:15 (which would have been 5:15 the day before). However, one morning of inconvenience (or a few mornings if you're one of those people who have to take a little time to adjust) is nothing compared to the extra daylight we get! I can now go for a good long walk after work - that is priceless in my book.

5. Warmth. Lately, heaven-on-earth = sitting on my porch basking in the warmth of the sun on a quiet weekend afternoon. There's just a hint of warmth on my face that managed to break through the chill. It's lovely. I love that my heating bill goes down this time of year because I'm being heated naturally by the sun. I've even cracked my bedroom windows open a couple times because my room gets so warm! Warmth and a slight breeze at the same time! Nice.

6. Spring Cleaning. There's a reason this phrase was coined and became so common - it just feels right to clean extensively this time of year. Maybe the increased sunlight sheds light on things that need cleaning. Or maybe we want our homes to smell as nice as the outdoors. Who knows. No matter the reason, that feeling of wanting to clean deeper is essential to my home staying in good form. That said, this year it may not be me that does the deep, deep cleaning. I'm thinking of hiring someone to do it. Yes, it's lazy, but I don't have kids that I can make clean the stuff I want cleaned but don't want to clean (i.e., the window sills, behind the kitchen appliances, the door frames, the floor boards, above the cupboards, inside the stove, etc.). I justify it by saying it's my little way of helping out the local economy. Teehee.

7. Softball. I'm not a huge fan of baseball on tv, but I love watching softball or baseball live. I'm lucky enough to live within walking distance of the local softball park, and I really enjoy walking over to watch a game or two a couple times a week once softball season starts. This year I actually know people who will be playing (my roommate Jeff and maybe one of my brothers) which will be neat, though it's still fun even when I don't.

8. Hope, Energy, Purpose. Maybe it's the new-ness of Spring, things coming back to life, that gives me a renewed sense of these three. I feel like I can throw off the things that are holding me back and become a newer, better me. Spring is a perfect time for me to make plans and goals. In fact, next month I'll be posting my 2nd quarter goals and I've been thinking of what they'll be.

Happy Spring!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What a Weekend!

I had a delightful weekend!

And, quite frankly, I deserved it.

Going into the weekend, it had been 12 days since I'd had a day off and I'd been getting progressively more ill every day until I reached the pinnacle of feeling awful Friday morning. I took Friday off of work, spent the day with a fever (until I remembered that I have Tylenol, which claims - truthfully, it turned out - to reduce fevers), trying to cough up my insides, and generally wanting to die and put myself out of my misery. Yes, I'm a bit of a baby when I'm sick. Being ill led to missing a friend's party Thursday night and going to a movie Friday night with another friend.

Saturday morning, I awoke from a Nyquil-induced slumber feeling better than I had in days. I still couldn't breath normally and still coughed every few minutes, but I had more energy, I didn't ache everywhere, and the fever was gone. I opened all the blinds in my house, letting the Spring sun burst in. The light invigorated me even more, so I cleaned.

I love cleaning in the Spring. Something about new beginnings, I guess. I cleaned my bathroom, my bedroom, and my kitchen. And when I say cleaned, I mean cleaned! I even washed the inside of my dishwasher - you know, the parts that get gucked up somehow like the rim around the dishwasher door. Yeah, it was kind of weird, but it felt great to clean! I vacuumed and dusted, things I really dislike doing, and even contemplated tidying my spare bedroom. Didn't happen - I wasn't that crazy!

I finished in time to have a quick chat with Cassie, who had accidentally called me earlier. I didn't realize it had been an accidental call, so I called her back. I then showered and got ready for the day. It was still early, so I sat on my porch and read. It was a moment of heaven on earth.

A short time later, Adam came for a visit. He was on his way to his parents' home for the weekend and asked if he could come by for a little while. Of course, I said yes. We talked for a bit, then he showed me Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. It was funny and enjoyable and a little surprising. I loved it! We talked some more then he said goodbye and I waved him down the stairs.

Alyson returned from Las Vegas shortly after Adam left. We decided to go out for dinner - I had only eaten meagerly throughout the day - and chose The Garden House. She had never been, though we have tried to eat there several times. The soup was divine, like usual, as was the brownie sundae that we shared. After dinner, we picked up my mom and drove out to my brother's house for games. It was a really nice evening.

Aly and I got back to my home fairly early but offset this by staying up 'til 3am watching multiple episodes of Iron Chef America and talking. Staying up this late while recovering from a nasty cold wasn't the best of ideas, but it was fun nonetheless. I woke up late Sunday morning feeling slighly under the weather, but not horrible. We talked some more then decided we were both really hungry and so probably should remedy that a.s.a.p. by going out for breakfast. IHOP was our chosen destination, and I picked a very delicious avocado, bacon, and cheese omlette. Afterwards, we talked some more at my home, sometimes enjoying the sunshine from my porch, but mostly from my living room because it was quite windy as well as sunny. Alyson eventually left, and I was sad to see her go; it had been a fun visit.

Between her departure and my roommates' arrival, I read, napped, watched a little TV, and sometimes just sat on my porch and watched the world around me. I love lazy Sunday afternoons and I LOVE that the days stay light longer now. As the sun started to set, I went inside and rode my bike for the first time since Wednesday night. It felt great to get my legs pumping again. While riding, a good friend called. We've been playing phone tag for weeks, so I was thrilled that I was available to chat. I finished my ride as we talked then went back to my beloved porch for the duration of the phone call. It was great to sit there and watch the stars slowly appear as I caught up with my friend. I stayed out there after the call ended and read until bedtime.

This weekend rejuvenated my body, my mind, and my soul. I cleaned, visited with family and friends, and had time to ponder, read, and relax. Basically, it was the perfect mix, and I needed it.

Thank heavens for weekends like that!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mystery Gift Game

My sister-in-law, Rachel, posted this on their blog, and I thought it was a fun idea. Plus, I like getting mystery gifts. Well...I've never been given a mystery gift, but the premise sounds fun. AND, this year, my goal is to give all home-made gifts for Christmas, so this will give me some practice. Here are the rules:

The first three people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
2- What I create will be just for you.
3- It'll be done this year.
4- You have no clue what it's going to be.
5- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 3 people who do the same on your blog.The first 3 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me! Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!
Who's in?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Compared to 20 years ago (or so), I am definitely better at:
1. Hitting a baseball. One Spring back in middle school, Dad took me to a softball field and we spent the day working on my softball skills. He patiently tried to teach me to bat, throw, and pitch (you must admit, pitching is different that throwing). I'm sad to say I failed to learn how to successfully perform any of them; all I could do was catch and run and could do neither very well.

This past weekend, my family celebrated the Spring-like weather by playing outside a lot. Sunday afternoon, we went to the park and hit baseballs. Nothing formal; one batter, one pitcher, and everyone else fielded balls 'til it was time for them to either pitch or bat. Mostly my oldest brother pitched, but we spelled him every so often. Turns out, I'm still horrible at throwing a ball - no aim or distance. I can hit that darn ball, though! Finally! Almost every pitch - even some bad ones - my bat made contact with the ball enough to propel it forward (in other words, decent hits, not foul balls). Some of those hits had quite a bit of mustard on them and went a ways out. Why couldn't I have caught on in middle school when I was unbelievably asked to join the softball team. I struck out every time at bat - yeah, I ended up warming the bench a lot. Why now? Why can I hit a ball now? Weird.

Compared to 20 years ago (or so), I am definitely worse at:
1. Articulate Speech. Part of the problem could be attributed to the slight lisp created by my new teeth, but I'm afraid that isn't the main problem. I'm talking about using words and/or phrases incorrectly and often messing up well-known, albeit sometimes trite, sayings. More than a decade of fairly voracious reading has increased my vocabulary, introduced me to a variety of pithy phrases, and pretty much hampered my ability to speak coherently. You see, I have a slow brain. The more options it has from which to choose, the longer it takes to decide which option would sound best for that situation/sentence/sentiment/etc. While Ms. Brain sorts through the racks of Synonyms, Pithy Statements, and Really Big, Intelligent-Sounding Words & Phrases, my mouth (who is quicker than my brain) sees something shiny and interesting and spits it out even though it's totally inane and incorrect. Like when I would like to say a word meaning aware of one's surroundings or situation, the word that escapes my mouth is "succinct" instead of a better word like "conscientious". It's not Ms. Brain's fault, she would never have chosen that word! Mouth is to blame. Now, you'll hopefully understand when I mix metaphors, misquote famous sayings, and basically manhandle the English language in general.

2. Dream Impractical Dreams. Ah, the dreams of my youth! Nothing was off-limits or undo-able. The man of my dreams awaited for the perfect time to enter my life, sweep me off my feet, and treat me like a queen for the rest of my days. 'Til that time, I'd travel all over the world - explore the pyramids, eat bread and cheese in Paris, climb the Great Wall of China - really experience what the world had to offer. I'd live in big cities in tiny, but ultra-cool apartments. I could do and be anything. Now, the dream closest to my heart is to be mostly out of debt. A sensible, uber-practical dream that will be very nice when it happens. And, uber-boring! Not bad, just kind of sad. I enjoy being an adult and am okay accepting the accompanying (the first word I wanted to write was "recumbent" - see what I mean?) responsibilities. I wish I had the courage to still Dream Big.

At some point, I discovered that unfulfilled dreams => disappointment => heart pain => no fun at all! Hope slowly took a seat against the gymnasium wall, silently praying that someday I'd have the courage to walk across the room and ask it for a dance. Not that Practical Dreams don't deserve their space on the dance floor; in fact, some of them should never leave it. They are important. It's just that I'm finally in a position to make some Big Dreams come to pass, and, baby, it's time to make room for the wild girls! Especially when Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" comes on! Especially then!

So, Big Dream #1: I'm going to France. Come hell or high water. Alone or with anyone that wants to go with me. I'm going no matter what. Next year! Mark it on your calendar.