Saturday, December 31, 2011

Routine poutine

How's THAT* for motivation? Get your routine on, ladies! 

But, yes, it being that time of year, I've been thinking what I would like my routine to be. I have found it helpful to have a schedule, and a basic framework. Yes, I am the Mistress of the Obvious. Anyway, as much as I would like to be a cat (routine: sleep, watch birds out the window, kibbles, kitten freak-out, sleep), I am not. 

So, if the goals are to go on a trip, keep running, be my painfully-literal-but-diplomatic-self-with-a-fabulous home, garden, and ass, I'm going to need to build in the little things that support such goals. 

The thing I've been obsessed with for the last 24 hours is some yoga / stretching / dancing every day. And when I look at what my professed goals are, I no longer see where that fits in. This structure also makes knitting a waste of time - which is true, to a certain extent. I took up knitting / crochet to make TV-watching productive. As you could probably deduct, TV-watching does not support any of my goals. OH, MISTRESS OF THE OBVIOUS. YOU ARE SO CRUEL! 

So yeah, what's the routine again? I should be fixing, cleaning, running, or gardening right now? (Luckily, I did have writing on the original list, so I'm not REALLY wasting time right now.) Who made this list?

Okay, the routine has built-in slacker time in it. Fine. And really, as the kitties have taught us, time to watch the birdies is valuable as well. And naps. Lots of kitten naps. 

And yoga / stretching / dancing every day. Blog is twice a week. (Preferably Sunday and Wednesday.) Running is whatever. The trip is based on working and saving money. I can clean or fix something every day.  Read before bed. Garden on Saturdays. I will make a google calendar to keep track. 

New Year's, baby!!

*I have never eaten poutine. But I would like to visit Toronto or Quebec again. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Annual Review: 2011 Was Kind of a Struggle

OMG I love the end of the year. Have I mentioned the "fresh sheet of paper" theory? Probably last year. Top ten lists, mind-maps, LISTS! (you know I love lists, right?), planning, listing, sparkles! But I'm really excited this year, because I found things on the internet that support my love of such things!

This year, I am using the annual review process I found on I am also reading (from the Kindle lending library) a book about running life lessons. (Side note: it amuses and intrigues me that so many self-improvement ideas involve running. I suppose that's one of the reasons I keep trying, because there's some sort of connection that I can't fully name.) And really, that's what this blog is all about, between the whining and the dancing and thankfulness lists - what IS the meaning of life?

So, with no further ado: 2011: What went well this year?

My job: I know it's just a job. But I like to do things that I'm good at and that make a difference for others. I really do think that healthcare quality standards make things better for patients. And really simple ones, especially. It amazes me sometimes that United States National Patient Safety Goals have to include "Wash your hands" and "Make sure you have the right patient before you begin treatment", but they really do! And, colleagues that I know in my heart really care and want to do the right thing still struggle with these goals. I do feel that I'm in the right place at the right time, for once.

My health: no new cancer. This is more of a happy coincidence than the result of anything I've done. Next year, I will try harder.

Travel: I went to New Orleans (and I still haven't uploaded the pictures). It was amazing, and not what I assumed at all. I forgive you, South.

Voice: Not singing. But in the heat of some discussions (at work and at home), some voice of truth came out of me. I did not know the words. I should have listened closer, honestly. But I was happy it was there, and I look forward to hearing it more.

Dance: I love dancing. There, I said it out loud. And it means something, in the world. Have you seen this?
So inspiring.

What did not go well?
My garden: too much time online, not enough outside. I will correct that next year.

Running: I kind of dropped out. But like I said above, it appears to be important. I do like it. I just don't love it enough to be obsessed. I think if I sneak up on it, and very casually regard it and hold hands, we can do it again.

Relationship: Being married is hard. I think every mature human in a relationship knows this, but goes for the dumb fairy tale of yore every time. "Marriage" is a gatekeeper, Chris Gillebeau! I'm not sure what to do about it, except realize that I've paid the toll and we're on the road and we'll see where it goes.

Friendships: I'm good at hanging out. I'm not so good at being there. I will try harder for anyone who deserves it this year. I would love to be able to drop the "deserves it" clause, but the scar tissue makes me kind of thick sometimes.

My job: I have briefly succumbed to showing up. I want to be there, too. If I want to be there. You know.

Almost there: GOAL!!!!(s) for 2012. The theme? Small Change, Big Pay-Off.

My job: I will put the passion back by doing what I'm good at - literal, focused analysis with the big picture in mind.

My health: I will sneak the running back. I will remember that I never overeat anymore.

Travel: I want to go to Belgium / Netherlands / Luxembourg in the fall of 2012. There. I said it. 7 -10 days. Investigation begins now.

Voice: I will listen to the voice. Unless it's a voice about cookies or something.

House: I will fix things that are broken. This will make a pleasant environment.

Write: I will keep this blog up! Add pictures! Once a week!!! Exclamation makes it happen.

Dance: I will do a tribal solo at the August show. I will gain confidence by just dancing to my own music at home once a week.

Garden: I have seen the internet. I will then go outside, even if it's only 15 minutes of weeding or pruning.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Well, the costuming frenzy is over for now. Here is one of the performances from our hafla last week. I made the tassel belt and harem pants that I wear. The sewing machine has been out since early October in almost constant use.

I learned a lot from this performance. In this video, I can spot plenty of screw-ups on my performance of the choreography. But good part is, I did not grimace. I did not stop. I looked the audience in the eye and said "Oh yeah?" I'm not really grimacing now that I see it after the fact, either. This is progress! I have "found whiz"!

For a minute, anyway. Always moving forward. I'd be interested in getting a serger, or just knitting for a while. What about making my own costume with beading? I would like to do a solo performance this year. Moving forward and BUILDING, not just another blank page.

I wish I had a video of the other group performance, with the other costume.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Experiments in Walking

(picture from last year - I just realized this blog is getting a little text-heavy).

If you want to really bother people for reasons they can't pin down, try walking differently. It's been quite interesting to observe the reactions to a change that should only affect me, yet drives others crazy.

I went to a belly dance workshop Halloween weekend with Tempest. She was giving a lot of performance tips and really just daily practice ideas (which is what I was lacking) and one of them was to walk toe-heel EVERYWHERE (to improve posture, dancer's poise, stop yourself from stepping on something regrettable before your full body weight is on it, etc.). Perhaps the same weekend, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine about running form, which was also about the negatives of a heavy heel strike.

So I started stomping around my office differently. I think it's most annoying there because of the tile floors and my heels. People accused me of trying to sneak up on them, as it's a much different heel noise. It's also kind of hard with heels, but I think I've got it worked out now.

I also use it when shopping, and I notice that it draws a lot more attention. Or maybe it's that I'm looking for reaction, and therefore find it, I don't know. It makes me much more conscious of walking, so that's part of it.

I've also tried it walking downtown with sneakers, and it's much harder then! It's like I can't go fast enough. A lot of the effort seems to come from the lower abdomen instead of the calf pushing off, which is at least different. I also use it for a break while running.

I do think it's changed my leg quite a bit. I see more muscle in the back of my leg than before (but that could have been the tights I was wearing - I have no measurements or anything).  I do feel the jarring now with the traditional heel-toe walk. It just feels more graceful. I think I'm going to stick with it.

The funniest part to me is that Richard hasn't really noticed. But then, how often do you see your wife walking? Especially if your wife is me - I'm more likely to be loafing. But yeah, the co-workers think I'm crazy (my mistake for explaining my theories and experiments). Random passers-by probably just can't figure out what's different, or are wondering when the dancing begins. Which I like, actually.