So I fell off the soda wagon. The good news is that I was at least deliberate about how much I drank. Since I started the 30 days with no soda, I have only consumed one, and it wasn’t all in one sitting.  The bad news was the the first sip was so fucking delicious that I remembered it the next day and went back for a little more. I was able to go about a week with no soda, then I thought I could have just  a little taste- commence rabbit hole. I am not sure if at this point in my soda recovery, if I am capable of having just a little per week.  I may need the help of soda drinkers anonymous. Is there such a thing? There should be.  So to the title- 30 days starts… NOW!  I will commit to no soda for 30 days and then allow myself to re-evaluate. ( I need this little out- don’t judge me).

The other thing that starts NOW is the training for the  next 1/2 marathon- third in the line up of 50, one in each state. March 17th will knock out Delaware- small state, yes, but close proximity. In my deliberate training efforts, the first step is to get my spreadsheet created with goals for each day from now until March 17.  I ran 4 miles today in 45 minutes, which means my short distance is at my long distance pace. My goal is to finish this half in 2:15- to do that I have to take 9 minutes off my last race and run a 10 minute mile for the entire race. Totally doable, but not without some training milestones.

Replacing soda with running should be easy- right?

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Hopefully a little better, but I didn’t have such a bad year that a repeat would be so terrible. Of course, it would be a New Year without some goals for the upcoming months. Last year’s theme was Regret Minimization– I think I will continue that theme into 2013 and add Be Deliberate. One of the things I find happening is that I get stuck in a pattern/rut. I spend too much time sitting on my ass watching tv/netflix etc. This helps with the knitting productivity, but not much else. I end up not wanting to get up and getting moving. I think this happens because If I have a few hours that I don’t have planned, I am unsure what to do with them, I end up just not starting anything and vegging. Only to then realize 3 hours later that I could have made decent progress on a project or hung out with friends. I end up regretting the time wasted due to not being deliberate with how I am spending my time.

I started last year thinking about 30 day challenges- but the idea never really got off the ground. Maybe I wasn’t deliberate enough. Let 2013 be the year of he 30 day challenge. My goal is at least 3 challenges; most of these are going to be to try or learn something new or to finish a big project. That being said the first challenge is going to be to give up soda. I start as soon as the 2 liter in my fridge is gone (likely tomorrow). I plan to make no other eating goals so I have no excuse to give up early. One of my regrets from last year was the amount of calories that I drank. This year, I will at least try to bring that number down.

It all begins with January- No soda for 30 days and Be Deliberate about how I spend my time.

Yep. This year instead of a bunch of resolutions or goals, I am choosing a theme to try to guide my life. Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, so I am sure I will establish some goals that represent how the theme should play out over the year. While I believe this is inevitable, the driver should be the theme, not the check off list of goals.

Ultimately, success will be determined much later by the lack of regrets for 2012. Being not so great at delayed gratification, this will be a lesson in itself.

What should I do or avoid today in order to minimize the regrets later?

September’s books ran over into October and then I caught up on a few magazines, so there is no real October Book Club, but there is a November Book Club-  With a really upbeat (not really) but important topic- Race.

Books Included:

An Easy Burden by Andrew Young

Started October 18th         Finished- November 1st

This book was okay. I wanted and expected a little more as a historical retelling of the civil rights era. I was disappointed and kind of bored by all of the biographical information about the author. It did make me want to read others’ accounts of what transpired during that era. I did learn a bit more about what happened, but would I really like to understand is why the movement collapsed and how can we use the experiences of that time to really rally people around today’s issues.

Children of the Dream – Children Growing up in the Civil Rights Era

Started October 25th                 Finished November 3rd

This was an interesting read. The main theme of all of the essays was how each now-adult learned about race as a child and how they learned it. Interesting was all the essays on girls hair and light skin vs. dark skin.

Race- An Anthology in the First Person

Started: November 1               Finished November 13th

I appreciated this book because it didn’t just focus on African Americans but rather other races as well. I wouldn’t call the book memorable excep the essay by Henry Gates and Audre Lord. Those essay I would like to keep copies of, although there are so many books to read that I will probably never get back to reading them again.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Started: Nov 13th             Finished: November 27th

What an amazing book! Wilkerson does a great job of weaving in the narratives of three individuals who migrated from the South to the North in three different decades with the journalism and information on the country at the time. One of the things I found most impressive was the way she was able to weave in the stories of other individuals who may have been tangentially connected to one of the three main characters. There were shocking stories to illustrate the illogicality and disgust of racism, which shouldn’t have been shocking but were.

One of the aha moments I had while reading is that we can justify the current state of race relations in the county by saying, “well, it’s is better than it used to be.” People define racism by how previous generations displayed their racism. My parents generation find the idea of lynchings abhorrent, but racial slurs and discriminatory hiring practices were not as shocking or disgusting. My generation abhors racial slurs and any outright displays of racism, therefore we have to hide our racism a little better. We do it by imprisoning a great number of the male workforce with drug laws that are inherently racist. We do it by allowing economic policies that do not give those born and raised in a racist system a fair chance of ever getting out. Let’s hope the next generation finds these policies as abhorrent as we find racist language.

I really wish my friends weren’t runners. Life would be easier if I wasn’t so fucking competitive or if they weren’t runners. On Tuesday I will sign up to run my first 1/2 marathon. The best part, this has slipped me back into my obsessive self, meaning I spent 2 hours today planning my exercise routine for the next 4 months in order to prepare for this damn torturous event. I even got out the blender and put in on the counter, in an effort to prepare breakfast. I hate appliances sitting on the counter.

13.6- what the fuck am I thinking?

So many things.

As I said a few days ago- I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make a list or two.  Finally- I succumb a few things I would like to accomplish.

– Create a budget that will allow me to pay down cc debt and save some money for vacations etc.

– Find a new recipe for each week

– Find some smoothie and cupcake recipes

-Sew some knitting bags

– Sew the CAPS pillows (before I no longer have a CAPS room)

– Train Lucy in sitting, staying, coming on demand

-Write and send gratitude letters

-meditate

-Run 12 miles per week

 Blog at least once a week (preferably once a day)

Re-evaluation to happen in December

September was all about clearing some books and magazines off the shelf.

The early part of September was full of Magazines:

2 Oprahs; 2 Running; 2 Real Simple; Progressive; Mother Jones; and 2 Bust.

The later part included a few novels:

Lamb by Christopher Moore

This was an entertaining read. It was just irreverent enough without being over the top or offensive on purpose. It could have been offensive, but those would be some serious pious people. I liked the portrayal of Jesus- Joshua as a seeker and ultimately a sacrifice to prove a point rather than as a completely selfless act. I also appreciated the portrayal of Mary Magadelene as an actual disciple, not a whore or girlfriend. Biff was by far the best part and was perfectly real enough to make the story work.  I liked it enough to check out some other Moore reads when I feel as if I only need to be entertained.

Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

Eh? It was interesting, but as a mental health professional there were parts that were a little much.  The main character’s breakdown was a little to rushed and not nuanced enough. Her friends and families reaction to the signs and signals were right on though. Also, difficult to deal with was the perfect coincidence that the main character some how ended up working with and caring for the father of her attacker. Overall- entertaining enough, but I expected more.  I liked Midwives and Before You Know Kindness, so I might check out another Bohjalian book but likely from the library.

End of September brought another magazine and the start of Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates- this one will probably continue into October and may get a mention there.

This whole two hours of screentime hasn’t been easy so far, but it has allowed me to be productive.  Crafting t-shirts and keeping the house clean have been much easier. So far already this week I have changed sheets on two beds, designed and 1/2 crafted two t-shirts and gave the puppy a little undivided attention. Oh and also finished a book and blogged a bit more.

So far the most difficult thing has been losing the connection to pop culture and world events. I guess I worry that if I don’t watch t.v. and stay abreast of what’s relevant in today’s color, no matter how silly or stupid it might be, that I will have nothing to connect or talk to people about. There is a lot of arrogance and quite a bit of cyncism buried in that comment. It boils down to I don’t trust that the world around me is willing to rise up and talk about meaningful events and literature and willing to debate and examine life.  We’ll see.

Yep- that’s right its all about limiting my screen time. This has actually not been too hard. I was a little worried about how painful it might be with the new fall season of television starting, but really all I have had to do was prioritize. Well, and keep the DVR in good working order; as long as we don’t fill it up, then I think I will be okay. I have also just eliminated a great deal of time I used to spend on facebook.

With all of this new time so far I have been able to keep up with cleaning and laundry, sew buttons on a sweater, do mid-week shopping/errands, play with the puppies each night, go for a few more runs, finish a book, get more sleep, and write on this silly thing a little more.

I feel better both physically and psychologically- more productivity = a happier me. Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t need to plan all of the things I am going to be able to accomplish due to this new time added to my life.  I’ll save that for the next post. Many lists to come.