Friday, January 23, 2009

Fitness Friday: Goals, greater

Warning: this is a long post. I didn't intend anything this ambitious when Brenda asked as to post expanded goals for this week's Fitness Friday. But it turned out to be something I thought I should spend some time on, so here you have it.

I used a worksheet from the website of Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love. If you'd like a copy of the full worksheet, let me know and I'll round up the link again. The text in blue is directly from the sheet.

1. FINANCIAL Income, Investments (If you can’t dream it, it won’t happen)

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4

I’m going to skip this section for now, as I’ve already talked about my financial goals. To sum up, we’re on the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover and digging our way through “Babystep #2: Debt Snowball” with gazelle intensity.

2. PHYSICAL Health, Appearance, Exercise

“The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having not enough time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.” Eric Hoffer

Five-Year Goals

I have the energy to be able to hike, ride my horse and play with my children. I am wearing size 6/8 clothes, and I devote time to exercise at least 4 days a week. My family eats nutritious meals and healthy food choices are second nature.

One-Year Goals
(Unless I’m pregnant) I weigh 135 pounds. I’m strong enough to help my husband cut and collect firewood and I’m quick enough to compete with him in racquetball. I exercise every work day at the Rec Center. I ride my horse every weekend we are home, weather permitting.

Beginning TODAY!
I weigh myself once a week at the gym to track my progress. I get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep on most nights. I plan my meals so I’m not tempted to make unhealthy choices, but I also allow myself to enjoy food. Once the weather warms up, I take daily walks while dinner is cooking, with my family and dog.

3. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT Knowledge, Education, Self-Improvement

“Never rest on your achievements; always nurture your potential.”
Denis Waitley

Five-Year Goals
· Learn how to play my piano to the point that I can play the songs in the books of sheet music that I own.
· Refresh my French
· Learn another language
· Design a homeschool curriculum

One-Year Goals
· Pick up ballroom dancing again – so we can enjoy dancing without thinking about feeling uncomfortably inept

Beginning TODAY!
· Read or listen to one non-fiction book for every two novels on my list

4. FAMILY Relationship to others, Development of children, Where do you want to live?

Five-Year Goals
· Have a yearly “honeymoon” with Jon, just the two of us on vacation
· Develop a group of close friends now that we’ve settled down in one area – positive people I can learn from and enjoy being around
· Continue the habit of discussing interesting things with my husband every day, even though we don’t commute together anymore

One-Year Goals
· Read three “Parenting” books
· Set aside at least two weekends of the month that are just for our family to spend time together, with no other obligations outside of church
· Visit my Southern relatives and introduce them to Aurelia

Beginning TODAY!
· Write two letters a week to friends/family
· Talk to each of my siblings on the phone at least once a month
· Finish the video of “Aurelia’s 1st year” to send to my grandma

5. SPIRITUAL Church involvement, Personal commitment, Theological understanding

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139: 23-34

Five-Year Goals
· Host a women’s book club
· Have a family from church over for dinner and fellowship at least once a month
· Teach my children to memorize large amounts of Scripture (and memorize with them)

One-Year Goals
· Read the Message paraphrase of the Bible
· Re-read Captivating and complete the workbook

Beginning TODAY!
· Journal every day for at least 5 minutes
· Devote time specifically for prayer – however long it takes to drink a cup of tea
· Start going to Sunday School again

6. SOCIAL Increased number of friends, Community involvement, etc.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” Benjamin Disraeli

I pretty much covered my “social” goals under “Family.”

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
*How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

7. CAREER Ambitions, Dreams, Hopes

“That every man find pleasure in his work – this is the gift of God.” Ecc. 3:13

Five-Year Goals
· Be an established editor
· Finish two novels to my satisfaction (and hopefully to a publisher’s)
· Write articles/adventures regularly for RPG publications

One-Year Goals
· Finish the research for my PhD and start writing my thesis
· Publish two articles on my research in peer-reviewed journals
· Submit to RPG Superstar 2010
· Have one adventure published by Paizo

Beginning TODAY!
· Submit a proposal for Pathfinder Society Scenario #23
· Finish editing Mark’s book (by February 1st)
· Complete the application for the Poncin Fellowship
· Run two Western blots a day, every workday

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The "R" Word

It turns out, I'm a wimp. Aside from a harrowing weekend of trying to finish editing a diamond-in-the-very-rough 110,000 word manuscript, all of my spare time in the past month or so has gone into an enthusiastic effort to break into RPG freelancing. In December I submitted what we geeks call a "wondrous item" to RPG Superstar. It was a cool idea: iconic but unlike any other item I've seen in the game. I had friends review it. I tweaked it until I was perfectly happy with it. I triple-checked the formatting. And I managed to get my neat idea across in 200 words or less.

Then I waited in eager anticipation for the Top 32 to be announced. At 2:00, today.

You can guess what happened. My name did not show up. Not even in the alternates.

Granted, there were hundreds of entries, and I know that I was competing with an immense amount of talent. Which is why I'm proud of the fact that I even took a chance on myself and entered the contest. But I was certain I would make it to the next round. Not arrogant. Just certain.

Have you ever seen the movie Gattaca? If you haven't, you should definitely pick it up at your earliest opportunity - it's a fantastic sci-fi movie that grows more relevant every day. But I digress. There's a scene in the movie where the main character, one of the last of his generation to be conceived naturally and thus considered "inferior", is asked how he beat his quality-controlled younger brother in a contest of endurance. By all measures of physiology and genetic expectation, the younger brother should have won. But twice when the brothers swam out in the ocean, as far as they could go, the superior brother called it quits first, and was hauled back safely to dry land by the brother who was supposed to die young of a feeble heart. Sputtering and beaten, he finally asks - how?

The answer: "I never saved anything for the swim back."

I thought about this scene when I realized that I had not braced myself for the possibility of rejection. I threw all of my hope and expectation into this contest. I didn't save any of myself back.

Now I'm paying the price. Although a $1 hot fudge sundae from McDonald's helped dry up the tears. (Yep, I'm that emotional. Call my silly or call me sad, that's the way I am.)

I'm not going to quit. My husband, who I admit may be partial and/or a survivalist, assures me I am creative and someday, somewhere, someone is going to realize that and fall in love with my writing. I hope he's right, because I've realized through this process that I really want this.

I'm reminded of the time I first took a pregnancy test after Jon and I started hoping for a family. I thought it was something that would be great if it happened, but it would also be fine if it didn't - at least for a while. Then the test came up negative. And I learned in that moment that, more than I had ever imagined, I wanted it to come up positive.

In the end, I'm going to be glad about this turn of events because I learned something important about myself. And as surely as Aurelia brightens up my life with her delightful smile and toddler talk, someday I'm going to see one of my adventures (and maybe even a novel?) in print. I'm going to make it back to shore. More important, I'm going to head out to sea again too.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fitness Friday: Accessories and Attitude

Our Fitness Friday assignment is more pro-active this week. We're supposed to "tweak our wardrobe", however we choose. I challenged myself to do something to improve my wardrobe every day of the week. Here's the run-down:

Sunday: Today I braved up and wore a dress that I just loved when I bought it, but later decided was too "fun" for me. I had my eye on the dress for some time at the mall, and snatched it up when the store was down to the last one, which happened to be my size and over 70% off. I wore it once in Paris, but haven't worn it since. Last week I read a quote from a famous fashion designer, who quipped that "The most important thing about a dress is the woman wearing it." So I asked myself this morning, do I want to be the kind of woman who wears this dress? The answer was yes, so out of the closet it came.

Monday: Okay, more of a challenge today. I don't have time to sort through clothes I should get rid of and I already spent my monthly clothing budget on some new support from my favorite Victoria. So what can I use that I don't normally use? Aha!

Perfume! I rarely wear perfume, although I have some lovely scents in my bathroom cabinet. Today I'm spritzing on some "Tribute", from Mary Kay. It may not be a huge change for my wardrobe, but maybe it will turn a few heads in my direction or make someone in the elevator smile. (Err...I mean the STAIRwell).

REPORT: Moments after getting home tonight, I breezed through the bathroom to "freshen up" before cooking dinner - lipstick, hairbrushing, and another puff of perfume. Jon immediately said, "You smell nice!"

Tuesday: Time to toss out the frumps. Again. I'm surprised I have any clothes to wear, since it seems like I'm always cleaning out my closet. Here's a picture of the discards:

Total discards: One holey and shapeless robe, one ill-fitting undershirt whose top has long gone missing, another shapeless shirt that looked cute up until about the fifth washing, and one winter coat that has spilled latte on it from over a year ago and a bajillion pill-beads. Buh-bye!

Wednesday: Okay, another challenge. Today I'm going to add some new items into the standard rotation. I received some lovely things for Christmas that I haven't started using yet, and I have several wardrobe pieces that I put away during my pregnancy that haven't seen the light of day since.

Thursday: Shopping time! I have $20 of credit at Ross and I'm meeting my MIL to pick up my daughter at the mall after work, so I'm going to leave a little early and see what I can get to spice things up. What I'll be looking for: headbands and skirts. (Now let's just see if I can stay out of the baby clothes section!)

RESULTS: Sadly, Ross only had two skirts in my size. One was lavender and polyester and the other was shapeless black. No luck on the headbands either. But I did find this shirt, which I was shocked to find that I liked.

Me, in animal print???

I only tried it on because it felt soft, said Jones New York, and was marked down to $2.99. Turns out that I like how it looks on me. Cha-ching!! (Oh yeah, and I left the tags on in the picture to show that it was new...'cause I'm sure you think I'm cheating...haha).

Friday: Okay, I'm using the picture above to demonstrate my wardrobe tweak today. Necklaces! Thanks to a best friend who makes and sells gorgeous jewelry (link to her creativity blog in my sidebar: A Bit O' Shine) and a judicious hint a few years ago to my husband, I have a lot of pretty necklaces that I stopped wearing after having Aurelia. She's old enough now that chewing on my jewelry isn't usually an issue, so I'm making a deliberate effort to accessorize with them.

OVERALL RESULTS: On the way to work today, Jon commented that I looked really nice, and specifically gave me an "A+" on everything from boots to hair.

That's my week of wardrobe tweaks! *Phew* Tough assignment, Brenda! But interesting.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fitness Friday: Feelin' Good

Our assignment for Fitness Friday this week is to talk about things that makes us feel good.

Here's my list off the top of my head:

1) Racquetball - this is the first thing I think of because I just finished an invigorating game with Jon. When we first got married, the little apartment complex we lived in had a racquetball court. So we picked up some rackets from Play-it-again Sports and a rules pamphlet from the student rec center and started bashing a little blue ball around the court. We've kept it up on and off, although I had to quit when I got pregnant. We just picked it up again last week, and so far I've won half the games! And Jon wasn't even using his left arm...haha.

2) Horseback riding - My first pony, Silver, came into my life when I was 9 years old. (Well, Bonnie was first, but due to the frequency of occasions she tried to kill me I tend not to count her). I've loved riding ever since, but my current horse gets to lounge around in the pasture eating hay far too often. Again, something I quit during my pregnancy...but I haven't really picked it back up yet. This summer! (Assuming baby #2 isn't cooking by then). Anyway, riding through the wheat fields on my horse is very refreshing to me, just watching for wildlife and galloping away to my heart's content (helmet firmly on head, Mom!).

3) Finishing something - I have a lot of great ideas. (I think). But I'm not so great on finishing through. This is something I'm definitely working on. Anyway, on those occasions I do finish something, I feel like I'm on top of the world. When I actually clicked the "submit" button on RPG Superstar, for example, I found I could live off that boost of confidence for quite some time. Even little things, like making it to the gym today despite the fullness of my schedule, make me feel good.

4) Getting a new "toy" - or new clothes, new books, etc. We're getting new phones soon, and even though I don't think I'll be able to get the one I want, I'm pretty excited about it. I even enjoy when friends or family get a new gadget.

5) Writing and editing - I'm surprised at how much I enjoy this, actually. Sitting with a mocha, a laptop and a manuscript to edit (or even better, an adventure proposal to submit) makes me feel great. Sometimes I dread the thought of working on a rough manuscript, but once I get going it's really quite fun.

6) Making someone smile/Helping someone
- Doesn't this make everyone feel good?

7) Providing good meals for my family - I don't know how much I really enjoy cooking, but it makes me feel very good to have a decent menu planned every month, within budget and full of variety and good nutrition.

Time to head back up to the lab and check on my bacteria! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hair...or not?

This morning I decided to write a post about hair, as it seems to be a topic of great interest these days. (See these posts at The Family Revised and Breathing Grace). The problem is, I can't remember what exactly I was going to write about.

What happened to my memory??

Huh. I'm sure it was very interesting. Perhaps even life-altering.

Wait! I just remembered. Nope, not as profound as I thought.

Here's the thing about hair - like many wives, I have my hair long right now because that's what my husband likes. I actually like it either way, but my problem with keeping it long is that I am completely, absolutely, inept at styling my hair. When it's short-ish (shoulder-length), I can just dry it really quick and leave it be, and I think it looks okay. When it's long, not so much...

So, I realize that one service that I would willingly and gladly pay for is for someone to actually teach me how to style my hair. You know, kind of like how Mary Kay consultants teach you how to put your own makeup on and look nice, unlike the department store cosmetic counters that apply it for you. On those too infrequent occasions I have my hair cut and styled at a salon, it always looks so nice. Then a couple of days later we're back to straight blow dry or a wet braid after my morning shower.

Granted, I have been taking more time in the morning to dry my hair, and have even discovered that it looks good in a simple black headband (I've avoided headbands ever since 5th grade or so, when I had to use them to grow my bangs out). But anything else I try only looks good for about 10 minutes. When I see other women casually create a sophisticated bun with a pencil, I want to pull my poor, neglected hair out!

Every once in a while I'll break down and buy some new product or hair-styling device. Sometimes they even work! For the first use, that is.

Did I miss out completely on the hair-styling mojo gene? I assumed it was on the X chromosome, but maybe mine got cut out during meiosis or something. Is there any hope? Why doesn't anyone teach this??

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ftiness Friday: Add and Subtract

Time to blog again! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!!

Our assignment for Fitness Friday this week is to talk about adding something and subtracting something. I've been thinking about this all week, and here's what I came up with:

I want to ADD calories to breakfast and SUBTRACT calories from dinner. I was at the library earlier this week and checked out a great issue of Good Housekeeping (July 2008), that has a ton of helpful fitness tips in it. One of the things I read is that people who consume between 22-50% of their daily calories at breakfast do a better job of maintaining or losing weight over time. I don't remember the exact details (and the magazine is in the car, which requires a cold trudge through a couple feet of snow...brrr), but I started eating larger breakfasts earlier this week. So far, I am less hungry throughout the day. I'll let you know how it goes.

I also want to ADD more gratitude, which should SUBTRACT stress. From the same issue of Good Housekeeping, I read that it's physically impossible to feel stressed when you're grateful. Wednesday I had several frustrating incidents involving technology, and I put this plan into action. Instead of being angry that I couldn't access my newly downloaded audiobook, I thought about how grateful I was that Jon bought me a present as thoughtful as audiobooks for my mp3 player. After our monthly budget meeting I also chose to be thankful that we have enough money to cover our necessary expenses, instead of worrying about how several new bills are going to stretch our resources. I have to say, so far it's helping.

The holidays were not good for my fitness goals, but I've been to the gym every day this week (except for yesterday, when it was closed). As an added bonus, I even got to play racquetball with my husband, which we used to do almost every day when we were first married. (un?)Fortunately, it's been so long since we played that we're both super rusty and I could actually compete with him! Haha...

Well, see you all next week!