Posts Tagged ‘resolutions’

So here’s the deal: I cannot ride a bike.  The old adage is wrong, I learned how to ride a bike as a child, I stopped riding a bike when I was a child, I forgot how to ride a bike.  I actually have written a short essay about trying to learn again just a few years ago.  My friend (and avid cyclist) Jennifer attempted to help me.  I have an ancient bike that rates high in coolness, but low in function.  The thing weighs a ton and it’s entirely too big for me.

Enter resolution #5: Learn to ride a bike . . . for realz.  Jennifer has offered to help again, I have my sight set on a bike that looks user-friendly AND has a hip retro look to boot.  I’ll post pictures soon.  First things first, Jennifer and I are going to go visit some bike stores and have a look-see.  We’ll talk to the experts in the shops to find the right bike for me.  Next step, purchase bike (I may have to order it).  I’d like to find an affordable bike.  I have a lot of expenses coming down the pike and don’t need to be blowing a ton on this.  Last step: practice riding.

Why this resolution this month?  It’s National Bike Month, that’s why.

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While I have already summed up some of my progress/failures of the month, I thought I’d do so in a more official manner to match previous months.  Then, I’m moving on!

Purchase peat pots and terrarium for seeds — NOPE, haven’t done it yet.  Still have plenty of time and I’m going to sow some of the seeds directly into the soil because my father, the expert gardener, says that’s how he does it.  Make way for lettuce, radish, and maybe carrots, Garden!

Move plants that are in the wrong place — CHECK!  Well, for the most part.  I can’t move the peonies or hollyhocks until after they bloom, so fall.  But I did move the oak leaf hydrangeas and my husband moved the crowded azalea.  The hostas and irises, and maybe tulips, will also have to wait for fall dividing and replanting.  At least now I know.

Build 2 more raised vegetable beds — NOPE.  We’ve had a cold spell and haven’t gotten to the yard in weeks.  It will happen.

Plan the garden in front of the garage — IN PROCESS.  I did plant a knock out rose to fill in the gap where I pulled a hollyhock last summer and to hopefully dissuade my dog/moose from traipsing in the bed.

Attend gardening workshop — NOPE.  Fortunately, these happen pretty regularly throughout the spring and summer, so all is not lost.

How’d I do?  On the surface, not great.  Dig deeper and I’m satisfied.  It was a busy and wrenching month and still I was able to purchase new plants, move old ones and plan ahead.  Compared to last year, I am a master gardener.

Celtic knot symbolizing body/mind/spirit interconnection. I've always been drawn to Celtic symbols.

One thing I’ve learned from focusing on the soil is that I gain a lot of spiritual comfort getting my hands dirty, sweating in the sun, seeing my plants bloom, and having quiet time just me and my yard.  The categories that I have set up for this blog are organizational constructs, but I know that body/mind/spirit are false divisions devised by Greek philosophers and reinforced by Judeo-Christian texts and homilies.  It all blends together for me.  Gardening is one part body (dirty hands, sweat, sore muscles), one part mind (understanding basic botany, visual organizing), one part spiritual (as outlined before), and altogether creative.  This is as close to religion as I sometimes get, but now I’m eluding to next month’s goal: Spirituality.  And it’s a doozy!

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Forgive me for not getting to this post sooner.  It has been one helluva week.  This is my first chance to post and I really only have a half hour window, maybe less as I listen to my kids shouting at each other.

The ugliness in front of my garage

So, this month’s resolution is decidedly less sexy than the past two months.  That’s not to say it isn’t a good resolution.  My yard has suffered from neglect and ill-planning for going on 3 years now.  I’m determined to make some positive changes.  When I say “my garden” and “my yard” what I mean is my attempts at landscaping both front and back yards (on pennies for a budget) and my vegetable garden.  Last year my kids and I grew seeds in peat pots.  We started a little late, so goal number one is to get that process under way by the end of the month.  I’ll need to purchase peat pots and several terrariums to get this started.  I already have seeds, courtesy of my father.

I also need to investigate moving plants that are in the wrong place.  My peonies grow beautifully, but are hidden on the back side of the house.  My oak leaf hydrangeas were singed last summer.  They need shade.  I need to divide the iris bulbs and the hostas.  Can I even do any of this in the spring?

Last summer, my husband built four raised beds.  We will need two more or we need to sow some grass in the bare areas.  The area in front of my garage has been a barren disaster despite planting efforts every year.

I have taken photos of all the problem areas and sent them to my sister-in-law, the landscape architect.  She may or may not be able to help, depending on her schedule.  That can’t stop me, however.  I will research online and go to gardening centers.  I may hire someone to come out for just a day’s worth of advice.  And on the 15th of the month, local organization 15 Thousand Farmers is hosting its first Gardening 101 class of the year.  I’m going.  I never made it last year.

Resolution #3 falls under the banner “Creativity”.  It’s also a huge organizational goal.

Time’s up.  Gotta get ready for the grade school talent show.

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It’s that time again.  Time to look back over my February resolution and see how I did.

The goal was to address my ADD.  Here is what my plans entailed:

  • Read some books and articles recommended to me by a psychologist who specializes in ADD –  CHECK!  I’m still reading So I’m Not Lazy . . . and it’s very insightful. I researched several online articles and read photocopied articles given to me by a psychologist.  I will continue to read and research as needed.
  • Visit my general practitioner to discuss my evaluation and possible drug therapy – CHECK!  Tried Adderall and hated it.  Now trying Vyvanse.  It does help me follow through with tasks rather than getting interrupted and diverted and my stress level has markedly gone down.
  • Implement some organizational strategies in my home (which may entail a trip to IKEA!) – Still working on this.  My handyman has gone AWOL so I haven’t installed any of the hooks that I’ve bought and I still need to meet with my mother figures to go over storage and clutter-reduction ideas.  IKEA is still in the future, but I need to budget for it.  I haven’t given up on this goal, but it’s taking longer than planned.
  • Develop some coping tools – KINDA CHECK.  I am gentler with myself, I catch myself from exploding with my kids and am more patient, I assess what I need in stressful situations and ask for support, I’m using my phone to schedule and alert me, and I’m writing lists and remembering to bring them on errands.  Since I haven’t met with an ADD coach, I’m not sure what other tools could be useful, but I do know I am open to filling my virtual tool chest.
  • Maybe even have a consultation with a professional organizer – NO.  I can’t afford this, but would enjoy it.
  • Map out a weekday schedule – CHECK!  I do this on Monday mornings.  This week I am relying more on my phone, but I’m looking at my day before I get started.  The result: I feel more in control and happy.
  • Don’t feel like a loser by bedtime – CHECK!!  My self-esteem really has improved.  I feel calmer despite a month of craziness in front of me.

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Before I look over this month’s resolution success, I need to decide what’s next.  Originally, I was going try to take a sewing class and have a few lessons with a friend to finally make a few projects that are needed around the house plus get my creativity on.  With March packed with my daughter’s various rehearsals, I’m not sure this is realistic.  It’s not out yet, but I’m mulling over options that don’t require me to schedule and pay for a class.  Other thoughts I’ve had: come up with an actual garden plan (last year I had an epic garden fail), start my spiritual exploration–4 Sundays at a Unitarian Church OR read Richard Dawkins OR both (but I had that planned for April, during Easter and Passover), or learn some basic graphic design skills (but that requires some planning with my designer friend who is going through a lot right now).  I need to not rely on someone else’s schedule. I’ve also thought about doing something NOT on my list that would fit in one of the categories: actually plan my will and research my eternal options, comes to mind.  The thing is, I could still keep going with the ADD goal because I have so much ground to cover.  I think it will imbue every goal I attempt this year.  It is pervasive, so let’s agree to accept it as an underlying goal each month.

Any thoughts? What would be a low-cost, self-directed March goal that fits in with my mind/body/spirit/creativity model?  I posted a list of my ideas at the beginning of the year, perhaps I need to revisit it.

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Surveying the damage

It’s the last day of January, a cause for reflection on my first month of resolutions. 

Here are the reasons I began doing hot yoga, according to my first post on the subject:

  1. Back pain due to degenerative disc in lower back (the pain began 4 years ago during my last pregnancy).
  2. Migraines (sinus/allergy and hormone and barometric pressure-related).
  3. Mood/PMS (I want to stay married).
  4. Insomnia (not so bad now, but can be).
  5. Crohn’s Disease (I’m convinced hot yoga will help.  I have a mild-to-moderate case.  It’s more irritating than painful).
  6. Stress & anxiety (my husband says I “have no Zen”).
  7. Focus (the ADD can be quite frustrating).
  8. Weight loss (really, toning the stomach muscles weakened by years of ice cream indulgence and two C-sections).

So, how’d I do?

  1. Back pain – I definitely can feel a difference.  My back doesn’t spasm as often or for as long.  I don’t get up from the couch clutching my lower back and walking sideways to the kitchen.  I am also able to sleep on my right side occasionally, which I haven’t been able to do for four years.  SUCCESS.
  2. Migraines – No difference so far.  I had a killer migraine last Monday that actually prevented me from attending yoga class.  Had I done yoga the night before, perhaps the migraine could have been prevented.  I will say that even though I still had a migraine and it lasted for two days, it wasn’t as intense as past experiences.  I functioned enough to drive when I needed to pick up the kids at school.  NEED MORE DATA.
  3. Mood/PMS – I am still happily married.  Actually, my husband has noted an improvement in my mood.  Sure, I still get cranky and impatient, but I have been more aware of my moods so I can adjust my reactions to my family pretty quickly.  This is a subtle difference, but the fact that my husband didn’t run screaming out of the house the week before my period is an indication of improvement.  SUCCESS.
  4. Insomnia – I just had a bout the other night, but this has become rare.  My sleep pattern had been disrupted, so I went to bed at 10:00 (early for me) and woke up at 4:00 (early for anyone).  Until my son is sleeping through the night in his own bed, I’m not sure yoga or Ambien will make a huge difference in this arena.  Still, I do feel more rested in the morning so I’m going to say . . . SUCCESS.
  5. Crohn’s Disease – Can you believe I’m less flared than usual?  A normal day includes discomfort and many trips to the bathroom and just an overall feeling of blech.  I haven’t had too many of these days this month.  One other reason for this is Stonyfield Organic Chocolate Underground yogurt.  I heart it.  SUCCESS, I think.  I see my gut doctor next week and I’ll get his opinion.
  6. Stress/anxiety/no Zen – I’m remembering to breathe.  Sound corny?  It’s true.  When I start feeling stressed I have noticed that my breathing becomes shallow and fast, so I take a few seconds and focus on lengthening my breath – in for 6 counts, out for 6 counts.  Try it.  It does help.  Overall, my stress triggers are still there, but I’m reacting to them more positively.  SUCCESS.
  7. Focus – Well, I can’t be sure if the yoga is helping when I’m incorporating many coping mechanisms into my routine.  The brain chatter has definitely lessened, so let’s call this a SUCCESS.
  8. Weight loss/toning – I haven’t weighed myself, but have a check up with my doc on Thursday.  I don’t expect a huge difference, BUT because my posture is improving — I’m sitting with my discs stacked on top of one another rather than like a slob slouched over my dinner plate, some of the unflattering tummy bulge is gone.  My jeans are a bit roomier, but nothing drastic.  I also don’t notice any difference in muscle tone, but it has only been a month.  I will say that I can hold standing poses longer, which means my balance and strength have improved.  I’ll leave this with, MODERATE SUCCESS THUS FAR.

There are so many benefits to doing yoga of any kind, that I can’t say enough good things about incorporating a regular yoga routine into your schedule.  If you don’t believe me, go to WebMD and see how it improves your joints, muscles, heart, lungs, aging, chronic conditions, focus, posture, and more.

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Expand Outdoors

And thanks to Beth from out of the great
Northwest blue for this link: expandoutdoors.com

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