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It’s December and I am on a mission! There is a bunch of stuff I need to get done to wrap up the year. I have added new goals and resolutions to this month’s spreadsheet.

Today I decided to tackle the toy collection that is taking over my office.

With the closet and cabinets crammed with tests and materials, the bathtub has become a make-shift toy box.

toy-before

Before

I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond hoping to find inspiration to organize this mess. For under $50, I came up with this solution:

 

toy-after

After

 

I’m not done yet! I need a couple more hanging organizers, but already that feels sooooo much better!

 

I realize that most people probably think other people’s resolution reports involving statistics do not make for interesting reading material.  I get it, I do. But whatever. It’s my blog. I do what I want!  If I want to whip out a t-test or a flowchart, I will!  Just try and stop me.

Actually, October is not a month for t-tests. October is a month for life beyond spreadsheets; it is a month for magic-y magic and wild, wily witchery.

subdued witches

subdued witches

not so subdued witches

not so subdued witches

Poetry Witches5

I might have been on a bit of a witch kick.  I tore through three of Paula Brackston’s books:

The Midnight Witch

The Witches Daughter

The Winter Witch

I haven’t bought The Silver Witch yet, but it’s on the list. I love this author! Necromancers, hedge witches, and warlocks, oh my! Each story was set in a different period with unforgettable characters. The language was beautiful and the magic strange.

And as if by magic, I did manage to make some progress on the resolutions…

1. Cook something fabulous and complicated every other week.

I did! Four times fabulous with varying degrees of complicated.

2. Eat dinner before 7:30

I had a 61% success rate here — up 8 points from September!

3. Tend the garden.

I spent over 9 hours out there planting mums and pansies, pulling weeds, removing dead flowers, picking arugula and planting Brussels sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, and lettuce.

MoonPie smells the roses

MoonPie smells the roses

4. Finish Inferno choreography.

Done!

5. Write a book.

I got a whooping 5 hours in his month.  Better than last month, but I need to invest way more time here.

6. Meditate 15 minutes a day.

Not even close. Only got in 2.5 hours.

****

What were your happy accomplishments in October?

Here’s the resolutions progress report:

1. Cook something fabulous and complicated every other week.

I cooked three simple but tasty dinners and one easy lunch, which was way more cooking than I usually do.

But that’s not all!

Debra of Threading the Web shared her grandmother’s recipe for banana cake with caramel icing – it’s an old-school style recipe, which called for ingredients I had to search for in two different stores. It was worth the effort. This cake is seriously yum.  I made the cake for Nanook’s 75th birthday party and it received rave reviews from all party-goers.  And…then I made it again for my birthday.

Then there was a pasta dish that was semi-complicated. I used fresh basil, oregano, and cherry tomatoes from the garden, which made me happy.

I must admit, I am quite pleased with my performance this month on the cooking resolution.

I bumped the “Eat dinner before 7:00 p.m.” goal down to “Eat dinner before 7:30 p.m.” because 7:00 is still too hard and if I miss the deadline, I’m more likely to say “screw it” and eat at 9 p.m., which is part of the problem.  I was able to hit my 7:30 deadline 81% of the time in August compared to 67% of the time in July with the 7:00 deadline. Not perfect, but it’s progress. I’ll take it.

2.  Finish Inferno choreography.

I still haven’t finished it, but I’m getting closer! I spent 9 hours and 45 minutes working on it this month.

And here is where I will insert a gratuitous dance picture from last week’s performance at the Renaissance Faire.

Faire Dance

3. Write a book.

I spent 9 1/2 hours writing and researching this month, which only amounted to around 4,208 words. This is just sad. It’s not nearly enough if I want to get this thing written in my lifetime.

My resolution time was hampered by things like the need for sleep, busted water pipes, and walls being ripped out of the house in search for the leak.  A new semester started mid-month, so now I have a couple thousand preschoolers competing with everything else for my time and attention. I am getting better at saying “No,” to the time-consuming requests made by others, but I have a long way to go if I’m going to carve out enough time to get stuff I want to do done.

4. Tend the garden.

I spent 23 hours in the garden! Wowie. I had no idea it was that much until I just totaled up the time. Garden hours seem to pass on a completely different time scale. I logged most of this time in the first half of the month. I was a weeding and mulching maniac. Slinging mulch is great exercise. I planted oregano, cilantro, arugula, greens, chives, and lettuce. I clipped the amaryllis and hid them away until fall.  There is still so much work to be done!  I still want to plant spinach, garlic, kale and chard. The back beds need weeding. I want to plant mums and repot the house plants. And soon the leaves are gonna start falling. I am so looking forward to the fall and winter this year.  This is a brand new thing for me. I’ve always been a spring and summer sort of girl, but I’m ready to be cloistered inside with hot chocolate. I want to hide under a pile of blankets and spend hours reading books. I’m ready for soup.

5. Meditate 15 minutes a day.

I logged exactly the same amount of time this month as last month:  3 hours and 15 minutes.  This is a far cry from daily.  We’ll see how September goes.

2015-07-14 08.16.55

 

7 a.m. Sunday morning.

Gardening is a never-ending labor of love I muse as I begin gearing up for the ritual. I don the white vestments, the boots, gloves, hat, glasses, and braid. Only then I am ready to meet the Mistress. I open my door to a surprised hummingbird. We regard each other a moment before she flits away. I gather supplies and materials while the wasps and bees still sleep. Time and other trappings of the world recede until there is only the dirt and the things in it, living and dead. Weeds are ripped from the earth; the worms beneath them churn wiggly and wet. Beetles and spiders run for their lives.  Secret ant cities are uncovered, their nurseries revealed. The ants abandon whatever plans they had for this day to grab their babies and rush them to safety. The whole colony fights for survival in this sacred space where love, duty, and instinct meld into one indistinguishable force.  Blood is spilled over the roses, a sacrifice they demand regularly as thorns prick and stick fingers through gloves. God is in Her place.  All is right with the world.

 

There are some things you can only do with love. You will know that you have love when you do one of them.  --Walter Anderson

There are some things you can only do with love. You will know that you have love when you do one of them. –Walter Anderson

July & August Garden Goals

  • Plant the seeds for the fuzzy pink flowers in the front bed and containers.
  • Split and replant zinnias.
  • Prep the raised beds (weed and add compost).
  • Plant rainbow chard, musclun lettuce, kale, collard greens, arugula, and romaine in the raised beds.
  • Plant oregano, cilantro, borage, bee balm, and chives in all the right places.
  • Weed front flower bed,  cover with weed fabric, and mulch.
  • Plant garlic?
  • Water, water, water

 

Dear Garden People of the Internet: What wisdom regarding growing garlic can you impart? The spring’s attempt did not work!

 

~*~

The Garden

The cherub and the virgin Mary,

the Buddha and the garden gnome –

all the garden statuary –

talked in spring of how things grow.

Buddha said, “From compassion.”

Mary said, “The Lord above.”

Gnome replied, “It must be magic.”

Cherub sighed, “It must be love.”

And it rained then

in the garden

and they all stood ’round

and witnessed in stillness

and listened to that lovely sound.

And St. Francis in the corner

spoke up the gathering.

“Peace,” he said is most important,

“Peace for all the living things.”

And the stars burned,

and the earth turned,

and the sun shone down.

And they knew then in the garden

Life was stirring in the warming ground.

And St. Frances stood entranced

as Cherub watched beguilded.

Gnome’s hands laid on his sharp spade.

Mary gave thanks

and Buddha smiled.

–Peter Mayer

Walter Anderson's boat

Walter Anderson’s boat

Love called me here.

–Dante, The Inferno

Our lives improve only when we take chances — and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves… [The] greatest risk of all: to be vulnerable, to allow others to see us as we really are.

–Walter Anderson

My palms got a little sweaty just typing the title of this post – that’s how nervous putting this resolution “out there” makes me.

Someone near and dear explained this same feeling during a conversation earlier this week.  Regarding an idea for a project he had been keeping top secret, he said, “I didn’t want to speak it into being because once I tell everybody, then I’m basically bound to make it so.  People will start asking me about it.”  The idea of being held accountable for pursuing your dreams is a scary prospect indeed.

Writing has  been a recurring theme in my resolutions over the years. “Write everyday” and  “get my work published” are just a couple of the variations. My work has seen publication several times now – once in dissertation form and several times in the form of co-authored articles in academic journals. I will not minimize these accomplishments. It was rigorous work and I have a lot of respect for science and the people who toil and revel in it.  If I had been honest with myself though, I would have abandoned that work long ago instead of getting caught up in other people’s notions of who I am and what I should be doing with my time. Being invited into collaboration was thrilling to the ego and working within an institution provided a fair degree of comfort and security. I learned a tremendous amount through the process, but I never felt particularly free or autonomous enough to write the things I wanted to write in that context.

Writing is something I do on an almost daily basis whether I’ve resolved to do it or not.  It’s how I process things. I think the format of a book will help keep me organized and focused. Because it is an independent project, it will require more self-discipline. This is why I decided to put this one “out there” instead of keeping it personal – I don’t want to back out of it or make the usual excuses to myself.

The topic of the book evolved from a presentation proposal I submitted on a whim to a yoga conference.  I never thought it would actually be accepted, but to my horror and delight it was. After I spent several months researching and preparing for the talk, the conference was cancelled.  I was both devastated and relieved – devastated because I had been looking forward to the conference and the trip and I had invested a lot of time and work into the topic and I wanted to share it.  I was relieved from having to deal with a somewhat stressful situation.  I was way out of my comfort zone. Public speaking does not come naturally to me.  Also, this conference was business-oriented instead of the academic/research-oriented type I’d experienced in the past. The good thing about the stress was that it kept my effort sustained and moving in one direction. That direction felt right. Now it’s a matter of changing the format and continuing the effort in book form.

This pig might make sense later.

This pig might make sense later, or it might not.

Usually by this point in the New Year I am busily tracking my progress on any number of resolutions which I have typed up and posted in a prominent place in my daily line of vision. One year I decided to quit consuming mass quantities of caffeine. Another year I decided to make a point to smile more.

Quit job, start college.

Exercise at least twice a week.

Travel to another country.

These are the sort of “big picture” directives that have guided my weekly schedules and daily “to-do” lists. At the end of each year, progress on the resolutions would be thoroughly reviewed and summarized in my journal. Through this process of recapitulation I would decide what I wanted to resolve for the coming year. The current year’s resolutions would then be added to the collection from previous years in a file folder, the new resolutions typed up and posted. Last year I even had a theme song: Katy Perry’s Roar. Obnoxious, but true.

This whole recap-resolution ritual has been a staple practice in my life for more years than I can recall and so it is with a sense of disquiet that I have come this far into the new year without having made a single resolution. As of right now there are no grand plans to guide me through this year. When I typed that last sentence all the little people that populate the village of my pscyhe went screaming and running through my head as meteors of the apocalypse rained down on them; that’s how much it pains me.  My poor little village people think anarchy will reign surpreme without a theme song and chieftain telling them what to do.

Speaking of anarchy’s reign, I may be perimenopausal according to today’s consensus.  That’s probably an overshare, but now that I’ve turned forty and I don’t have resolutions I might as well put it all out there, eh? Oh! Maybe my resolution is: I’m giving up resolutions? No, that’s just way too crazy to even consider.

So, yeah, perimenopause….I’ve been having these episodes of near spontaneous combustion day and night.  It’s as if I have held aloft my sword and said,

“By the power of Greyskull!”

  ~  ~ ~~> >>} >>> BAM <<< {< << ~~ ~  ~  

“I have the power!”

I am She-Ra and I am on fire. My body radiates heat and energy. I am solar euphoria flaring – the moon girl becoming the sun. That the body is capable of doing this sort of thing is amazing.   And then it all goes away and I’m back to being a cold little moon again.

Hm…what else can I tell you?

El-D went as a “leather-clad vegetarian” on one of our recent outtings.  Tonight he went out as a Grizzley’s fan, which is possibly  one of his strangest transmutations yet. Who is this man? I have no idea.

I took the Christmas decorations off the tree and made it a Valentine’s Day tree. There are pink monkey’s in repose all over it, courtesy of Nanook the Barbarian. I would show you a picture, but getting up to take one would require more effort than I’m presently willing to expend, so just use your imagination. Maybe when I’m feeling ambitious again I’ll make some resolutions and post a picture. A picture of the tree, I mean. Or maybe pictures of the tree, and resolutions, and hell, why not – maybe a to do list while I’m at it.

While we’re on the topic of to do lists, I went to Crystal Bridges Museum last weekend and there was this artwork that I really need to show you because it totally resonanted with me and because it’s relevant to this post, which means I am gonna have to get up and get a cord to download the picture I took of it, so I might as well take a picture of the tree while I’m at it. Aw, there’s a puppy!  …on my phone…I’m scrolling through pictures… and here’s a picture of a pig mask, which is going at the top of this post, just because.

Ok! Without further ado, here’s the picture I took of the artwork that has inspired me to get up:

Jan 2015 126

Ta Da! That was hanging in a museum.  It was like someone had drilled a hole in my head and shone a flashlight inside and tried to capture it all.

Here’s my Valentine’s Day tree:

valentine's day

And here’s a puppy:

Jan 2015 132

 That’s all for now!

Hit the play button before reading on.

 

 

You are going to die.

 

(Morbid much?) 

Sorry, but this is Reality and Truth

 Your time is limited.

Each second ticking by on that clock is bringing you closer to your last breath.

It is bringing you closer to the death of those you love. 

 There is absolutely nothing you can do to change this simple fact, so now is the time to deal with it.

 

What is important?

Having six pack abs?

Racking up trophies and awards?

Updating your “status”?

Writing that next blog? 

Investing energy in that grudge you are holding?

 

Do not walk away from this question: 

What matters most?

 

 

Now, what exactly are you going to do (or not do) about it?

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