Saturday, December 31, 2011

Evaluation time

With it being the last day of 2011, it's time to check on the resolutions I set at the beginning of the year and see how I did.  Let's dole out some grades.

-Lose weight/get in shape again: B

On the plus side, I lost approximately 26 pounds.  (Since I don't weigh myself, this is going by doctor's visits in the latter part of 2010 and December 2011.)  On the down side, I think I lost most of that in the first part of the year and only took off a little in the second half.  Maybe the difference is the muscle I added from September on.  So great, I lost a not insubstantial amount, but I'll admit to wishing I'd taken off more.

I was going to grade myself more harshly on this one, but expectations may be clashing with reality here.  I ran in four races--three 5Ks and one 4+ mile race--and was clearly faster and in better shape by the time I completed the last one.  I have to give myself some credit for that.  Plus, I'm stronger and feeling better.  Granted, I haven't reached my target, which puts this resolution more in "in progress" status, but it seems like I'm on the right track.

-Read The Bible all the way through: D-

I kept up with this daily read for about a month or month and a half and then fell behind and never resumed.  For at least sticking to the resolution a little bit I'll avoid dropping an F, but clearly I didn't do so well here.  Next year will mark my third undertaking of this resolution.  That'll be the charm, right?

-Read moreC-

As best as I can remember, I read four books in the span of a couple weeks, began another, and then failed to make any progress beyond that.  Three of those books were the entries in the young adult series The Hunger Games, which I could rip through quickly anyway.  Time seemed to be a pressing issue this year.  Time to try and carve some out for this resolution in 2012.

-Give more to charity: C

Perhaps I'm being charitable here with that grade, as I think I may have given less in 2011 than I did in 2010, although when I put this on the list, I didn't really know how I was going to go about it.  I do have something in mind for next year, for what it's worth.

-When it comes to media consumption, aim more for depth among the breadth: C+

My iTunes is so full that I've had to start unchecking things to free up space to fit everything I want on the iPod.  I did do somewhat better in terms of ripping the CD, listening more than once or twice, and moving on, but I can surpass this year's habits.  I received a new set of headphones for Christmas, which have been a revelation when listening to music versus the ear buds that were going bad.  That should help as I try to work on this next year as well.

Overall, lots of middling grades and one success, which doesn't surprise me as I spent a lot of time working on that fitness goal.  Undoubtedly the time invested in it affected some of the others, but it was (and is) the most important of the bunch.

Whether I succeeded at accomplishing what I resolved, 2011 was a pretty good year for me in a lot of respects.  I'll write about some of that in the coming days and refocus resolutions for the new year.  So, as I write here for the last time in 2011, here's hoping this was a good one for you and that 2012 will be even better.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

A merry little Christmas

Christmas came and went as a small, mostly quiet holiday.  In what has been a busy December, I'll gladly take sitting around eating more than I should, listening to music, and playing cards (not at the same time) over some big to-do.

My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew checked in via Skype from their vacation in Germany.  My other two brothers were here. Without any request my mom made monkey bread for this morning's breakfast.  She also made rolled cookies that had been her mother's recipe (I think).  I remember these usually being made around Christmas when I was a kid and had considered making them myself because it's been ages since I've had them.

In a day without anything scheduled except for church at 10 a.m., it was odd how packed the day was.  My time here for the holidays is more than half over.  It's zoomed by.  But I suspect that's a good thing.

Hope you also had a good Christmas, whether it was a big production or little more than time home with family. 


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The night before

Taking smart phone photos in church is probably something to be frowned upon, but here's a little something to wish everyone a merry Christmas tomorrow.  So I meant well!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Baby steps

Could I get a couple extra weeks before the end of the year?  I looked at the calendar and wonder how in the world I'm going to get everything done that I need to do.

I want to make time for the knitting that I've neglected this year.  Where I'll find it is to be determined, but I took one step toward picking up the needles again.  I popped into a local yarn shop--have I been in any all year?--and looked for yarn for a scarf.

I sort of feel like I'm going to be starting over, as though everything I learned has leaked out of my brain.  I don't know what pattern, if any, that I'll be following to make the scarf.  I knew the color I wanted and found something that approximated it.  Now to carve out time to cast on.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the stream

Something that came across the Twitter feed and made me laugh...a lot:

I suppose what one finds funny says a lot about the individual.  This very short piece--"E-mail Addresses It Would Be Really Annoying To Give Out Over the Phone"--made me laugh like a maniac and then laugh harder the more I thought about it and reread it.  Seriously, I'm shaking with laughter having just read it again.  So there's some insight into what makes me tick.

Something that came across the Twitter feed and made me almost tear up:

A pair of Canadian teen girls are trying to draw attention to their school and its impending closure, so they sang a Neko Case song, posted it on YouTube, and got the artist's attention.  I'd ignored it but for some reason followed the latest link and their performance, which features excellent use of reverb from the stairwell.

It compares respectably to the great, haunting original.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cold weather

The cold of winter has finally descended.  I slow cooked a big ham I impulse purchased a couple days ago.  I'll be eating that thing for days.  (Is that a sign of adulthood when an eight-pound ham is something you decide to buy on a whim?)  I put together a shortlist of albums to listen to for determining my own top 10.  It's been nice to have a day where (mostly) I can shut out the hustle and bustle and squirrel myself away in my apartment.

Christmas is somehow just two weeks away.  A new year arrives one week later.  It's time for quietly winding down 2011 and easing into 2012.  Sure, I don't expect for the frenzied pace to drop until maybe the last day or two on this year's calendar, but it's nice to imagine that I'm settling into this friendlier rhythm.

It's been a year of little knitting for me.  This wasn't a deliberate choice but a matter of what I ended up prioritizing.  So be it.  Now as the weather makes it so I need the items I've knitted, I feel like holing up at home and working on a new scarf and a hat.  I like what I've made and don't need more of either.  I just like having options to mix and match and change up.  I'm going to try to get a project started before the year's out.  (Just don't hold me to it, folks.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Where was I?

It was one of those weeks.  I was busy, often didn't get home until late, and was too tired to write.  So, let's play catch up.

The main thing has been figuring out what is going on health-wise.  The occasional chest pains returned and were troubling me on Wednesday.  Luckily I could get in to see the doctor on Friday.  In between I experimented with what I thought might fix the problem, which mostly entailed laying on my back and trying to sleep that way.  I sort of had it figured out, or so I thought, and the doctor essentially confirmed my amateur diagnosis.

The muscles in my upper body are tight.  Surely stress has been a part of that, but how I sit at work is likely a big contributor to muscle soreness there.  I'm to see a physical therapist for a few sessions to find some solutions--I probably should request a different desk chair at the office--and that is hoped to take care of it.  And with that answer, I expel another big sigh of relief.

Realistically I did not suspect that I was having heart problems--it isn't something that runs in the family--but I've been concerned about the pains in my chest and upper body.  Mainly I've just worried about this and occasionally let it lead to the occasional hysterical suspicion that it's something terminal.  The mind wanders where it shouldn't when laying there at night.

After a week of being doped up and almost another week of wondering if an answer would be pinpointed, I think it's all good.  There's still plenty of work to do on my posture and getting in shape.  Now I have further motivation to do it.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Piping up

When I let the every day blogging drop, I really let it drop, right?

Just wanted to pop in to say that the combination of being busy and (more importantly) being on muscle relaxants has sapped me of all desire to blog this week.  I'm down to my last one tomorrow, so perhaps I won't be quite so wiped out when it comes time to write an entry on Sunday.