Thursday, January 16, 2014

Halfway - January!

Last year, I had a lot of success with posting "halfway through the month" check-ins to keep me accountable for my progress and my "course corrections," so I'm going to continue that - don't mess with what works, I say!  (And no, we haven't gotten that sort of ice you see in the picture; but it's been COLD!!)

For 2014, I set five goals (they're all laid out in this post) - but in brief, they are all designed to help me be calmer, happier, and healthier.  Tall orders indeed, so I got specific with these five goals:

1.  Work "zone cleaning" into my housekeeping
2.  Keep a stringent budget to lower our household debt
3.  Train to participate in a 5K race sometime this year
4.  Read six "good books" that had slipped past me
5.  Watch 24 "good movies" that had slipped past me

So - two weeks into the New Year, how's it going?

I've been told that success is rarely total in science.  The same can be said for resolutions, but there is progress to report, so yay.

I'm working in the zone cleaning, although it's going to take a while for it to become an automatic "thing."  The FlyLady system gives you a daily task to do Monday through Friday and I'd worked those in (they're easy, quick to do, and yes - you feel like you've accomplished something when you take ten minutes and tear through your overstuffed sock drawer to get rid of the orphan socks!), but I was intimidated by the longer checklists for the "deep cleaning."  Turns out - pshaw! - just keep in mind that anything you do is more than you have been doing and move on.  For instance, last week was the "kitchen week."  I did really well in there - even cleaned the baked-on gunk in the oven - but didn't get everything done.  Well, that's okay; I'll get it next month when I'm back there.  I also didn't insist that I do the whole thing in one day.  By picking a couple of small things off the checklist each day (mornings are best for me), it wasn't so bad.

The budget.  Sigh.  January is a harsh month.  There were a couple of large unplanned for expenses (such as paying my annual fee to access an unlimited amount of legal continuing education seminars - a great deal, but a limited time offer) that have set me back this month.  But there's light at the end of that tunnel.  I've been employed at my state job long enough to qualify (for the first time ever!) for something called "longevity pay."  Essentially, it's a annual bonus given to employees to reward them for not running screaming into the night before certain benchmarks have passed - in my case, ten years.  (Bureaucracy at work - last January marked my ten-year anniversary; you wait another entire year [the anniversary of your anniversary] to be awarded the bonus.)  I had hoped to put the entire thing toward bills, but that's okay.  It'll get us back on track when I receive it at the end of the month.

The 5K training - okay, here's some joy.  I started an app called "Couch to 5K" and have been huffing and puffing around my neighborhood and the college's walking track for three weeks now.  The third week was just about to kill me, so I reluctantly decided to repeat it.  At that point, I also found a similar program in podcast form, which allowed me to put down the iPad and use a much smaller iPod.  (No smartphone for this girl.)  The podcast talks me through things, instead of just serving as a glorified stopwatch and yesterday (Day 2 of the three-day session), I managed to do the entire thing without stopping.  Mind you, there's not much grace or power involved and my speed resembles a three-toed sloth much more than a lean cheetah, but I've been reassured that it'll come, it'll come.  And the support I've received with this goal has been amazing! Thank you all!

On the book side, I've picked my first one - Forster's A Passage to India.  I'm in the middle of finishing The Round House for my book club, then I'll start on Passage.  I'm looking forward to it; I've always enjoyed Forster's work.

On the movie side, I've watched Orson Welles' Touch of Evil and I have Bad Day at Black Rock recorded (thanks, TCM!).  Honestly, Touch of Evil confounded me a bit.  Typical Welles - it's gorgeously shot, with intricate framing and (of course) that incredible opening one-take crane shot.  (We watched the restored version - Welles was famous with fighting with the studios over editing and apparently the studio wanted opening credits to roll over that crane shot - Welles was right to fight over that one.)  I have to say, though, despite the subject matter being interesting - race, corruption, border turf wars - the plot's just a mess.  Charlton Heston said that one of his biggest mistakes as an actor was not using an accent for his character in this movie - his Mexican D.A. sounds all Hollywood Hills, so I have to agree with him there.  All in all, an interesting film that I'm glad I saw, but I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend.

Not bad for two weeks in!

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