Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Two Weeks In

Officially into the third week of the year. Still haven't started on some goals, e.g. writing. Here's what is working.

I haven't had a drink in two weeks; one-third of the way there.

I've been to the gym five times this year; three times last week was a good start.

I've been reading Mary Queen of Scots. I started it sometime in December, but will count it in 2018. I've been moderately successful trying to get into bed earlier to read. I also gave myself small windows to read, e.g. 15 minutes one morning. Unfortunately my longest time spent reading was a night when I just couldn't get to sleep. I read from 12:30 to 2:30 AM.

Still lots of work to do. It's easy to repeat bad habits, to forget what it was I was going to change. I'm continuing my time tracking for at least another week. It makes me think about what I'm doing.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Streak is Over

I've written before about my love of Spelling Bee, a game published in The New York Times Magazine. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I usually reach genius level.

When I first look at the puzzle, I find many words that don't count because they don't include the center letter. Then I'll find several words in spurts. I'll often put down the puzzle or hours or even days before I get to genius level.

I started last week's puzzle last Saturday. I picked it up a few more times over the week. One day I suddenly saw "mantilla." This morning (my last chance to increase my score) I found "inimical." Then I looked at the answers; I can't believe I missed mammal, mammy and llama. For the record: I scored 30 if "manana" counts. I needed 34 to be a genius.

This week's puzzle is waiting for me outside our front door. Time to start a new streak.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


I've been tracking my time this week, seeing what's working and isn't so far. Trying to figure out what I can do to fix what isn't working.

A few thoughts.

TV has been a time-eater for me for years. In a recent post Laura Vanderkam suggested turning off the TV two nights a week. Jeff had made a similar suggestion (one night a week) years ago. I resisted. Now I'm ready to try it. We already record the shows that we don't want to miss. I also try to check out the TCM schedule ahead of time so I don't miss good films.

Tonight was our first evening this week with TV, except to catch the weather or news headlines. I don't think turning off the TV has made me more productive because I think I just used the time on the Internet. I need to address mindless Internet browsing also.

I need to add a housework/chores category to my goals. I'm pretty good with with weekly chores such as laundry and food shopping. I do the daily kitchen stuff for the most part; I hate to wake up to dirty dishes. I've also gotten pretty good at making the bed each day. Then there's everything else. I find it too easy to let things go. I need a plan.

I want to stay in better touch with friends. I've decided to write one letter or long email each week. That should be easy (so why haven't I done it before?)

Goals remain a work in progress.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Planning to plan and Resolving to resolve

Thursday I wrote about successful 2017 goals; Friday I wrote about failed goals. I intended to write my 2018 goals last night. Then I got involved with other things. I also wanted to think more about goals.

Here are goals from last year that I'll continue:

* Stop drinking for about six weeks until Valentine's Day--a success in 2017.

* Go to the gym 150 times--a 2017 failure. I didn't specifically list this last year--because it's not achievable--but I have an aspirational goal to exercise a half hour daily.

* Write 255 blog post--another 2017 failure

* Read 20 books. My goal last year was 12 books. I read 15, part of two more, and re-read two. I want to make more time for reading which means limiting TV and some Internet browsing. I need specific ideas on how to do that.

* Writing goals? I might as well try for last year's goal of 10 hours of non-blog, non-journal writing  each week. I need more specific ideas to make this happen. One idea is to limit time spent on morning journaling. I'm in a bit of a bind because I enjoy that journaling; I use it to plan my day. I occasionally use a second journal for to-do lists. I recently read about bullet journals. The idea intrigues me, but I'm not ready to learn about and set up a whole new type of journal at this time.

* Job search goals--10 hours weekly. I need to figure out how to make a legitimate effort toward this goal.

Most of these goals are repeats or variations from last year's, but I'm dropping one. I don't think it's necessary to find several new hiking spots for Lola. I'm happy with the places we explored this year. I'd like to find more, but don't need to make it a numerical goal this year.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Misses

Yesterday I wrote about the 2017 goals I achieved. Here are my failures.

* Write 255 blog posts. Big fail here: I only wrote 157 posts. I started my blog in May 2010 and wrote 100 posts that year. My best year was 2013 with 253 posts. So 255 is doable. I don't know why I found posting so difficult this year.

* Go to the gym 150 times. I made it 70 times. This goal was based an estimate of going three times a week or 12.5 times per month. My best month was April with 12 visits. I had reached 11 in May, when a mishap with Lola, left me too sore to hit the gym for about two weeks. Obviously, there are days when it's inconvenient or I don't feel well enough to hit the gym: one day the gym had no power, two days were snowy. However, there are no good excuses for long breaks other than injuries. Long breaks breed on themselves. For the record, my best year was 2016 with 103 visits.

* 10 hours weekly on non-blog writing. I know I failed on this even though I didn't track it very well. I wrote five poems. I wrote 750 words of a story in April .

* 10 hours weekly on job search. I also didn't track this goal. I estimate I met this goal about five times.

As I'm finalizing 2018 goals, I need to analyze why I failed here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 Hits

Last Sunday New Year's Eve morning, I wrote about my annual goals in my journal.

I had seven categories of goals: I succeeded in three and failed in four.

I'll start with the successes.

* Stop drinking for six weeks--roughly from just after New Year's Day to Valentine's Day

* Read 12 books. Not particularly ambitious, but I found that I usually over-estimate the number of books that I read. This year I read 15:

1. The Boleyn King
2. Outlander
3. V is for Vengeance
4. Hardball
5. Body Work
6. Women of Wonder
7. W is for Wasted
8. Fall Out 
9. Deep Pockets
10. A Dog's Life
11. Brushback
12. X
13. Breakdown
14. Critical Mass
15. Walden, or Life in the Woods (Selections from the American Classic)

I read about half of Kinsey and Me--the short stories. I didn't care to read about Sue Grafton's alcoholic mother.

I started Backwoods & along the Seashore (Selections from The Maine Woods and Cape Cod). I think I read two selections.

I re-read The Handmaid's Tale and Game of Thrones

I don't care that 10 of the books were mysteries. I enjoyed them.

* Explore 10 new hiking spots. I explored 12.

The first seven are in Wilton, Numbers 1 through 4 are different legs of the Wilton portion of the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT.)  2. portion of NRVT has become one of our favorite spots. Schenck's and Bradley are now part of our normal walk/hike location rotation. I won't return to 5. until it's developed--too ticky. Wilton Woods is a great spot for a long, challenging hike. We had planned to return in the fall, but didn't get many nice fall days this year. 9. and 10. are in Norwalk. We had been to Oak Hills before with Spike, but the trails are new--it's okay for a short walk, as is Farm Creek. Irene's Woods is located at White Silo Farm & Winery in Sherman Connecticut; Still River Greenway is in Brookfield. These will be rare hiking/walking locations.

1. NRVT Route 7 to Sharp Hill Road
2. NRVT Sharp Hill Road to Twin Oak Lane  (recently extended to Skunk Lane)
3. NRVT Wilton Center through Merwin Meadows Park to Upper School Loop
4. NRVT Wilton Center through Merwin Meadows Park to High School Loop
5. NRVT Apparent to-be-developed loop from Route 7 west
6. Schenck's Island
7. Bradley Park
8. Wilton Woods
9. Oak Hills Park
10. Farm Creek Nature Preserve
11. Irene's Woods
12. Still River Greenway

2017 misses will follow.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome 2018!

I'm glad that 2017 is over. It wasn't the worst of years, but it presented challenges. I barely worked in the first six months and had no luck applying for jobs. A friend died in April. Another needed brain surgery--she survived her surgery although she had only a one percent chance to do so. Parental health issues continue to concern us.

On a personal note, I failed in four of seven categories of goals. While I didn't develop bad habits this year, the bad habits made themselves at home. The worst part is that I recognized the bad habits, but I continued to repeat them. Can I change this year? Maybe. At least, I can try.

We celebrated New Year's Eve with another murder mystery party. The mystery was more straightforward than last year's. It was a lot of fun, even if I didn't get to shoot Jeff.