Resolution 2011

My resolutions for 2011 are in two realms: the food realm and the physical realm.

In the food realm, I want to prepare vegetables at least four times per week. I need a variety of vegetables to keep myself healthy and, due to the lack of a staff, need to prepare them myself. So, each week I shop, I will purchase four different kinds of vegetables in proper quantities (see below) and get them ready to eat throughout the week. I’ve actually been doing this since November and it is going pretty well, though I think four times to week doesn’t happen as often as I think it does.

In addition, I will strive to cook food in quantities that I can eat before it turns and must be thrown out. To do this, I have made a few lists and posted them on the fridge. The first list is “Things to Prepare” where I write down what I have bought that needs to be made into something before it goes bad. I also note the date I bought it, which will spur me into a frenzy of preparation when too much time has passed. I also have a list called “Things to Eat” where I write down what there is to eat and cross it out as I finish it. This will help me keep my eye on when I have forgotten the last bit of Lima beans in the refrigerator. I can then dig them out and eat them before I have to throw it out.

I have a notebook to keep track of what I have prepared this week. This will let me see my progress, track the food I throw out and be able to determine how many pounds of beans I eat in one year. I will also mark my calendar with an F when I do something food related and a V when I cook a vegetable.

In the physical realm, I will do more push ups this year. I enjoy a good push up or two (or ten) and I would like to increase the number of push ups to at least my age, if not more. I’ll start with the number I can currently easily do and add one whenever I feel like can hack it. The time to do them will be before I stretch after doing my jog/walk each morning and I will keep track on my trusty calendar.

How is that resolution going?

Readers with long memories will recall that my 2010 resolution is to spend 15 minutes per day working at my desk. The order of operations is: banking, inbox, blogs. I printed each month out and I get a star each day I met my goal. You can see how well January went.
A funny thing happened as the year progressed. I started using the calendar to keep track of other things I had accomplished too. This came about because of an excellent connection of the dots. Often times, self-improvement suggestions make the point that if you have done what you want to do to improve, you should reward yourself. I tend to struggle with the “reward” part. Every single reward I can think of either costs money or takes up time I would rather spend doing other things. So the reward concept, though I’m behind it, is something I never really do for myself. I enjoy my life and at the same time have to complete a number of tasks to ensure my life runs smoothly. Then, I read the advice that marking a star on a calendar could be the reward.

Holy cannoli! I think making stars on calendars is the most excellent reward ever. So the stars for the 15 minutes of desk time were next joined by a circle when I practiced my guitar. Then by a triangle if I swept the house for five minutes. Then a square if I spent time looking for a teaching job. And on and on. Now my calendar is full of rewards and I am one happy camper.
Here’s a key for everything that can appear on my day:
5 = Get up at 5:00
M = Meditate
G = Garden
Circle = Guitar practice
Square = Teaching job search
Triangle = Sweep the house for five minutes
b = blog
V = cook a vegetable
e = exercise for 30 minutes
E = exercise for 60 minutes or more.
I don’t hit my desk time every day, and I think I’ve only been able to put everything down for the day once, but this is a great way for me to track what I’m doing and seeing how well I’m staying on track.

Summary of Resolution 2008

It was long. It was hard. I fell off the wagon more than once, but I am glad I made this resolution. I’ve made new letter friends (all about 30 years older than me) and have reacquainted myself with some old friends as well as the pen and the paper, rather than the computer and the keyboard. I love the stamps, the paper and envelopes and also pulling a letter out of the mailbox and curling up on the couch to read it. In 2009 I will try to write three letters per week. This was too much fun to give up after only one year.

My resolution for 2009? The infinitely easier and much less time consuming.”eat while sitting down.”

Letters written in December

I want to say that I went out with a bang, but here is what happened: I got tired. The first two days of December I wrote two letters to go in my packet to be mailed off to LEX. Then I decided to count my Christmas Cards as part of this project, even though they were more of an assembly line project than actual letter writing. There were 25 cards, so that brought me to December 28-31. Only four more letters were needed to complete the year. I didn’t write them.

So the month breakdown looks like this:
December 1. LEX.
December 2. LEX
December 3-27. Christmas Cards.
December 28. No one
December 29. No one
December 30. No one
December 31. No one.


Letters written in November

I kept up with my solemn vow this month, but still missed two days. I also caught up all of the Sara letters, leaving her with a huge packet of my letters to reply to on her end. After that, I turned to LEX and wrote several people who had submitted listings in the Winter issue. Though I am enjoying writing, my enthusiasm for this project is flagging.

1 November. Sara
2 November. Sara
3 November. Sara
**Letter back Sara
**3 postcards, Sara
4 November. Postcard to Sara
5 November. Postcard to Matt
6 November. Postcard to Susan
**LB re: LEX listing I posted “Do we still need women’s colleges?”
7 November. LEX Letter re: hobbies
8 November. LEX Letter re: Tuesday evening
9 November. LEX Letter re: steady correspondent
10 November. LEX Letter re: poem song etc.
11 November. Beres family
12 November. Thank you to Linda
** 2 Letters back Sara
13 November. LEX Letter “almost frugal grandmother”
14 November. LEX Letter “changed mind”
15 November. LEX Letter “horse across US?”
16 November. BroMAunts
17 November. Postcard to Sara
18 November. Jan
19 November. LEX Michael
20 November. Sara
21 November. No one
22 November. No one
23 November. Sara
24 November. LEX Gerry
**Letter back LEX Diane (food)
25 November. LEX Diane (movies)
26 November. Sara
27 November. LEX Letter “women and books”
28 November. LEX Letter “green”
29 November. LEX Letter “pen pals”
30 November. LEX Letter “last five books”

Letters written in October

After my recommitment I did write a letter per day. Good job me. I feel much better too.

1 October. Sara
**Letter back, LEX Dorothy
**Letter back, Sara
**Letter back, LEX Diane
2 October. Sara
3 October. No one.
4 October. No one.
5 October. No one.
6 October. Sara
7 October. Sara
8 October. No one.
9 October. Laura Oppenheimer (Oregonian article about the Prefontaine run)
10 October. No one.
11 October. No one.
12 October. No one.
13 October. No one.
14 October. No one.
15 October. No one.
16 October. No one.
17 October. No one.
**Letter back (weird Halloween thing)
18 October. No one.
**2 Letters back from Sara.
19 October. Sara
20 October. Thank you to Gardner (for getting the refrigerators out of the Youth room at church)
21 October. LEX Diane (food)
22 October. Postcard to Sara
**Letter back LEX Jan
**Birthday card, Kelly
23 October. Sara, postcard
24 October. LEX Gerry McCoy
25 October. LEX Diane (movies)
26 October. LEX Diane (food)
27 October. Jan
28 October. Sara
29 October. Sara
30 October. LEX Jan
31 October. Sara postcard.

Slacking, and a recommitment.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a letter. Maybe since last Thursday, maybe longer. I’ve been busy, sure: work, general life maintenance, school, studying for the big math test, the *cough* blog–however little I work on it. But I’ve not been any busier than I was in April, say, and I managed to keep up with my letters well enough then.

I miss the daily writing of something. Through my teens and twenties I was a steady journal writer. My life has shifted away from needing to pour words out on pages–my current journal is one of those five year jobbers that you get four lines per day. It suits me well at the stage I’m in. But I think I enjoy writing enough that my year of letter writing has brought me great pleasure. It’s different than a journal in that I’m connecting with someone who will read what I’m writing. And it’s less formal than the blog in that I don’t have to worry too much about grammar and spelling and also I know who will be most likely reading what I write.

(Not knowing who is reading what I write is one of the weirdest things about blogging for me. Recently, I had 99 visitors in a week. Who are those people? They read a little bit, based on the average amount of time visited. But because they don’t comment, I have no way of knowing who my audience is.)

So I am recommitting to my New Year’s resolution today, October 19, 2008. I will write something (if only a postcard) every single day for the rest of the year.

Are you wishing to get a letter from me? Add a comment saying so.

ps. Next year’s resolution will not involve work on a daily basis.

Letters written in September

I wrote to “No one” a lot this month–getting adjusted to school. Sara, my faithful correspondent started school and ran out of time for real letters, but kept my mailbox full of postcards. That was fun.

1 September. Debra Gwartney (wrote a column about Kung Fu Panda)
2 September. Sara
3 September. Sara
4 September. Postcard Deborah
5 September. Postcard Sara
6 September. Sara
**Letter back Jan
**2 Postcards Sara
7 September. No one
8 September. Sara
** Letter Back Sara
**4 postcards Sara
9 September. Sara
10 September. Mom–postcard
11 September. Sara
12 September. Sara
13 September. No one
14 September. No one
15 September. Sara
**Letter back Sara
16 September. Sara
17 September. No one
18 September. Jenna
19 September. LEX Dorothy
20 September. No one
**Letter back LEX Diane (food)
21 September. No one
22 September. LEX Diane (movies)
** Postcard Sara
23 September. No one
24 September. Jan
25 September. Sara
** Letter back LEX Gerry
** 2 postcards, Sara
26 September. Leath!
27 September. Jan
28 September. Sara
29 September. Sara
30 September. Mom, Kelly


From the Writers Almanac 9/19/08

“It was on this day in 1846 that the poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning eloped to Italy. In January of 1845, Robert Browning sent a letter to Elizabeth Barrett. He had just read her book Poems (1844) and he said: “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett. … I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart — and I love you too.” They started writing letters, and they met four months later. Barrett was 40 years old, an invalid; her father didn’t let her leave the house, and she only saw a few people outside her immediate family. Browning was 34, worldly, and athletic. They fell in love. Between Browning’s first letter and their elopement, they exchanged 574 letters. Barrett’s father didn’t believe that any of his children should get married, so after a secret wedding a week earlier, the couple fled to Italy and lived happily there.”

Yet another reason that writing letters is a good way to spend your time–romantic elopement with a worldly and athletic man.

Letters written in August

It is the dog days of the resolution. During my two weeks off I finished writing notes and sending pictures to all the people who went on the trip to Hungary, then I put my pen down. What letters that were written were to the pen pals I’ve made through LEX and to Sara. I returned from my trip with about eight Sara letters to respond to and during the trip she wrote me a very long one. It is a fabulous letter, filled with multiple fonts and clip art. Future Historians will love that one.

1 August–YRUU
2 August–YRUU
3 August–YRUU
4 August–YRUU
5 August–YRUU
6 August–YRUU
7 August–YRUU
8 August–YRUU
9 August–YRUU
10 August–YRUU
11 August–No one
12 August–No one
13 August–No one
14 August–No one
15 August–No one
16 August–No one
17 August–Jan
18 August–LEX Diane (movies)
19 August–LEX Diane (food)
20 August–Sara
**Letter Back–Jenna, YRUU parent
21 August–BroMAunts
22 August–No one
23 August–No one
24 August–No one
25 August–Postcard Sara
**Letter Back LEX Dorothy (2)
26 August–Deborah
27 August–LEX Gerry
28 August–LEX Don
29 August–Sara
30 August–Sara
31 August–No one