A Brave New Year

Everybody makes resolutions. Some people are even all clever and make resolutions NOT to make resolutions, thus proving we can’t get away from this tradition/trend. I’m no exception. This year, I’m going in big. Go big or go home, right? Actually, it’s cold outside. Going home sounds not-so-bad at the moment… Just kidding.

2016 was a dumpster fire. I said there was no possible way that 2017 could be worse than that, which 2017 took as a personal challenge. It was not a good year overall. But you know what? That’s partly my fault. I am not going to spend this brand, spanky new year sitting passively in the passenger’s seat. 2018 is my year of being brave.

This year, 2018, I am going to:

  • Learn to knit. I don’t know a whole lot of people in person who knit, so I am REALLY going to have to go to the interwebs for this one. I have never learned anything from Youtube before, except to pee BEFORE watching an episode of Bad Lip Reading, so this will be an adventure. And for some reason, it makes me a little nervous. But if I practice knitting for a year, I’ll get decent, right?

  • Breed my dart frogs. I have a bunch of them at work. Three different species. And none of them have bred. I have done everything recommended, and I have gotten to the point of getting them in condition and getting them to call, but so far, no luck. If you have bred them before, hit me up. I gotta know what I need to do differently.

Why you little dudes take a vow of chastity?

  • I am going to put my interest in plants to use. I am going to grow some things to sell at the local Farmer’s Market this summer. I can’t stop myself from growing plants. It brings me joy and energy. If I am stressed, I can soothe my spirit by checking up on a cinnamon tree or a root peeking out of a fig cutting. And since I have no self-control where it comes to growing stuff, I can maybe share my joy with others. And make a little cash. To buy more plants…
  • I am going to learn how to make saagwala at home. I love Indian food. I have attempted curry, and I’m good at the recipes I have. Now it’s time to learn saag.
  • I am going to vote in any election that pops up. It’s my civic responsibility, and I’m going to take it seriously.
  • Call my representatives when there are issues I am concerned about. Which is, like always.
  • Add ALL my reps’ numbers to speed dial so I can leave them messages in all of their offices. I currently only have one number each in my phone.
  • Produce 2 pieces, either short story or essay,  to submit somewhere for publication. This means re-learning how to write a short story. Eek! But it’s time to start building my wall of rejections. Or acceptance, but it’s the rejections that make us stronger, right? I am gonna be STRONG!
  • Actually submit these pieces. This is me closing some loopholes.

And here’s the big one. The one that is the biggest change in my life. Are you ready? Am I ready?

  • I am going to go the entire year without buying anything I don’t need. I read a book by Dolly Freed called “Possum  Living.” It’s a non-fiction book by an 18-year-old. She and her dad spent 3 years living like possums (not eating them!). They ate what was around them – raised chickens in the cellar for meat, raised gardens, saved money however they could. They spent about $1500 a year. Even in 1978, that was chump change. And her motto when it came to buying things was “Not now, maybe later.” That’s my mantra for 2018. I’ll unpack this whole goal in a separate blog post, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress throughout the year. A surprising amount of planning goes into inaction, really. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this. It’s just a few minutes long and worth a watch!

How do you plan to make 2018 your lap dog? Inspire me!

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My New Hobby

I started running recently. My husband is an avid runner. He is doing a bit of training with the Padawan, who has now appointed himself my personal trainer. As if I need one. You don’t get this stunning physique from sitting at the computer writing and eating MoonPies. Okay, maybe you do.

So the Padawan and I run to school each morning, which is saying something. When Bill Cosby wrote his bit about his dad claiming to walk to school and it was uphill both ways, he had our neighborhood in mind. Whichever direction you choose, there’s nowhere to go but up. But I do it because it makes the kid happy, and it makes me tired, requiring me to fortify myself with an extra MoonPie. What? I said I was running, not adopting an entirely new lifestyle.

I know lots of writers who draw inspiration from their runs, mulling over chapters, blog posts, short stories as they exercise. I am not one to let such an opportunity pass me by, so here you go. The poem inspired by my morning run.

Beautiful morning! Wow!

Cool breeze. Fall is here.

Padawan is so fast.

I’ll never be that fast.

If he makes fun of my speed again,

I will pound him into the ground.

I need running shoes.

These Chacos just aren’t doing the job.

Are we there yet?

Good Lord, this hill is long.

My legs hurt. I need to pee.

Why did I drink all that water this morning?

Goodbye Padawan! Have a good day!

I will never do this again.

Why are those people staring at me?

I hate them. All of them.

If that car honks its horn at me,

I will flatten their tire.

How long is this hill?

I think I may die!

No, seriously! Someone call 9-1-1.

I am not going to make it!

Help!

Catching my breath.

Stopping.

Never moving another step.

Ever.

But I still need to pee.

Over in those bushes?

No, the neighbors are watching

After the last time.

Moving on.

I see the house!

It has never looked more beautiful.

 

***

And scene.

 

What’s Left?

This picture is directly related to my post. The world as we know it may come to an end.

I’ve been making a serious effort toward self-improvement. If it’s not good for me, I’ve been getting it out of my life, hopefully for good and ever.

It started with the cream in my coffee. I like creamer. The flavored kind. Lots of it. To the tune of one gigantic bottle of hazelnut a week. It wasn’t a problem for me. Something like 5 calories from fat per serving. But when I finally did the mental math about a year ago and discovered that I was consuming more than 1/2 my daily fat in creamer per day, I was floored. *Poof*  Creamer was gone overnight.

I added exercise, but I still wasn’t losing the weight I wanted to lose. Along came Lent. I gave up sweets and fast food, and dropped more than a few pounds. In order to keep myself from feeling deprived, I allowed myself a single favorite brownie per week. I didn’t even count the calories. I figured one brownie a week will keep me from craving other stuff. *Poof* Sweets and fast food gone.

I still have some weight to lose, and I’ve not been able to exercise as much, so I dropped my daily calories to about 1800 per day, give or take. That means that the sandwich or veggie burger, cheddar crackers, etc were too much. I’m down to two smaller meals and one big one (dinner) per day.*Poof* Big lunch gone.

The Earth Fare started messing with my life. They raised the price on my precious brownie. It went from $1.49 to $2.49 in 3 short months. The quality is too inconsistent to pay that much for it. It’s no longer worth it to me. *Poof* Delicious vegan brownie gone.

A few years after my son was born, I realized that I had inherited a metabolic disorder that can cause me a world of hurt if I don’t baby my liver. *Poof*  All alcoholic beverages gone. Forever.

We’ve been trying to stay out of debt and get ahead financially by following the basic but effective teachings of Dave Ramsey.  Recreational shopping is down to a very, very bare minimum, and we’ve been cutting back wherever we can. *Poof* Cable TV gone. I don’t miss this one at all, actually.

And this morning, I realized that if I keep drinking coffee (sugar, no cream, thank you) at my current rate of consumption, I will have a stroke before I am 45. Seriously. When you nearly blew a gasket because your toddler won’t stop talking, and an episode of “House” brings on heart palpitations, it really is time to cut back on the java. And I know it. But I am resentful. And bitter. Bitter as day-old coffee grounds.

I love coffee. I didn’t always. I pretended to like it when a coffee-loving suitor took me to a coffee shop on our first date. I learned to like dumping in gallons of flavored creamer when suitor became husband. And I learned to adore it myself when I gave up the creamer and actually bought good, fair-trade, shade-grown stuff. French roast became my favorite, all bold and sassy, and so strong it could talk back. And now what?

What pleasure is left in my life? I don’t eat sweets or fast food. My lunch is limited to a salad. Snacking between meals is out of the question except for boring, pre-approved items. I have no vegan brownie, or even a reasonable facsimile.I can’t go on wild shopping sprees. I can’t even drink to forget just how deprived I am. There is little fun left to me now. The next thing you know, someone will tell me that sex leads to pregnancy, and I’ll have to give that up, too.

But I am trying to focus on the positive. I know that my efforts to improve my life and my health will help me to live longer. Or at least it will feel like it.

A Girl’s Gotta Have Goals

 

 

Our zoo has a new snake, and is she impressive! At 23 feet long, she’s the largest reticulated python I have ever seen. And because of her,  I have a new goal. I want to lose enough weight that she could swallow me. And I want to do it before the first weekend in September when she is scheduled to return to the facility that owns her.

My dream came to life in early February. I hang out with the Herp guys every Wednesday when I go to help soak tortoises. When Buttercup (yep, that’s her name!) first arrived last winter, I heard the guys discussing which of the staff she could potentially eat. It is my deepest desire to be on that list.

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to actually be eaten by the snake, I just want to be a clear contender. Right now, I’m a maybe at best. A regurgitated or completely rejected meal at worst.

Now that I have a goal, I need a plan. No more Chic-fil-a. Snakes don’t eat chicken sandwiches. Buttercup eats bunnies at the zoo, therefore if I eat like a bunny, I will soon achieve my goal to be snake-bait. Lots of greens and raw vegetables.I can totally do that. On second thought, rabbits eat their own poop. Skip eating like a bunny.

Some people feed their reticulated pythons chickens. I could eat like a chicken. They eat fresh vegetables, too. And bugs. Um, never mind.

These dietary quirks force me to ask what retics eat in the wild. Insert quick Google search here, and the answer is… Pigs! There’s a diet plan I can stick to! I think I’m back in business.