Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The perfect winter morning

Yesterday was bliss, pure and simple.  I started my morning at an urban farm site, which is my usual Tuesday routine.  For various reasons, the two people that normally work on Tuesday had to leave early.  Originally, I too, planned to leave mid-morning and did not bring my usual morning snack to get me through until lunch, assuming I would be home for snack time (an essential part of my day).  When the lead farmer (and resident homeowner) realized I was leaving due to lack of fuel, she kindly offered me an apple, green juice from her newly acquired juicer, and homemade rosemary crackers.  I gladly accepted and continued harvesting, thinning, and bundling bunches of kale, broccoli raab, and daikon radishes for two hours by myself.

The weather was perfect: sunny, high sixties, slight breeze.  Texas, I may have to take back some of the awful things I said about you last fall when I felt burned by the summer, both literally and figuratively.  This mild weather is making for the most pleasant January I've ever experience.  I'm soaking up every second of it before the summer's intensity is upon us again.

The whole morning I kept thinking, "this is the dream" as I looked around an urban backyard filled with vegetables and happy chickens.  From watering the seedlings in the greenhouse to the inexplicable giddiness that overcomes me with each radish I pull, I was overwhelmed by the intense feeling of that I do know what my future holds.  After all the uncertainty and doubt, it's a welcome feeling.  I think I've known for awhile, but I get easily sidetracked and bogged down by the expectations of society.

This feeling of certainty is intensified when I read books like The Dirty Life, recommend by a good friend.  My favorite part so far?  When the writer describes the first time her family meets her (future) husband.  He's wearing a t-shirt inside out because he always wears it exactly as it comes out of the wash; that way, he's right half the time and figures it "wears more evenly."  Love it, especially because that's exactly the kind of thing Henry would do.  Have I mentioned that he sewed his own boxer shorts a few months ago out of leftover material from a college toga party his freshman year?  Or that he set aside his socks with holes in the heel so he can attempt to repair them instead of buying new ones?  Because he did, and it makes me love him all the more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joining the gym

When we first moved to Austin back in March I contemplated joining a gym.  Henry and I loved the local rec center in my hometown and had enjoyed working out regularly.  I was not expecting to like working out a gym as much as I did, but we became believers, each going to the rec center at least six days a week.

I wanted to join a gym in Austin, but I also wanted to avoid adding another monthly bill by paying to exercise.  Since we don't own a car, exercise becomes a natural part of our day as we go from point a to point b.  At the time, I was working on farms several days a week which provided ample opportunity for physical activity.  After much contemplation, I decided not to join a gym and focus on being active in my every day life.  If I'm being honest, it makes me laugh (and cry) to think about how our society has come to a point where we get so little exercise in our everyday lives that we drive to a gym to walk or bike on a machine.  Ironic, isn't it?

Reservations aside, I took the plunge and joined a nearby gym in December.  With winter weather settling over the city I was getting out less than I had previously.  I want to remain active and fit throughout my pregnancy and knew I was not accomplishing that goal on my own.  Paying someone to belong to a gym motivates me to work out regularly (I hate wasting money) and allows me to swim laps and attend classes--two of my favorite ways to exercise.

While I am not working out at the same intensity that I would have if I were not pregnant, I feel completely energized and like I keep going for hours.  Of course that feeling may not last, but I am enjoying it while it's here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Resolutions, 2012

I love resolutions.  Like the rest of the country, I often do a poor job continuing my resolve through the year, but I make them nonetheless.  I enjoy the collective experience of so many people taking stock of their lives and deciding ways they can improve.

Last year I gave up television, including movies.  I lasted until mid-March.  Clearly, I did not complete my year-long challenge, but I still learned a lot.  Mostly I learned that I become easily addicted to television shows that I do not even enjoy.  When I was completing avoiding tv I read more, learned to crochet, played more games with my husband, cooked more new recipes, and generally felt like a productive human being who was making the most of my time here on earth.  When I watch tv (or become obsessed with reading blogs or checking facebook) the quality of my relationships decreases as does my satisfaction with life.  Less is more when it comes to screen time.

Even though I know I am happier when I am not regularly watching television, I do not intend to give it up completely again.  Henry and I enjoy watching the Daily Show together (always a day late on Hulu) and there are a small handful of shows that actually do bring me joy instead of just filling time that would be better spent on other projects.  Moderation is key, but finding that balance that is challenging.

I feel the same way about the internet that I do about television.  For approximately four months this summer, Henry and I were without internet in the house.  Honestly?  It was a fantastic four months.  I am not someone who receives urgent messages that need to be checked hourly.  Checking my email once a day, or even every three days, is perfectly adequate.  Yes, I missed a lot of facebook updates, but I would have to say that augmented, rather than diminished, my life.  We do have internet again, which is both a blessing a curse.  Which leads us to resolution number one:

(1) Check my email twice a day (morning and evening) or less.  Aside from those quick email checks, I will limit my general browsing (blog reading, facebooking, pinteresting) to when I am outside of the apartment, most likely at the library.  I am hoping this will find the balance between not having internet at all and not having my time be sucked into the black hole that it is the interwebs when I would be happier doing something else.

(2) Make more plans for the evenings and weekends.  I am a homebody.  I love staying in and reading, playing games, and going to sleep early.  I love it so much that I choose it over getting out and experiencing the outside world on a regular basis.  This past weekend Henry and I rode our bikes to the local lake and walked the trail.  Simple, yet not something we do enough.  I want to do more of that.  More museums, more hiking, more exploring, more just getting out.  I especially want to focus on this in the first half of the year before the new arrival arrives along with the oppressive heat of summer.  Although I would say it will be equally important, or maybe even more important, in the second half of the year so I don't feel isolated in my house.

(3) Get a nice camera and learn to take pictures.  This item has been rattling around in my head for the last six months or so.  I want to stop thinking about it and start doing it.

(4) Read and write more, preferably daily.  I want to improve my writing.  I hated writing in school.  Hated it.  The thought of writing a paper sent me into spasms, which meant I avoided it until the last possible moment (literally).  Sometime in the last year I realized it wasn't writing that I hated, it was writing for school projects.  When I was younger I used to regularly write for me.  It was both an outlet for my emotions and a healthy way to process what I was thinking and feeling.  Over the years I translated my dislike of academic writing as a dislike of all writing.  I want to get back to writing for me.

(5) Create more.  Sewing, collaging, knitting, crocheting, writing... I want to focus on finding a good outlet for my creative energy.

So here's to 2012!  May it be a year of creating time, adventures, memories, and inspiring projects.