Thursday, June 25, 2009

300 Words--inspired by Anne Lamott

random picture from April's self-portrait session

I just finished reading Anne Lamott's book titled "Bird by Bird"--thoughts on writing and life. Loved it. Really got a lot out of it. In it, she recommends that people who want to be writers need to write at least 300 words a day. For practice, for creating the habit, for improving their skill, and so on. I am intrigued by this idea and want to use my blog for some of that writing practice. I wish there was a word counter here! I'll have to use Microsoft Word and do some cut-n-paste finagling instead. Either way, I've been thinking about possible 300 word topics--I hope to have the first 300 word "essay" up later this week.

40/40: I've read two of the 5 non-fiction books (the above mentioned "Bird by Bird" and the new "Peaks and Valleys" by the guy who wrote "who moved my cheese"--his name escapes me at the moment). I'm on Goodreads if anyone wants to follow along with my reading. I read a lot, so there's a lot to discuss there! I've also seen the dentist and my nurse-practioner for my checkups. I hadn't been to the dentist in years so it was good to go and get that up-to-date. The beach was so much fun last week that our plan is to go as a family this friday and just hang out at the beach. I have to say that having this list is good for focusing my attentions. I've been enjoying it overall. I hope it's not boring for you!

Thanks for coming along for the ride! Don't forget to sign up for Jessica Sprague's free class. There are all kinds of neat daily freebies going on this week--I didn't realize it and already missed two of them--don't let that happen to you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

At the beach...first trip for the 40/40 list

How gorgeous is that sky? Seriously! (all pictures taken with my cell phone). That is the windscreen I made, a la Martha Stewart. This was so much fun we are going back on Friday with the whole family, instead of just me and the boys. Plus C wants to see this again:

She's gorgeous, I tell you!

Monday, June 15, 2009

40/40: #24 report

Random picture from my daughter's photoshoot. I just thought it was cool. My daughter is on the left.

So I made it. I wasn't perfect, but I was better than I've been in a LONG time. I was so used to having "a little something" after meals that I was having urges to have dessert after breakfast! Not healthy! It was also surprising how many of our quick "grab-and-go" snacks had sugar as their first or second ingredient. (My personal rule for the week was that if sugar was the first or second ingredient, I couldn't eat it.) Still, it was an interesting week. I was surprised by how hungry I felt all the time! I ate every couple of hours, balancing my carbs with some protein, and trying to eat raw if I could--usually fruits, to try to meet my sweet cravings. And I lost 2 pounds! All in all, I think it was a good thing, and something I want to try to continue. I liked feeling more in control of my body, and I felt less sluggish. So to sum up:

  • I liked feeling hungry. I was so out-of-touch with my body's signals that it had been awhile since I felt really and truly hungry. I don't want to go hungry mind you, but it's nice to have those signals still work

  • I needed to prepare better: I didn't really have much in the way of fresh vegetables in the house, and no real low-sugar/no-sugar alternatives for my favorite breakfast: cereal. I also ran out of cottage cheese and yogurt half-way through the week. I was eating cottage cheese with banana as a snack or breakfast, and putting the yogurt in smoothies. I also ran out of fresh fruit--everything but apples. Apples are tasty, but boring after awhile

  • Dried fruit has a lot of sugar in it. At the beginning of my week, I was grabbing it as a substitute for what I really wanted: chocolate or cookies. By the end of the week, I couldn't really eat it because it tasted uncomfortably sweet to me, and I didn't like it.

  • I grabbed a piece of gum after eating to signal the end of my meal and to retrain my body with that signal. Instead of heading for some chocolate to signal the end of the meal. I got a little tired of the gum, and might want to have more than one flavor around for variety. I also started tearing the gum into thirds--all of the strong mint was getting hard on the inside of my mouth. I knew that my retraining was working when I wanted something minty and fresh after my meals instead of chocolate. I also really began to enjoy fresh fruit as dessert.

  • I definitely liked how I felt--far less sluggish, and far less "fuzzy-cotton-headed" feeling. I liked it so much that I really want to continue avoiding sugar in my daily life. I have a friend who can only have dessert-y type foods on Fridays (her choice). I'm thinking of following a similar plan.

Next on my list? I'm going to tackle cleaning off my desk and removing clutter from my room this week. I might even start going through my closets. (numbers 19, 32, and 18, respectively). I'm also reading a couple of non-fiction books (number 9). My daughter leaves for a week at a church youth camp and I'm not quite sure how the week will go without her help. She helps me a lot, and I'm grateful for it. I may throw things out the window and just go with the flow. Did I mention that my dryer is broken? Hubby thinks he can fix it, but that adds another wrinkle to my week. It's also the first week of summer vacation. Our equilibrium is going to re-adjust in the next couple of week as it is. Might be better to just go with the flow!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Free Photoshop Class!

I am s0 taking this class! I've done a class with Jessica Sprague before and it was pretty amazing! She makes sure you have EVERYTHING possible to be successful in the class. I can happily encourage everyone to sign up for it. Make sure you are registered with her site first--after that all you have to do is sign up between June 22 and June 28. It'll be fun! I'll "see" you there!

#24 is still going strong. Well, I will admit that I've grabbed a graham cracker here or a granola bar there, so it's not perfect. But I have felt a big difference in myself this week. I'll blog about what I learned later. It's been interesting, and definitely worth it!

Monday, June 8, 2009

#24 on the forty before forty list

This week, I am tackling #24--avoid sugar for a week. So far so good! I made a batch of brownies Saturday night because I wanted a brownie before it started. Well, my resolve was sure tested by that 2/3 pan of brownies on Sunday afternoon! Luckily, my kids took care of that problem for me. I also started on one of my favorite holidays--National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! (good thing it was fast sunday--where we fast for two meals and donate that money to help others less fortunate than ourselves). I'll be twittering and facebooking the minutiae of this challenge if anyone is interested in following along. I can always use cheerleaders!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My new favorite picture

Yesterday I did a photoshoot with my daughter and her coterie. One of the key members of this group is moving next week, and I wanted them all to have something to commemorate their 3 year plus friendship. I took over 500 pictures and had a blast. This is one of my favorites. (it's straight-out-of-camera, no post-processing, for those of you interested in such things) You can see the rest in my flickr account (link on the sidebar). Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's finished (forty before forty)

actual unretouched photo
Here it is. The List. Some I've started (there's only 52 weeks in a year, so I need to do a task about once every 10 days or so, I figure...or double them up!)
forty before forty
1. sing karaoke
2. go to a movie all by myself
3. go away for a short weekend trip all by myself
4. run a 5k
5. participate in a “relay for life” or walk for some other cause
6. lose 40 pounds
7. work to join a professional level choir
8. create the habit of exercising daily
9. read five non-fiction books
10. finish the rough draft of my novel
11. reorganize my craft space and purge at least a third of my stash
12. enter my photography into a local contest
13. explore the local photography group and attend one meeting
14. visit the Oregon coast at least 5 times
15. have regular one-on-one “dates” with each of my children (I’m thinking quarterly at least)
16. put more things in my etsy shop
17. create the London scrapbook I was supposed to give my SIL for Christmas of 2008
18. purge my closet and only wear clothes that make me look good and feel happy and are in good repair
19. keep my desk clean for a week
20. make time for being spiritually fed on a daily or at least weekly basis (read my scriptures regularly)
21. color my hair again just for fun
22. get a pedicure (for the first time!)
23. go on a photo-taking walk around my house (Nebergall Loop)
24. go without processed sugary foods for a week
25. go without caffeinated sodas for a week
26. walk 10,000 steps in one day
27. donate my hair to locks of love
28. get all of my health check-ups up to date
29. revamp my living room
30. sew something for each of my children
31. go on a short outdoor hike
32. get all excess clutter out of my bedroom—make it a sanctuary
33. see one tourist site in Oregon I’ve never visited in the 20+ years I’ve lived here
34. learn to play 20 new hymns from the hymnbook on the piano
35. take one personal enrichment class through the local parks & rec or community college
36. write a new poem
37. finish the “no ordinary stories” coffee table book that’s floating around in my head
38. get a professional massage
39. go see a live play or musical, performed at least on the community theater level (no middle or high school performances) the sun set into the Pacific Ocean