Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finally Tried Zumba

Well, I finally broke out my Zumba DVDs that I purchased on a whim. (See Whine, Wine, and Zumba?)

I came home from work yesterday and fired up the training DVD and have to say that I LOVED it!! Looking forward to getting into the actual workout now rather than just learning the steps. I did realize a couple of things:
  1. I actually do not have any real rhythm and sorta dance like, well a white chick...and an old white chick at that. However, since I'm trying to Live Boldly, I really don't care and as long as I am moving and not falling down, then it doesn't really matter!!
  2. Devil Dog does not get it AT ALL. I am going to have to either start Zumba-ing over at Sara's house or I'm going to have lock him out of the dance hall while I become a Latin dancer... Last night as I Samba'd and Calypso'd and Meringue'd, Devil Dog either nipped at my pants, tried to dance with me, or would lay in the middle of the floor right where I was trying to do my steps and would chew on his stuffed toy...right under foot.
True, I did not rush home this evening and did not do my Zumba as I planned, but that was because I played with the dog instead. Maybe tomorrow....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Resolution Take Two

After writing my New Year's Resolutions yesterday, I had a revelation that I really focus my resolutions on something slightly more grand and decided that instead of those pedestrian resolutions, I'm going 'outside' the box. I have the book Live Boldly and have decided that my resolution this year is going to be to follow the premise behind that book:

Live Boldly
Laugh Loudly
Love Truly.
Play as often as you can.
Work as smart as you are able.
Share your heart as deeply as you can reach.
Choose in ways that support your dreams.
Honor your actions as your teachers.
As you awaken may your dreams greet you by name,
And may you answer, "YES!"
As you walk may angels gather at your shoulder, and
May you know they stand with you as you rest.
May all your endeavors be rooted in contentment.
May all your endeavors be rooted in peace.

I resolve this for myself and I hope this for all of you!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 - It Is A New Year!!

It is a new year and time to make those resolutions. There are some resolutions that will take the year to meet, but I want to challenge myself to also set new monthly resolutions. I mean I'm already addicted to my daily/weekly list of things that I have to accomplish, why not give myself a list on the first day of each month of things that I need to do as well, much like I remember to give the dog his heart worm medication on the first day of the month....oh wait, I don't actually want to think about this 'challenges' as a form of preventative medicine to keep from having a parasite enter my bloodstream and stop my heart. And yet, maybe I do. Maybe that is just the thing that I need each month... a preventative medicine to keep laziness from entering my bloodstream.

But, first, my annual list of things that I will probably not get done (and yes, many of these are hold overs from 2011)....
  1. To reach my goal weight (surprise, surprise). I mean, I'm getting really close, should I should have this knocked off before my birthday.
  2. To finish at least the same number of books in 2012 that I read in 2011
  3. To finish half the quilts that are currently in my UFO pile and open an ETSY store and try to actually sell something
  4. To create and stick to a budget and to only spend money on things that I need. Of course, when I achieve #1, then I'll have to buy a whole new wardrobe, and well, who is to say shoes won't be included.
  5. To invite the other folks in "the 'hood" over for a monthly dinner... And maybe host a larger party and have people come drink my wine.
  6. To complete all of the exercises in The Artists Way and Writing Down the Bones
  7. To get home early enough to take the hound for a walk and to dust off my Wii and pop in the Jillian Michaels Kill ABBA routine.
Lucky number 7. I think that is an achievable number of resolutions. I mean, I've already turned off the television for the night so that I can document this, so that is a step in the correct direction, isn't it?

2011 Resolution Update

Well, in looking back over my resolutions from last year, let's see where we ended up....
  1. To reach my goal weight (surprise, surprise) - Didn't quite get there, however, I got almost halfway there, so that is a big step in the correct direction.
  2. To finish at least the same number of books in 2011 that I read in 2010 and provide my faithful audience with a review - Yes! I did actually make this resolution. In 2010, I read 25 books and in 2011 I got to 30!! Woo Hoo and I forced a review of each of them on you all!!
  3. To finish half the quilts that are currently in my UFO pile - And, then we start getting into the ones that I didn't make. Yeah, I did almost no quilting in 2011. I have lots of excuses for it, but in the end it is because I was generally too lazy.
  4. To open an ETSY store and try to actually sell something - See response to #3.
  5. To create and stick to a budget - I thought long and hard about a budget and have tried to create one, but in general it has entailed keeping a somewhat running total in my head of what has been spent and THAT is really scary!!
  6. To implement a REAL filing system and stay organized - Yeah, made NO progress on this one, either.
  7. To buy more shoes (oh no, twist my arm on this one) - So, this one I actually did meet...many times over. However, I was actually in a shoe store just the other day and managed to walk out without buying a single one. I am very proud of myself for that, especially since I walked around the store carrying a couple pair for almost an hour but decided that they just weren't needed.
  8. To cook at home more and actually invite people over, which means I have to keep my house clean. - Hmmm, well, I did cook more and I did have my parents come over and stay and eat, but that was over Christmas, so I guess this is something that still needs some work.
  9. To complete all of the exercises in The Artists Way and Writing Down the Bones. - See response to #3. I did NOTHING along the way for this one.
  10. To watch less television...I still need to come up with a reasonable number of hours a week. - Television is my biggest vice. I don't know what it is and why I need to have it on so much, but it is like a drug to me. I spent the majority of the week I had off between Christmas and New Year watching movies that I had recorded instead of doing all the other things that I should have been doing. Ah well, it is a new year to try again, right?
  11. To get my PMP Certification - See response to #3.
  12. To come back in 3 months and provide an update on these resolutions. So, I did do this once.... That counts, doesn't it?
  13. To become more involved in my community...or a community....maybe a community of squirrels would like me to join..... - Well, can I count spending more time with the folks 'in the 'hood' as joining a community?
  14. To get my passport and in turn do some traveling. - I DID get my passport!! Now, I just need to figure out where I'm going to travel to.
  15. To open my heart to love (and actually join and contact the guy that I've been stalking out there). - So, didn't open my heart to love, yet. But have started loving myself more, which is a big step towards being able to open up for love, right?
Well, I guess there is still a lot of work to be done. Let's see what 2012 has to offer....

2011 - Book 32 - The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

This is another one that I didn't finish this year, and probably won't. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana is one of Umberto Eco's fictional works and while I love some of his stuff (e.g., The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum) but the last couple of his fiction works that I've read, including this one has felt like I'm reading something for school. Perhaps my mind has spent too much time reading the empty calories of works like the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series and gone all soft...but at the moment, I'm okay with that. However, here is the book description:
What if you woke up tomorrow and remembered nothing of your life? The faces of your spouse and children are strange, and the outlines of your childhood are only a blur. This is the crisis that Yambo, an Italian book seller, faces when he regains consciousness after suffering a stroke. He is shocked to find, however, that he can remember every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, and a wealth of literary quotations.
Desperate to retrieve his past, he searches through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photo albums, and adolescent diaries. And so Yambo relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Fred Astaire. His memories run wild, and life races before him in a series of images, as Yambo struggles to capture the most elusive one - that of his first love.
Don't get me wrong, this is actually a really good book and as so much of Eco's works is well written. The premise behind it is really intriguing and does make you stop and think and wonder "what if..." but, at this time in my life, I'm just sorta happy reading the mind candy that I've spent much of the year reading.

2011 - Book 31 - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Okay, I didn't actually finish Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I made it to page 181 out of 253. I made a promise to myself that I would not feel obligated to finish every book that I started if it doesn't grab me, although with less than 80 pages left part of me thinks maybe I SHOULD suck it up and finish it. I made a really good try at this, but i just never felt the need to finish it. Here is the description, if you faithful readers wish to pick it up and make a go at it.
In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or "old same," in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. They both endure the agony of footbinding and together reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.
Well, I understand they are making this into a movie.... I'll wait and see the movie to find out what the misunderstanding is....

2011 - Book 30 - The Dirty Parts of the Bible

Same Torode's book, The Dirty Parts of the Bible, is a good read, and actually not too blasphemous. Description:
It's 1936 and 19-year-old Tobias Henry is stuck in the frozen hinterlands of Michigan. Tobias is obsessed with two things: God and girls.
Mostly girls.
But being a Baptist preacher's son, he can't escape God.
When his father is blinded in a bizarre accident, Tobias rides the rails in search of a lost fortune. Along the way, he is initiated into the hobo brotherhood by Craw, a ribald yet wise black man. Obstacles arise in the form of a saucy prostitute, a giant catfish, and a flaming boxcar. But when he meets Sarah, a tough Texas farm girl under a dark curse, he finds out that the greatest challenge of all is love.
I really liked this book. First, because it does have that blasphemous flavor. Second, because it takes place in Glen Rose, TX, which is just down the road from here. Third, because it is actually a really good story and in the end that is what counts. If you can get your hands on this, I highly recommend it.

2011 - Book 29 - Dumb White Husband vs. The Grocery Store

Okay, so technically, this is a short story, but I read it on the Kindle, so I'm counting it as a book...

Dumb White Husband vs. The Grocery Store by Benjamin Wallace is the first in a series of such short stories. Description:
John is a dumb white husband. That is to say that he loves and cares for his family, is successful in his career, popular around the neighborhood, can dress himself (often without injury) and is capable of reasonable thought. Demographically however, he functions likes a 4-year-old that can't quite master the intricacies of the potty.
It isn't his fault. He studied hard and got a college degree. He works hard and earns a comfortable living. But, like all other dumb white husbands, he leads a dual life; competent member of society by day, helpless male by night, weekends, and holidays.

He has served for years as the nervous legal department-approved foil of commercials, TV and movies. And, for this service, we thank him. No one has ever cared to look inside the mind of the dumb white husband - probably for fear of what we might find - but, if we took a minute to consider it, we may see that he's not as dumb as we all think. But, he probably is.

In this adventure, Dumb White Husband goes to the grocery store.
Well, it is a cute short story, although the description is almost as long as the actual story. I give it a thumb up, although I do find husband versus wife dichotomy a little trying. Perhaps I find it trying because I do not have a husband of my own, but I really doubt if that is what real middle-class WASP relationships are like...but what do I know.

2011 - Book 28 - Heartless

So, I am way behind on blogging about my reading, and other things, so here I go trying to catch up. I finished the third book in the Parasol Protectorate series, Heartless, over Thanksgiving. Here is a quick look at the book description:
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight-months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?
Like the others in this series, it is a light, easy read that brings joy and not much of challenge, and I'm pretty good with that. The next in this series hasn't been published yet, but I do have it on my list to purchase when it does come out. However, I am again reminded as to how many story lines these days pit werewolves against vampires....that theme seems to be every where lately.