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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Good Riddance, 2009: Photo #246

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Today is a day I have been anxiously awaiting for a while now.  It dawned on me a couple of months ago that 2009 was sort of a disaster of a year for me, and that I couldn’t wait to leave it behind.  Part of the reason I let my health go, to some extent, during the last couple of months was because I felt completely defeated by 2009 and gave up, hoping to start fresh in 2010.  It seemed like a good reason to eat cookies for breakfast and nap on the couch rather than go to the gym.  The year could simply not be salvaged.

Far and away, 2009 has been my worst year ever.  It claimed four babies from Randy and me, it brought us financial hardships in the form of high medical bills and temporarily reduced wages, it ravaged extended family with health problems.  I know several other people who have had similar years and also just want to forget 2009 – write it off.  And as much as we can’t see it as anything but a waste – a dark cloud over our timelines – there are plenty of people out there who had the best year of their lives in 2009.  Wonderful things happened to them and they will cherish the memories of this year forever.  It’s funny how impossible that seems to me – perspective is a strong force.

Stronger still is the desire to find some good in the last year – to assuage my guilt for complaining, knowing that so many had it so much worse than I did.  That my troubles are a drop in the ocean compared to probably most of the people on the planet.  There are things to be thankful for:  Randy and I managed to hold on to our jobs despite the rough economy.  All of our immediate family made it through the year safe and sound.  Even through financial hardship we were able to pay our medical bills, keep our house, and even go on a couple trips.  Our marriage is stronger than ever and a consistent source of comfort and joy to us both.

Despite our good fortune in those areas, it is hard not to dwell on the bad.  So it was only fitting that I ended up saying my final goodbye (or good riddance) to 2009 through tears.  Here’s hoping for a brighter 2010.

Preparation: Photo #245

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Today is preparation day.  For January, for the new year, for the new decade.  Randy and I have big plans for the month of January- a month-long project that I plan to blog about here.  Inspired by A.J. Jacobs  and his book , “The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment”, we are going to do our own 30 day experiment. 

As an homage to Jacobs, we’re calling it The Month of Living Healthfully (he wrote a fascinating book called “The Year of Living Biblically”, which I highly recommend).  It will be our quest to live as healthfully as possible (within reasonable limits) – doing all the things we know we’re supposed to do for our well-being but often times ignore in the face of the modern world with its business and temptations.  In short, we are going to do everything our mothers always told us to do.  We’ve been living like pigs for most of December and I have been really neglecting myself, health-wise, for several months now.  We want to get back on track and we hope this will get us motivated – a jump-start of sorts.

Our Guidelines for The Month of Living Healthfully

  • Sleep: Get as closst to 8 hours of sleep each night as possible, and no falling asleep with the TV on!  (A habit we have fallen prey to as a couple for about the last 7.5 years – and me for the last 12 or so… )
  • Oral hygiene: Brush 2x a day AND floss AND use fluoride mouthwash. (A dirty little secret about me – I haven’t always been the best at taking care of my teeth consistently.)
  • Exercise: Work out 6x per week.  For me, it will be 1 day of yoga, 1 day of Tap Dancing Class(!), 2 days of weight training with cardio, and 2 days of cardio – possibly including an aerobic dance class.  Randy’s exercise will consist of yoga, weight training, and swimming.  I thought about trying to swim once a week – its such good exercise – but I just couldn’t force myself.  I hate the thought of getting in the pool on a 20 degree day, even when that pool is heated and inside an 80 degree room.  I’m a weakling  that way.
  • Diet: This is the real kicker.  I am trying to eat 1400 calories or fewer per day, 40-50% from carbohydrates and the remaining split about equally between fat and protein.  I am also aiming to drink 8 cups of water a day and eat 4-5 cups of fruits/vegetables.  And if that wasn’t enough, I added another goal of eating “clean” – that is, trying to eat the majority of my foods as unprocessed as possible.  Randy’s diet goals are similar, with different caloric proportions.  P.S. – We’ve decided to eat all of our meals at our dining room table with the TV OFF.  I can’t remember the last time we ate at the table rather than the couch.  Oy – my head is starting to spin.
  • General Well Being: In order to acheive well-rounded health, we also plan to do something creative each day (Randy hopes to practice the piano or other musical instruments and I want to work on crafts and blogging) and to meditate each evening.  Randy checked out a book called 8-Minute Meditation which has little exercises aimed at Westerners who want to rest their minds.  We expect that doing this just before bed will help us wind down and get ready for sleep.  And, painfully, we have instituted a rule that we can only watch TV if a: we are doing something else as well (i.e. folding laundry or knitting) or b: its a show we’ve scheduled into our day.  No more turning the TV on as soon as we get home and leaving it on until we fall asleep.

Whew!  Now its all out there – published on the World Wide Web for all to see – which is good for accountability.  It will be the most radical life change we’ve ever instituted and I hope we develop some good habits and gain some new insights.  And most of all, work towards creating a healthier environment in which to begin the process of trying to conceive again sometime this year.  We aren’t ready yet, emotionally or physically, but hopefully this will get us closer.

Winter Raspberries: Photo #244

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Randy’s mom worked magic this year with her raspberry jam made from the berries she grew this summer.  She opened a jar on Christmas eve and we made short work of devouring it on top of flakey crescent rolls.  Luckily, she sent home another jar with us and we dove into it tonight.

Knitting is Fun: Photo #241

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Knitting is fun when you don’t have a deadline!  I don’t even have a destination for this scarf – I’m knitting it simply because I enjoy doing  it. 🙂

Sweet Cincinnati: Photo #243

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It was back to work for both Randy and me today.  I was sad to go back, but Randy, a lover of schedules and routine, was glad to return.  We both arrived at our respective offices to find virtual ghost-towns – Randy even had to turn the lights on – and we learned really quickly that we really dig working in a mostly deserted office.  It feels special and less stressful.  But also a little lonely – so we met for lunch downtown.  On our way to the bank in the Carew tower we came across a display of Cincinnati buildings done in gingerbread.  A nice surprise on an otherwise ho-hum day.

Carew Tower

Freedom Center


Snoop Dog: Photo #242

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Zip modeling the new hoodie her Grandma and Grandpa Marksberry gave her for Christmas.

Joyeux Noel: Photo #240

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Randy and I were so tired (and a bit Christmassed out) that we climbed into bed with The Weens (our current pet name for Zipper) at 8:00pm and settled into the big slice of comfort and joy that is Muppet Family Christmas – a sweet little 42 minute film from 1987 in which all the Muppets and the Sesame Street gang descend upon Fozzy Bear’s mother’s farmhouse for Christmas AND featuring a live-action cameo by Jim Henson himself (perfection).  Sadly, the film is out of print right now and an unopened DVD will run you at least $64, although you can score a VHS copy for around $7.  (Ours is VHS and its the only reason we still have a VCR.)  Everything about it makes me happy – from the Christmas Turkey trying to convince The Swedish Chef that Big Bird would make a great Christmas dinner to Animal answering the phone “Peace on earth, give me presents”.  I can’t think of a better way to close out Christmas day.