Time Warp Tuesday: Twelve in ’12

It’s time again, for the Time Warp.

And just in the nick of time! This week’s theme is “the new year” and “resolutions” and I was actually already writing a post about both when Kathy reminded me that the TWT linky was about to open.

I’m not sure if you remember, but last year I presented some ambitious goals around this time and hoped to track my progress with those goals throughout the year. I think I made it to April before I totally dropped the ball on that whole thing. I would consider it a total waste except that I did learn something very valuable – that I can only focus on one or two new things at a time if I really want to accomplish them.

Actually, now that I actually am rereading that post, I see that while I didn’t revisit my resolutions throughout the year, I did accomplish quite a few of my goals. Here’s a quick recap (with the smiley faces I used during my Weekly Resolution Round-ups):

Eat fresh fruit and vegetables on the reg (every day). 😦 🙂 While I don’t do this every day, I do eat way more fresh fruits and veggies than I ever have before.

Exercise at least twice a week (or more). 🙂 🙂 In June I bought a six month membership to a yoga studio and have maintained a 2-3 class a week schedule since then. I’m actually incredibly proud of that.

Put $200-$500 in savings every month. 🙂 🙂 Since I started Second Hand Happiness in April we have saved around $400 a month. I didn’t realize this for a while because it’s all sitting in Mi.Vida’s account but it turns out all our scrimping and saving produced the desired results! This also makes me very proud.

Keep my house clean. 😦 I’m still struggling with this one. While the state of my house is better than it has been, it needs a lot of work.

Practice mindfulness. 🙂 😦 While I’ve really let my study of Buddhism and daily commitment to mindfulness fall by the wayside, I’ve cultivated a wonderful practice of mindfulness during yoga 3-4.5 hours a week.

Make my relationship with Mi.Vida a priority. 🙂 🙂 The past three months of couples counseling has shifted my relationship with Mi.Vida to the front burner and we’re doing better now that we have in a long, long while.

Work on my new (top secret) project at least two hours a week. 😦 😦 Wow, to see that my book was one of my goals an entire year ago is very disheartening. I really hope to make some kind of progress on it this year.

I have to admit, I didn’t really have any intention of making resolutions this year. For the first time in forever I was just going to keep on keeping on with what I’ve been doing. I had plans to stop my medicine and overhaul my diet when we started TTC. I wanted to work on my book. But I wasn’t going to plaster it all over my blog right now in an attempt to actually do it.

But then I saw Keiko’s Living a Fertile Life post last week and I thought huh, I like that. Focusing on one thing each month would allow me to really give that one thing the attention necessary to accomplish it. I also appreciate that each month is dedicated to a different aspect of living a fertile life (nourishment, connection, balance, movement, creation and exploration). I hope that dedicating myself to these “micro-challenges” will infuse this year with greater meaning. It will also give me something to look forward to as the year progresses, something not myred in the complicated emotional baggage of TTC.

So I’m going to do it. I’m going to commit to living a fertile life. And I’m going to do it by focusing on the following each month (thank you Keiko for your considerable inspiration (ie I’m basically robbing some of these) in creating these micro-challenges):

January (Nourishment): Get 7.5+ hours of sleep and eat a solid food breakfast every single morning by 10am. Getting 7.5 hours or more of sleep requires being in bed by 10pm every night (eeek!). I also want to stop relying on Zone bars for breakfast and at least get a cup of oatmeal in me by my first break at school.

February (Creation): Work on my book for at least 15 minutes every day. Whether I am sketching or playing with Photoshop I need so start dedicating time to my book. If I can’t illustrate myself it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

March (Exploration): Create connections and plan outing with my Spanish/English speaking mothers group. More on this when March comes but I want to reach out to some women who are similarly committed to raising Spanish/English bilingual kids.

April (Movement): Go for a walk every day. I hope to rope Mi.Vida into this one. I know he wants to incorporate exercise into his life and this would be a good way to do it.

May (Connection): Spend 15 minutes a day with Mi.Vida. During this month I want to reconnect with Mi.Vida by spending at least 15 minutes a day with him and just him, no chores, no phones, no TV, no other obligations, just the two of us.

June (Nourishment): Put the kibosh on processed food and eat more fruits and veggies. Supposedly this is the month that we start TTC and for that reason I want to stop eating processed foods, cut down on my wheat intake and up the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I get every day.

July (Balance): Meditate and/or practice mindfulness every day. I’ve already cultivated a pretty dedicated yoga practice but I want to practice mindfulness on the days I’m not at yoga. Yin yoga or sitting meditation would be great.

August (Exploration): Bring Spanish language customs into our home. August will be the month Isa starts Spanish immersion preschool and I want to introduce/reinforce what she will be learning at school by creating a Spanish language or cultural tradition in our house every day.

September (Connection): Spend 20-30 minutes of quality time with Isa every day. This will be my first full month back at work full time and I want to make sure I spend at least 20 quality minutes with Isa doing something we both enjoy so we can reconnect after a long and intense day apart.

October (Movement): Spend 20 minutes a day cleaning up. I know this is kind of a cop out but honestly, movement is already a big part of my life and I know at this point in the year the state of my home will be suffering. Plus, cleaning up my house for 20 minutes a day does require I get off my couch and get my butt in gear.

November (Creation): Participate in NaNoWriMo and share some of my book on my blog. What better way to give myself a deadline for at least some progress on my book than a huge blogging commitment?

December (Balance): Embrace spirituality and forgo consumerism. I’d love to spend this month focusing on spirituality instead of consumerism.

I intend to reintroduce what I’m doing at the beginning of each month and then reflect on how well I’m accomplishing my goals at the middle (hopefully) and end (definitely) of each month. Then, at the end of 2011 we’ll see if I feel I’ve lived a fertile life!

Monthly Goal FAIL and Logistical Issues of the Heart

Well I got it up. The maiden post of my new blog. This is the response I got at home for my accomplishment.

I have to admit, I’ve been unsure of the direction of my new blog. I wasn’t even sure what I was going to write. But now that it’s started I’m delighted to find I have myriad posts swimming around in my head. I can’t wait to start writing them.

I realized that I never updated on how my goals went for last month. The two I was focusing on were (1) getting in bed by 10:30pm and (2) getting through four lessons on Illustrator. Unfortunately I have to declare a giant FAIL for both. While I did manage to get in bed ay 10:30pm about 2-3 times a week on average, that is not the 5 times a week I had hoped for. In fact, that is achieving my goal about 40%-60% of the time. So I earned an F or D- for myself on that one. I earned an even lower grade on my Illustrator goal, completely 1.5 of 4 lessons. That’s about a 35% – yet another F. Yikes! I’ve never gotten less than a C in my life! I gotta step it up.

Now I’m trying to decide it I want to keep the same goals or start new ones. Part of me feels like I should stick with the same two goals as I didn’t actually achieved them (at all). I especially feel I should keep the “in bed early” goal because that is something I need to start doing to improve my day to day quality of life. So I guess I’ll repeat that goal again. As for the other, I’m not sure. Should I move to the the exercise goal I was passing on until Daylight Savings took effect? Should I attempt three goals? This seems like a hasty move when I failed both goals miserably last time. Still, they are all important to me.

I suppose I will do a mixture of both. I will continue the “getting to bed by 10:30pm” goal. I will modify my Illustrator goal to complete two lessons this month and I will add the exercise goal of running (or fast walking) twice a week. At the end of the month we’ll see if I at least pass these goals with a C or higher. Sheesh.

On an entirely different note, I’ve been trying to decide what my new identity will be on my other blog. Or if I even need a new identity. I’m not sure I could juggle one if I wanted to but part of me feels I really should try.

Right now my “name” on the new blog is “Esperanza” just as it is here. There are pros and cons for keeping it that way. People in the ALI blog world “know me” as Esperanza and using that name keeps a certain continuity, especially with commenting. In fact, commenting is the main reason I feel I should keep my name as Esperanza on the new blog. It just seems it would be too hard to switch back and forth when commenting, using Esperanza on my ALI blogs and a different name on blogs I find through Second Hand Happiness.

As the same time, the name Esperanza is meaningful to me as it relates to one aspect of my life; pregnancy loss and TTC. I choose that word (which means ‘hope’ in Spanish) long before I started my blog, when I had it engraved on a fertility bracelet. I did this even before my loss and wearing it during and after my loss reminded me that even if hope didn’t reside in my head, it still lingered somewhere in my heart. Esperanza is the name I’ve used while supporting other ALI bloggers and asking for their support. It’s the name I use as I continue to navigate my life with the scars of pregnancy loss and the anxieties about TTC ever present. Esperanza represents that part of myself.

One of the reasons I started a new blog for my new project (instead of including it on Stumbling Gracefully) was because I wanted to branch out and see if there were another “me” I was capable of sharing with the world. This “me” would still be touched (very deeply) by her loss and her future worries, but those losses and worries would not be at the forefront of her thinking. They would be in the background, surely influencing her thoughts but not occupying them or being openly discussed. That subtle difference is important and I want it preserved. I feel writing under a different name on Second Hand Happiness might be necessary for me to maintain the distinction. No matter what I decide I better figure it out soon.

Do you blog under an assumed name? Does that name mean something special to you? Do you think I should blog under a new name at Second Hand Happiness? Why or why not?

Weekend Resolution Round-up #2

So here is a look at how I’m doing with my goals so far. It’s been three weeks since I last checked in. I’m hoping to do it on the 2nd and 4th weekend of the month from now on.

Let’s so how I did!

Eating my fruits and veggies. 😦 Same as last time. I had some good days but I also had some horrible days and the horrible days out numbered the good ones.

Cleaning the house. 😦 Pretty much same as last time. Maybe a little better. I did attempt to clean up some problem spots like my desk and our bedroom but it seems to be a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. Or two steps forward, three steps back, which is no good at all.

Practicing mindfulness. 😦 😦 I did yin yoga maybe twice in the past three weeks. Not very good at all, but better than nothing.

Exercise. 🙂 I have run at least once a week for the last three weeks! Yay for me. I really want to run twice a week at least, but it’s hard right now to go after work as Isa sleeps later, until almost 5pm, and it’s still getting dark relatively early. I think I need to just suck it up and go for it one of these days and see what happens. Still, I’m VERY proud of my three weekend runs. They’ve been feeling great.

In bed by 10:30. 🙂 😦 Hey yo! I got in to bed by 10pm EVERY NIGHT this week! But I didn’t do it once the two weeks prior, so I guess I have to give myself a mediocre score. Hopefully I can keep it up and give myself a 🙂 next time.

Plan/grade papers. 🙂 I got progress reports out and that is no small feat. In the next weeks I will have a ton of grading to do with my Spanish classes. AH!

Mi.Vida time. 🙂 We’re still enjoying “our” time once a week, sometimes two! I know it’s not Mi.Vida’s ideal scenario, but I’m still pretty proud of it. I’m trying to embrace more spontaneous opportunities to show him how much I care, but it’s still a work in progress.

Saving money. 😦 We hardly ate out at all this month, which I’m pleased about. I was keeping my VISA bill down but in the past few days I’ve had to put a couple hundo on it. Not good. I also bought Isa way too many toys this month. I gotta keep that shit under control!

Working on my book. 😦 Again, this falls by the way side. But I did install Adobe CS4. Plus I bought a workbook on using Illustrator and have done the first lesson. Still, I need to do a lot more than that to get going on this. My new goal is one Illustrator lesson a week and keep reading about how to illustrating a children’s book.

Well, I erased three frowny faces this week, which means I did quite a bit better than last time! I’m actually very pleased about that. You know, if I weren’t keeping track of all of this I don’t think I’d realize whether or not I was doing better or worse at my goals. So maybe this check in thing will actually help me stay on track! We shall see.

For the last two weeks of February I’m going to focus most on getting to bed early (because I really felt better this week) and learning Illustrator. Wish me luck!

Weekend Resolution Round-up

Okay, my resolution was to actually keep checking in on my goals and I promised I’d do it every week or so. Of course it’s already three weeks into January and I haven’t posted anything about my goals, but (surprisingly?) I have been keeping track of them. I’ve actually been using an App on my iPhone to mark when I’ve been achieving my goals. To make things easier, I will be rating myself with smily faces for each goal. 🙂 🙂 means I did great, 🙂 means I did well, 🙂 😦 means I did okay, 😦 means I want to do better and 😦 😦 means I go to jail, I do not pass Go and I do not collect $200.

Eating my fruits and veggies. 😦 I had some good days but I also had some horrible days and the horrible days out numbered the good ones.

Cleaning the house. 😦 While I did do some work around the house it was never more than basic maintenance. I am planning on cleaning the shower today but I can’t count that when it hasn’t been done.

Practicing mindfulness. 😦 😦 I did absolutely nothing for this goal. I’m really disappointed about that.

Exercise. 🙂 😦 I didn’t do much walking but I did go on my first post-pregnancy run. It was fabulous actually and I would have gone again on Friday and Sunday but my running stroller has a defect and is veering left really strongly when the front wheel is locked so I’m waiting for a replacement in the mail. My plan is to run 3-5 miles on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. We shall see!

In bed by 10:30. 😦 😦 Epic Fail on this one. Seriously. How hard is it to get my ass in bed at a reasonable time? Evidently really hard.

Plan/grade papers. 🙂 😦 I did okay on this one, mostly because I used time during my Study Skills class to grade papers and asked other teachers if I could borrow their Peer Helpers to do the mindless stuff. Still, I’m behind on my grading so I can’t say I did great on this one.

Mi.Vida time. 🙂 We’ve been making “time for each other” once a week and in my book that is good stuff! I’m sure we could do better, but I’m pretty happy with this so far.

Saving money. 😦 We hardly ate out at all this month, which I’m very pleased about. But I did buy some things here and there that weren’t necessary. I still need to work harder on this goal.

Working on my book. 😦 I almost gave this two sad faces but I realized I have been reading through the one book on writing children’s books and last night I finally started sketching illustration ideas, so I guess I deserve some recognition for that.

So far I’m trending towards 😦 for my goals overall and that is okay. It’s a work in progress. Many of these are life-style changes and I don’t expect them to happen over night, or even over the course of three weeks. I talked to my therapist yesterday about how the state of my house causes me anxiety and she suggested I just do 15-20 minutes of work every day. I think that is a great idea, and I’ve thought of it myself, but I’ve never followed through. Still, seeing how badly I did with that goal I’m more motivated than ever to give it a try, so we shall see.

I think what needs to happen is I need to let go of the idea of having so much “me” time at night. I also need to cut out some things. Right now my Creme de la Creme Attempt is taking up a ton of time. The thing is, I read so many posts from there on my phone throughout the day and then I need to catch up on the commenting when I get home, or I forget what the posts were about. So I’m still trying to figure that out. The reality is, there are only so many (few?) hours in the evenings and something has got to give, especially if I want to do 20 minutes of work around the house, practice mindfulness and get in bed by 10:30 while still keeping up with the laundry and getting some papers graded every once in a while. I’ll start experimenting with new schedules this week. Wish me luck!