Monday, May 8, 2017

So... How's That Appreciation Going?

Night Kitchen Bakery - ham and cheese croissant. Eat it and die of happiness. Then rise from the dead to eat again.

If you were paying attention during my fitful attempts to get this blog back up and running, you probably read the post I wrote abut choosing my Word of the Year for 2017.

I picked Appreciation for this year. In a time where the larger national and global community is increasingly divided and hostile and in a nation that embraces the concept of there is never enough, taking time to appreciate what I did have - what we all have - seemed increasingly important.

So... how's that appreciation going?

Well... about that...

Family: My goal to appreciate my husband and children more, to take more time to simply bask in how lucky I am to have them, is actually going pretty well... sort of. 

Jason and I were able to take a weekend getaway to Raleigh, North Carolina, thanks to the immense generosity and kindness of my in-laws, who not only helped us with the trip but willingly kept our children while we were gone - which says something, when that involves listening to Audra sing a song about a family of fingers that live on her hand over and over and over and over and over and over and over...

I've made an effort to be involved in more family-related things, and we're working on more plans to see my family and to get over to my in-laws' side of town more, too. 

Friends: My goal to do more with friends hasn't been as successful as I had hoped, largely due to A. the abject unwillingness to leave my house that comes alongside the exhaustion of parenting and work and, um, being awake, and B. social anxiety with events that involve too many people I don't know. Which, it turns out, tends to be "more than two people I don't know".

Thankfully, my friend Liz sometimes just refuses to take 'no' for an answer and seems to know exactly when I really do want to do a thing and when I really do just want to stay home on the couch and moan about how tired I am. So that helps.

Mind: This I've definitely been successful on. I've made time to pick up a book at night a priority again. I've read a few books start-to-finish this year, and my to-read pile, while still growing, is growing slightly less quickly than it was before.

I just finished All Over the Place by Geraldine DeRuiter, and I'm in the midst of The Sixth Extinction and It's Okay About It, because I like my reading material to involve absurd subject changes and emotional whiplash.

He was a very nice greeter

Body: Oh Lord. Right, so my goal was to appreciate my body more by actively seeking to be more fit and healthy. I've subscribed to three health-focused magazines (and dropped three that weren't doing me any good), Prevention, Women's Health, and Cooking Light. I've started cooking with health and taste in mind. I've even got these grand visions of eating less takeout/restaurant food that have yet to come to pass.

Then I had this brilliant idea to appreciate my body by starting up an exercise program... where my attempts to take up running promptly blew my knees to smithereens (which I followed up by going on a vacation in which I walked approximately two to three miles per day, all the while putting weight on said blown-up knee) and now I hobble around like an old lady.

So much for that.

At least I have a gym pass coming up this week so I can test out the low-impact stuff.

That's right - I not only basically made my knees explode from thinking I could run, I also signed up for a free gym pass even though I can barely walk.

So that one's not going so well... Or it's going magnificently, depending on your point of view.

Style: While pregnant with Ellie and during the first few months of her life, I lived in raggedy old T-shirts and jeans, and it took me a bit to get back into my usual sense of style (bold colors that have nothing to do with one another smashed together, add a cardigan, call it good). I've been trying to appreciate my style, such as it is, by working a little harder to look less raggedy at work.

Then, as I mentioned, I blew my knees to smithereens and then proceeded to walk three miles a day for a whole weekend in Raleigh and now I have to wear things that accomodate hobbling. I basically wore pajamas to work today.

My shirts are nice, though!

Home: My goal to appreciate my home more was to start working a little harder on our garden, which I totally did, then a chipmunk ate all our strawberries and outsmarted our trap. So... now I'm trying to appreciate my home by winning the Epic Chipmunk War. And also gardening.

We have little tomatoes and pattypan squashes and itty bitty little strawberries that might make it if I can kill that chipmunk... I mean, trap him harmlessly and let him run free in a nearby field...

We also have little radishes that are ready to come up, and lettuce that's about halfway there, plus corn that is defiantly sprouting. And beans and peas that are still growing. Plus I have some seeds for cucumbers, okra, and random other vegetables to get into the ground.

Now I just have to convince myself to hobble outside to check on them.

I'll also be focusing on making the kitchen a bit more ours. I mean, it is ours, and Jason has brought home a couple of pieces of furniture that let us own it a bit more fully, but I'm starting the planning for an eventual kitchen update that I think will make it feel more like ours.

In short, I'd say my Appreciating Things goal is about 70%, which seems pretty good for five months in. Now I suppose I need to focus on appreciating my knees so I don't make a terrible mistake and run again.

Oh, and one more thing:

Naaaaaaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi baba

I got a tattoo, too.

I figured I'd been planning this tattoo for thirteen straight years, so it was probably time. My mind-meld partner in crime back in childhood lives up in Raleigh, and her husband is an incredibly talented and hardworking tattoo artist. I'd been watching his work and dreaming about this tattoo basically since they got married, and I couldn't imagine trusting anyone else enough to get it right.

Patrick Goodwin did it perfectly.

After I got that tattoo, Jason and I went literally right next door from the tattooing place and ate the best Indian food I've ever had in my life and that was our first night in Raleigh. Oh, and I ate a ginormous cookie, because there's no such thing as a diet on vacation.

I appreciated that cookie.