6 month check-in on the New Year's Resolutions

It's been a weird week. Farrah and Michael in the same day. Two icons (not my icons but icons nonetheless) from my childhood buying the farm in the same day. It made me pause to evaluate. I have a good life so what it fueled was a 6 month check-in on my New Year's goals. I'm one of those people that loves New Year's resolutions. It's the opportunity to set new goals and also pat yourself on the head for goals achieved. This year, my meta-goal - or the leitmotif of my goals - is to carve out "me" time. It's probably the wish of everyone. This year, rather than longing for it, I decided to define it and go after it. Three seemingly simple desires:
  • reclaim my body
  • make time to indulge my intellectual curiosity
  • start knocking off items the "I wish I could do this...." list
So how am I doing?

Well, it's slow going on reclaiming my body but there's 6 months left in the year! I like (fried) food and cocktails. I can't help it. But I am working on it. Exercise is now part of my every day as are fresh (unfried) vegetables and fruit.
The last two are actually going really well. I've been reading lots and lots of books. There's a public library two blocks from my office and I've been making bi-weekly visits. Over the Christmas break we read three or four books about food (In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan), sustainable living (the book called Stuff), and organic gardening. We realized the food industry is terrifying and the best way to feed our family clean food is to grow it ourselves. This Spring we built a sizable garden and we are attempting to grow all our own vegetables..YEAR ROUND! Keep in mind that we're likely the only people in the world who can actually kill squash plants.

I've always had this fantasy of living off the land. We're quite a ways from sustaining our family on what we grow but we're learning. You can follow these adventures on the blog we started about our gardening adventure. We're learning how to stagger what we plant so we have a nice long harvest, how to sow seeds, how to defeat the pill bugs that love to eat our seedlings without using chemicals, how to compost, and so much more. Bringing fresh vegetables and summer fruit into my diet is certainly helping with goal number one.

Plus, gardening is just incredibly satisfying.

I've been reading so many books or rather parts of books. The library has the shelf of "new" books that always seems to have 3 books there that I've been meaning to read. I check them out, give them the 40 or 50 page test, and sometimes they just don't pass muster!

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - sorry to say, it didn't pass the 40 page test. I wanted it to. If I went through my Facebook friends I swear nearly every one of the women swore to me it's the most amazing book ever. It didn't grab me. It deals with two issues I have absolutely no interest in: religion/spirituality and depression.

It Sucked and Then I Cried by Dooce (aka Heather B Armstrong) -- I am a huge fan of dooce.com. I've been reading her blog for years and found the stories hilarious and real and rich. I enjoyed the 75 pages that I read book but, truthfully, I didn't get the point of reading a book that told the behind-the-scenes story of the real-life blog I'd been reading for years. Mostly, I just didn't need to know more than I already knew. Dooce is a talented writer. I hope she takes the time to write some fiction...short stories perhaps?

"In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan -- This book is simply amazing. It lays out our f-ed up relationship with food in a very matter-of-fact, not disgusting manner. At the end of the book you'd be crazy not to be motivated to change your relationship with the foods you eat. Pollan is one of those phenomenal writers who can take a subject like potentially mind numbingly dull subject like food and create a book that I couldn't put down. It's a fantastic, quick read. When you've finished the book you'll be so happy that you read it.

"The Finder" by Colin Harrison -- I loved his novel Manhattan Nocturne so much that when I saw this book on the shelf at the library I had very high hopes. Sadly, the feeling was like finding you're favorite shirt in the closet only to discover it just doesn't fit anymore. I made it about 100 pages before the violence got to me and I just had to give up. Ever since I had kids I just can't cope with the violence anymore.

"A Cook's Tour" by Anthony Bourdain. I'm nearly done and LOVING IT! This is the first Anthony Bourdain book I've read and it won't be the last. WOW. Super fun & a fantastic summer read.

"The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan -- after the fab experience with "In Defense of Food" I snatched this one right off the shelf. I made 45 pages before I switched books. Monica snatched it up and is now nearly done. She says I was almost through the "dry part" and that what comes next is so worth the read. I'm going to dive back in once she's finished.

I just picked up three new books at the library today. David Sedaris' "When You Are Engulfed in Flames"; Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policeman's Union"; and "The Urban Hermit" by Sam MacDonald. I read the first chapter of each of them and I think I may have three winners!

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