Friday, November 11, 2011

Personal Resolutions

I have at least 6 half-written drafts in blogger from the past few days. I'm trying to save you all from rambling brain dump drivel, save me from oversharing about work, and save everyone from the ping pong balls in my head going: "you have a great job and you LIKE it;" "I need to work less;" "I don't like the jobs that promise I'll work less;" "and I like my job way more it's coming across in my blog posts, I should fix that;" "but I should stop talking this in general because work angst boring and it's all I've been writing about;" etc.

So, moving on. Many moons ago I mentioned I was embarking on a self improvement project. I made many of the improvements and then forgot about the project until blog reader/new friend CZ asked me about it during our meet up dinner in Palo Alto in August. The good news is that I'd forgotten about it because I'd actually incorporated several changes into my daily life. The bad news is, in forgetting about the reason I made those changes, I've let a few things slip. So now I'm writing it all down to introduce elements of internet permanence and public shaming into my personal project.

My list, in brief, with the possibility of expansion later, of the things I decided sometime early this year I wanted to do to improve myself:

1. Speech Therapy. I stutter. I have since I was little. I doubt people notice it much anymore as I've learned my words to avoid and don't get as flustered when I get stuck, but I hate it and it is the #1 thing I would change about myself if given the opportunity. What finally motivated me to try speech therapy was hearing Landon stutter. As it turns out, for him, it was a very temporary, developmental thing, but the flashbacks to being made fun of as a kid gave me a near panic attack as freaked out about it to JP. Within a week, I had my first speech therapy appointment. It gave me hope I wouldn't always have to avoid words like calculator, emergency, and Israel (oh I have a whole long list, which includes my own fucking first name (curse words, incidentally, are never a problem)), but then I got busy and stopped going

2. Family Dinner- now with vegetables! As I've mentioned many times before, we have family dinner every night and missing it is a complete killer for me work/life balance-wise. We've been doing this pretty well for years (I've never gone through a drive-through after work, or ordered takeout mid-week, ever), but I noticed we'd been lax about side dishes - making pasta, but not having a salad or vegetable. So now, (almost) every night, there's a vegetable- even if it's often a bunch of frozen peas dumped in a bowl with some water and nuked for 2 minutes. Pizza nights are the hardest- I hate chopping veggies for a salad, but I also just never feel like eating green beans, carrots, or peas (my go-to frozen veggies) with pizza. But I do because it's good for the children (and also, those little cubed carrots and peas are one of Claire's favorite foods- she eats them with her own little spoon and always looks so pleased with herself when she gets multiple peas on her spoon and all the way to her mouth; like pretty much everything about the Bear, it's adorable). But we should really add some more vegetables to the mix- and some new entree ideas while we're at it.

3. Physical Activity. I don't work out in a traditional sense. The last time I was in a gym was 2006- I don't have time, and if I did have time, I have admitted to myself that I wouldn't use it to go to the gym. But I'm an active person. We go on walks most nights (for a while it was every night, then it was 10000 degrees outside and we got lazy- and justifiably concerned about being incinerated by the sun), we go for hikes on the weekends, I pretty much never sit down when I'm at home... little things, but they add up I think. We're getting back on track with walks every night - sometimes it's just once around our big circle (about 3/4 mile) while the water gets to boiling on the stove before dinner, but I think it's important- for us and our increasingly pudgy dogs.

4. Classic Clothes. This is more superficial, but I've decided to stop buying clothes because they're on sale and start buying pieces that are well made and classic (with "on sale" being a sought-after bonus). Like my general decorating philosophy, I'd rather have one nice thing than five cheaper things and I hate clutter and I'm applying that to my closet. This has gone well, but mostly because for the past several months, I've been too busy to shop.

5. General Health. I finally made a general practitioner appointment a month ago. In our "why are you here today" talk I mentioned insomnia, severe chronic headaches, and chronic stomach trouble. I'm 28 and a poster child for what stress can do to your body. So I'm working on all of the above- there's some bloodwork and traditional medicine, perscription drug type therapies, FSA-approved massage, and I bought a groupon for yoga. I've haven't actually gone yet because yoga intimidates me (I can't touch my toes, it's embarassing), but I'm determined to try. I need to learn to meditate, I need to stretch, and I should probably get more physical activity. Beginner yoga seems like a good place to start. I just have to make myself go...


  1. You always seems so with it, so the fact you have a stutter actually just makes you that much more real and totally endearing. It must be hard though! Good goals. I need to pick up some of them! Have you tried hot yoga? Now that is pure relaxation.

  2. I did one beginner yoga class. It was great... and awful. But you're a lot more active than I was at the time, so I expect you'll be fine.

    They can modify everything for beginners.

    Love your clothes shopping philosophy. I am very much the same.

  3. In regards to yoga, it's a must! Half the battle is just getting yourself there, and once you've accomplished that, enjoy! Take it all in, be open to it. It's all about breathing, which call me crazy, might help with the headaches and stress. Once you're broken yourself in, try HOT yoga. My new interest is boot camps! 24hr fitness (the worst meat-market, I’m better than you, prettier than you club) offers these fabulous classes..ugh! I hate giving that place my hard earned money, but I just can’t live w/out these classes right now. I’m feeling sore after every class, it’s a huge personal achievment for me.
    I’ve had the same veggie goal myself. I’ve introduced new veggies like honey roasted squash. Something I would never normally eat but I’ve learned, if the kids can help with the prepping, the ingredient creation, they’ll eat it or at least be open to try it. Another helpful hint would be to let them pick the veggie at the store and if that doesn’t work, you can always rely on “if you eat your veggies, you can have a cookie”. (I don’t like to use this, but after a 12hr day, I’m never to good for it!)
    You’re doing great, keep it up!!!
    ~Lindsey (Denver)

  4. Thanks Lindsey in Denver (jealous of your location, by the way)! I do just need to go. Now that I have my groupon for six classes, it'll motivate me because I've already spent the money :). As for vegetables- honey roasted squash sounds delicious! The kids eat all veggies (the only part of dinner I know they'll eat; Landon isn't a big fan of meat or chicken, though Claire eats absolutely everything) and I bet they'd like that one!

  5. There are lots of great yoga podcasts and videos you can find and do online too. Yoga has changed my life and how stress affects me. Find the right style and teacher and you will fall in love!

  6. We're vegetarians, so this is a non-issue for us, but I fully understand not liking to prep veggie side dishes... mostly because we do not have time to do all that chopping and dicing. Our solution: the pre-cut fresh vegetables bought at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. You'll pay more, but honestly my time with my kids is more important that the money I would save.

    In the interest of sharing how two working parents maximize efficiency, can you take a snapshot of your fridge after your Sunday preps? I'd love to see how you organize the weekday meals for the kids.

    SH (western MA)

  7. Want to go to yoga together some Saturday? I love going but never have anyone to go with! There's a great taco place next door to the one up north!

  8. Do you get pre bagged salad greens in the States? Everything else seems to be prepared.

    Cherry tomatoes are another thing that kids love.

  9. If you're interested in both meditation and yoga, you might like Ananda Yoga: There don't appear to be Ananda Yoga classes in Austin, but you can purchase instructional dvds on Amazon:

    I am also a BigLaw associate and recently started meditating and doing Ananda yoga and it has been a great stress reliever for me.

  10. I just started yoga myself - my life is much less stressful than yours, but I'm not naturally very active and sitting in front of the computer for 8 hours a day means that all my muscles have frozen into tight little balls of hunched-up-ness. (And I, too, got a groupon!) I only go once a week (because they only have beginner classes once a week and I am DEFINITELY a beginner), but it has been a very pleasant change. (I can't touch my toes either, and it all kind of sucks, but most of the time just getting through everything requires such intense concentration that I have no idea what anyone around me is doing, so I figure no one's looking at my lack of flexibility. Besides, if I was already flexible, I wouldn't need yoga!) Hope you find it helpful!

  11. I am so impressed that you have family dinners all the time with your crazy work schedule. That's one thing we never did until I changed jobs. Now we are able to do it and it's so wonderful. I think you totally have your priorities straight, it must be how you are able to achieve your balanced life!