Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Year: 2010 (page 1 of 40)

The List: 2011

I won’t constrict myself the to following, but I think I have a good launch pad for Ways to Make 2011 Better Than 2012. Being a reflective time of year, and given the fact that I’m reading Ortberg (again), these seem to have a bit more depth than practicality (“run” was pretty simplistic last year…), but I’m okay with it. I’m also trying to be a bit more specific so that I can make strides toward meeting the goal. So, here we go.

1. Care less about what others think. I know, posting that in a blog – well, the ironing is delicious. In many senses, I care very little if I have the approval of others. But in other ways, I care more than it is healthy. So when I recognize myself saying things which I perceive could impress others, I’ve got to return to the inner room and remind myself that perception management (thanks again, John) is a futile task.

2. Accept the chaos. And this time you think, “no fair, with 3 under 3 you’ll have no choice!” But that’s the very thing… with such madness on the horizon, I cannot wait for it to change me but for me to become welcoming of it. We’ve had a few chaotic days at home and I find myself getting frustrated by a) the kids getting restless and then b) by my getting frustrated by it. I become part of the problem and not part of the solution. So, small strides are needed for me to realize that I cannot control it all, all of the time. There will be meltdowns. There will be burned or late dinners. The laundry might not get done. And everyone will be just fine. Some of us might even be the better for it.

3. Better dental hygiene. I’m pretty good at hitting the brush-2x-a-day mark, but I feel as though some flossing and extended brushing would make my mouth happy. And a dentist trip is a must (I mean, it’s only been what? 5 years?). Maybe even wearing my retainer more than twice a year would make my head hurt less when I do wear it. And all of you woe-is-you’ers out there who have had dental insurance for over 6 months, I don’t want to hear your cries of righteousness.

4. Follow up. Last year was a year to improve on my follow through, but this year I’d like to take it a step further. I’m awful – AWFUL – at keeping up with relationships that aren’t in my current context. Previous roommates, former students, what have you – I don’t call, email, fb message or even write an old fashioned letter. And I should. I do value those relationships, but I don’t take steps to strengthen them. So I shall make a list – perhaps even just one person a month – and simply reach out to them and find out if they’re doing well. If it’s in person, that’s a triple word score.

5. Add some variety to the blog. I’ve enjoyed the current practice immensely, and my friend DW that Knows Everything has tried to ensure me that the “you never know what you’re going to get” aspect of the blog is what keeps him returning (well, that and – if you ask me – it’s that and to find out if he gets mentioned again. Same goes for Brent the Mechanic. So I keep mentioning them. Fan the flame!). But I’ve toyed with a few ideas that I believe might help me stretch my skills and imagination, so I think I’ll introduce one and make a practice of it once a week. However, it involves many of the people I’ve valued in my life and I’m still solidifying the fine details on dealing with disclosure. But I hope to have that wrapped together soon. Nothing an evening of fixing the world’s problems with KLR won’t fix.

6. Become a better wife. I have married the world’s best husband (though my cousin RAB often tries to disagree that he’s second best to hers), but I’m not living up to the same standard as what I ask of him. When I need sanity time with friends – book club, girls night, coffee with an old friend, youth planning sessions – he finds ways to make it happen. He keeps the kids after a long (long!) days’ work, makes dinner and never complains. But finding ways for him to make a morning trip to snowboard seems impossible on my part. So there needs to be much more give and less take in this house. Well, at least on my part. This can specifically be done by finding ways for husband to enjoy some recreation on a regular basis.

7. Run. I miss it. I hope to recover from this delivery super fast (my body knows what to do, right?) so that I can still get some of that late-summer road time with LBW at the lake. Here’s to wishful thinking. But mid-fall would make me happy and perhaps a Turkey Trot would be a stellar way to top it off. But until this baby makes an appearance, I do hope to spend some time with my Wii Mii doing some basic exercises, maybe even some yoga.

8. Take more pictures. Poor Miss M went from 3 months to 8 months in about one page’s time in the album. That is, when I get the pictures printed and put into an album.  I just don’t get out the camera enough to record the mundane. The other night she was treating her daddy’s legs like the parallel bars. That needs captured!

9. Unless working, stop using technology when the kids ask it of me. I’m very good at limiting their intake of shiny screens. But me? Not so much. Recently little H has been jealous of my computer time and he’ll come over and physically try to remove me.  It’s endearing and irritating. If I truly believe that technology is a tool to be used in moderation, than I need to begin to moderate myself.

10. Throw a good party. This is a failure from last year’s list. My husband is the world’s best host and I’m always Debbie Downer when it comes time to follow through on a gathering. Well, not this year.

11. Begin my morning with God. Matt Lauer can wait. When it’s just me and Miss M sipping on a bottle and some coffee, I can read and reflect before getting to the not-really-news that the Today show provides. I just need a bit of restraint from flipping on the tube. See #9.

I’m sure there are other things that would vastly improve my year, but this is a good starting ground. I need to save something for 2012, right?

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Time to evaluate

It may have been mentioned before how much I enjoy a healthy bit of self-absorption reflection. Thus, the yearly list. I’ve been pondering the 2011 List, but before I can see where I’m going, I must reflect on where I’ve been. My Ways to Make 2010 Better Than 2009 List, in review, with commentary.
1. Perfect a mac & cheese. FAIL. But not for lack of trying. There simply is no replacement for velveeta. Instead of finding a replacement I pretty much gave up the mac altogether. So, win for lessening the intake of processed food product, fail for no alternative.
2. Follow through, think ahead. There are times where I can find significant gains in this area; I can’t think of a specific time where a friend, coworker or family member was miffed by my lack of follow through. But then again, we had family pictures at the church yesterday, which may or may not have resulted in tears on my part because we had nothing to wear that coordinated as a family. And I had been in Kohls earlier in the day. With a gift card. And Kohls bucks. So, this category isn’t an out-and-out win, but progress is a good thing.
3. Daily reflection. Win (for the most part). The blogging helped significantly and I told husband this evening that I’d like to continue the growth by verbally reflecting over dinner. I’m seeking out the question to pose each day that might prompt such reflection. (“What was the best part of the day? Favorite part? How were you blessed? What do you have to be thankful for?”… there are so many options)
4. Read to Henry. Win-win. Win. He made this so simple by demanding action over 100 times each day. Fail on my part for complaining about it at times, but I do realize its importance and overall enjoy the activity.
5. Kiss husband daily. I’d have to go with a 75% passing grade, but always room for improvement. Crazy, huh, that this simple act can’t be an easy A?
6. Connect & contribute to St. Paul’s. Win. I’ve taken up a role of teaching Sunday school for adults and also am enjoying my time Sunday evenings with the youth.
7. Develop 1 spiritual habit/discipline. FAIL. I blame myself completely because I was not specific in my goal. I’d like to try this again and have 2 days to come up with the specific discipline in which I should involve myself.
8. Learn to knit. WIN. Made it by 4 days. I’m 4 inches into my first scarf. Don’t laugh. The road to a thousand mittens begins with a single potholder.
9. Grow another garden. WIN. Though the crop was lackluster, we had tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a bumper crop of herbs (basil, oregano). We planted green beans and those were a flop – note to self: next year, plant BUSH beans, not pole beans. And I think I’d like to add some squash. And a few more herbs (rosemary, parsley).
10. Run. While not a flaming success, I did run. Several times, even pretty quickly after having a baby. So that’s a success. Just getting myself out the door is a huge success, let alone completing several miles. Without peeing myself.
11. Go on 5 dates. After a quick verbal replay, husband and I decided we hit 5. It was close. We had to count gift cards. So we’ll say it was a success, but an area in which we can continue to improve. Go ahead. Donate a gift card. Or babysitting.
12. Wine with a friend once a month. Well in January-April and November-December, there was no wine. But I did enjoy good times with a friend. We even got into the habit of making a date, even if it was just to sit at home. It was a good investment of time.
13. Remove from vocabulary: “I’m tired. I don’t have time. I don’t have money. After XXXX I will….” Win. Well, I think I say it significantly less. But again, I spent 50% of my year pregnant, so the first was quite difficult. As was the last (in terms of “after I have the baby, I will be able to see my toes and wear pants with a zipper”). But I was able to nearly eliminate budgetary reasoning from my verbal bow-outs. And I don’t think the lack of time seemed to be a huge issue.
14. Throw a good party. FAIL. I’m so frustrated by this. I totally bombed husband’s 30th birthday AND graduation. Then he threw me the mother of all gatherings for my birthday. Ugh. I think I’ll add this to the 2011 list and try it again. I could tell I was aching for a good hosting this December when I went all-out for book club. I keep telling husband that “in our next house” a dining room – complete with functional dining room table – is a necessity. But we probably need to eliminate “in our next house” from our vocabulary…

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress at making attempts to live a better, whole & happy life. I added a few things that I’ve been wanting to try and removed a few things that I seemed to use as a crutch for not enjoying life. Now onto some serious reflection for how to make ’11 even better.

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a few holiday observations

It’s the holidays. I’m a bit scattered. We’re lucky these thoughts are numbered in order and not just haphazardly strung about on the page.

1. If Rolos would come up with a packaging strategy that did not include individually wrapping the candies in gold foil that rips so easily and gets lodged into the chocolate, they’d make millions off of me each Christmas. I absolutely love those rolo-on-a-pretzel things, topped with an M&M. I’ve heard a pecan is also scrumptous, but I love the looks of the M&M.
1b. The holiday packaging of M&Ms includes 1 red and 2 shades of green – a forest and a kelly. Everyone knows that red is the holiday color of choice. It’s what Santa wears. Thus the over-abundance of green in the package – and on my plate of rolo treats – causes some stress for those with a smidge of OCD. Half way through the tray I let it go and just put the colors on all willy nilly. This is me, living it up over the holidays.
2. Husband made his first venture out to the store pre-holiday with children in tote. I laughed the entire time he retold the story. He also drove that bus of a cart at Meijer which requires a camera on the end so that you don’t unknowingly run over a toddler in the cereal aisle. Later this evening he gave me a shoulder rub. I think his appreciation was awakened by the trip.
3. Tomorrow, the 23rd, is not officially a holiday. Technically Christmas Eve isn’t a true holiday, though most places will treat it like one after the 12noon hour. A friend of mine significantly dislikes our recent taking to the habit of treating the days prior and post-holiday as true holidays – taking off work, shutting down businesses and the like. However, I’m a big fan. I love that we’re finally letting go of our need to work all. the. time. and finding a few more hours to spend with family. Or preparing (mentally or gastronomically) to be with the family. Either way, it’s allowing us to string out the holidays, see more loved ones, and celebrate with that much more merriment. I’m hoping that with a mob mentality we’ll start to aim for european-style vacation aspirations (as in the european traditions of long vacation periods. Not the movie National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Pig-in-the-poke, pig-in-the-poke. Oink oink).
4. Miss M has been working on tooth appearances for over a week now. I’m dreading the realization that she will continue in her brother’s pattern of hitting the worst of this process while staying with family. Oh, the fever, the crying, the lack of sleep. But she’ll be singing “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” in earnest.
5. Free fast fact: I’ve never had eggnog. Not even a taste. The thought of raw egg swimming in my milk, not being frozen in there via the ice cream maker, doesn’t make my tummy shout with glee. Even more strange, I’ve never been to a holiday function where eggnog was even an option. Perhaps Ohio blacklisted the eggnog pre-1980?
6. Husband informed me that from now until January 10 we will have no concerns with our television programming as football will invade in a constant stream. Oh, joy.
7. We have new personalized stockings, hung with care over our front living room window. I had the brilliant idea to make them and found a pattern on the interweb. I bought a bunch of old flannel shirts from Salvo and with the aid (*ahem, work) of my grandma, they’ve been fashioned into the booties of my dream. We have 5 hung, 4 with puffy-painted names. No worries, we made a spare so the youngest of the clan, when/if s/he arrives, doesn’t feel like an afterthought. I tell you, my grandma can make magic on that sewing machine. I’m almost inspired to ask for one for Christmas next year and take lessons. Though, my stockings would already be made. I guess I could take up making jumpers for the little girls at Easter.

Well, that’s enough randomness for this Christmas season. Stay tuned because extended time with family always prompts a little verbal processing later on. Best wishes to you and yours over the next week!

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