Friday, January 20, 2012

Rule of Winter

I've lived in the midwest my entire life, but I still can't say that I love winter.  I'm comfortable with it.  I understand that in order to have my favorite season, fall, that I need to deal with winter as well.  And that's ok.  But I have one rule with winter with which Minnesota isn't cooperating with particularly well this year: if it's going to be ridiculously cold, there needs to be snow to go with it.

I remember growing up and building snowmen, snow forts, and the occasional igloo in the front yard (Mom and Dad weren't thrilled when they caught us sneaking buckets of water out of the house and into the yard to harden the igloo).  There were winters where we had tunnels running through the yard--it was great!  I also remember being sent out to shovel first thing in the morning.  And that stunk. 

While my snow fort building has cut back as I age, my appreciation for snow has evolved.  There's just something genuinely peaceful about a new blanket of snow.  It gives everything a beautiful, clean look and in my neighborhood there's a glorious silence to go with it.  In my mind, that's what makes up for the frigid temperatures that accompany it.  Last year's snowfalls of 16 inches a pop were a bit extreme, but despite the difficulties in getting around I have to admit--it looked cool!

So this winter, nature has only been living up to half of the bargain.  It's been really cold this week, but until I can no longer see blades of grass, it just doesn't count as snow in my book.  So come on, Mother Nature--bring on the snow!  Well, some snow.  Not the feet of snow that got dumped on Alaska.  Not the feet of snow that got dumped on us last year.  Just....enough.  Is it too much to ask?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Home Improvement

I've been a homeowner for a couple years now, and I'm definitely getting good at drawing the distinction between the things that I'd like to do and the things that need to be done.  When I bought the house, I had thoughts of updating the kitchen--cabinets, countertop, and lighting.  Then the water softener died.  And I needed to replace the furnace, air conditioner, and a couple windows.  Which means that the kitchen revamp becomes a pipe dream and the washer and dryer (probably from the early 90s) will run until they die or I come into some money suddenly.  It's sad, but it's comforting to come face to face with priorities.

Until that sudden influx of money (a guy can hope, at least), I took on the little projects.  The basement got a fresh coat of paint, new furniture for the patio, and framing and hanging art around the house.  Next up: organizing those dark corners of the house where I tend to not dare to tread.  My kitchen, mud room and office need some serious rearranging in order to make things easier for myself, and I'm very aware of that fact.  Unfortunately, I've tended to let things just kind of stack up in those areas, and I need to attack them soon. 

Or more likely procrastinate them for other projects.  Any other projects.  Organization is something I dread, partially because I know how long I've gone without it and I know how much it'll take to get where I want it to be.  So I've moved to projects that flex a little bit more of my creative muscle.  Like knitting.  I just finished my first mitten.  Well--almost.  It doesn't have a thumb.  But I figure I can wait until I have the second mitten knitted before I have to figure out how to knit thumbs.  And the project that I most recently finished, my key rack.

I'm proud of this project because it's simple, it's creative, and it solves an organizational problem (that fact kind of snuck up on me--organization can be creative?  Who knew?).  My junk drawer now has about a dozen fewer keys floating around in there.  My extra garage door opener will wind up on there as might a few other odds and ends (the nice thing about Legos is that it's easy to re-arrange and add more hooks!).  The remaining junk in the drawer in the kitchen will need to be dealt with at some point, but that's for later.  Perhaps after a few other projects.  I have an idea for a shelf next to the doorway that I want to work on.  All I need is a game board, some game pieces, some brackets, and a whole lot of glue....  Then maybe I can work on making a scarf.  And in the spring I may need to do more painting.  And then.....

I'll get to the big organizational stuff eventually.  Really.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Trip from A to B

Getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible has always been a goal of mine.  Patience is a virtue?  Nah.  Just get it done!  If I start a job I want to get through it as quickly and efficiently as possible.  When my brain shorted out this week (I think I felt a buzz in my brain and smelled smoke) due to a stretch of too much work and too little play, I decided to go to a solution that consistently works in those situations--exercise.  I've been procrastinating re-starting, which of course only serves to leave me further out of shape, but this was the kick in the pants I needed to get started.  I dug out my workout clothes and DVDs and I was off! 

Monday was a good indicator that I definitely have a long way to go, but I made it through the workout.  I was frustrated at how far I've let myself go, but I felt good for having done it.  There was a little soreness the next day, but it was the the "I'm using muscles I haven't used in a while" kind.

Tuesday was tougher.  Lots of squats in the workout, and I reached a point where I physically couldn't do any more of them.  I decided to stop rather than to try to push myself through it and risk hurting myself.  The next day was a clear indication of how far I have to go.  My legs were so sore that I had trouble walking up and down stairs on Wednesday.  And Thursday.  And Friday.

Because of the soreness on Wednesday, I decided to take the day off and wait until Thursday to do my next workout.  I was determined to push through the soreness and get myself back into the habit of working out regularly.  Thursday was probably a mistake.  I tried pushing through, but my body just wouldn't cooperate.  And when I felt that pop in my lower back, it was definitely time to stop. 

The lesson for the week is that pushing to reach my goal as quickly as possible may not be the best way to handle things in this case.  I'm going to resume the workouts when I feel better (the soreness is slowly fading everywhere).  And it's probably in my best interest to take a more scenic route from A to B.