Tag Archives: reading

My Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions 2019

As I did last year I’ve decided on a few, albeit not exactly typical, goals for the year. I actually started on them in the last week or so of December; I didn’t see any reason to wait. The thing about goals is you want to make them specific, so it’s not “lose weight” for example, but “walk thirty minutes three times a week” if that’s an area you want to improve. I find it’s very helpful to write things down and in 2018 it gave me real satisfaction to keep adding entries to the simple lists I kept on loose leaf paper.

First is to read 20 books, same as last year. (I read 30 in 2018 after all was said and done.)
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I want to try yoga so my first goal is to do the Sun Salutation fifty times. There’s a couple variations of it; the link is to a 10-pose version but the one I’ve been doing has 12 positions. Doing the poses takes about a minute and I repeat them five times; it doesn’t take long at all. It’s a matter – for me – of slowing myself down and making a point of doing it.
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In addition, I will also commit to doing 30 minutes of yoga 25 times. I found a one-inch thick (this matters) yoga mat on Amazon for $10 so I’m all set. If I do more yoga, that’s fine, but the idea is to get started and see how it affects me. One thing I’ve already noticed is my obvious exhaling while doing yoga (and other stretching type exercise). I think it’s a kind of de-stressing exhaling. Have I been – has my response to recent life been – “holding my breath”? I think maybe so.
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If I can get a hold of it I want to try the New York Times Crossword. I am in a regular crossword habit but that is one I haven’t tried yet.

I plan(ned) to get rid of fifteen things.
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HOWEVER I started on this at the end of December and, having had the time and energy for this project, I’ve actually already gotten rid of – give away, recycle, throw away – over 50 things! I don’t know what I was thinking when in an earlier post I shared my concern that I thought, given how many things I’ve already shed in years past, that 15 might be a tricky goal. Man, was I wrong. Most of the stuff is little things but it doesn’t matter. There is such a relief in shedding excess. I am giving my belongings a very hard look. When you stay in one place a long time as I have, vigilance is key, even when the place isn’t big.

Examples of stuff I got rid of:
– 4 belts I don’t wear
– 3 extra large glass peanut jars with no lids
– 1 full-size piece of foam
– A rusting finch feeder
– A small bag of jewelry
– A small bag of boards
– An extra aluminum water bottle
– 2 wire baskets
– A broken night guard case
and on like that.

I started and will finish a CD set on conversational Italian – and then I’ll decide if I want to try any others.

I’m going to watch the Marx Brothers movies (again). My life could use more levity. I already watched A Night in Casablanca which I checked out from the library. I think I can find several others through the library system also.

This isn’t exactly a goal but I’m going to keep track of the DVDS (and series) I watch. I LOVE movies and I watch a lot that I’m able to check out from the public library but I couldn’t tell you how many I watch in a year for instance – I just don’t know. And how is my DVD watching compared to my book reading? Should there be a ratio? One book for every four hours of DVDs or something like that? Until I nail down how much I typically watch I won’t know if I should set a goal around this issue. I adore movies. Did I mention that?!

My food/cooking goals aren’t elaborate for 2019. I would like to try Thai cooking. I made a Thai salad (coleslaw, green onions, lime, cilantro, amino acids, roasted peanuts) this past year that I loved – lime, cilantro & peanuts, especially combined, sing to me. I’d love to find other simple dishes that use these flavors. I think I’d also like to try making Pupusas – I just saw them on a PBS show featuring various restaurants and I think I’d really like them. In a future blog I’ll share the Thai coleslaw recipe and if I can tweak a pupusa recipe to make it healthy (perhaps less oil, for instance), I’ll share that.

It is easy, if you let yourself, to drift. Okay, I’ve noticed it in me. In 2018 I felt ready to make changes. I recovered my reading habit and made new recipes. This year I will add yoga to my life, continue shedding excess belongings, keep reading, and make sure I’m challenging myself, intellectually and physically. And I am damn sure going to have some levity.

NOTE: I apologize in advance for a delay in responding to any comments to this post. I DO want to hear what you have to say.

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The End of my 2018 New Year’s “resolutions”

I wrapped up my kinda-sorta-new-years-resolutions at the end of October, two months before year’s end. My goals weren’t overly ambitious but simple and to-the-point: 1) to read twenty books 2) to make ten new recipes and 3) to make ten visits to the local lake/park. As of now, I’ve read thirty books this year and went past the ten new recipes as well.

During the year I updated my progress in March and again in August. To keep myself on track, I simply wrote down the three goals and the associated number on loose-leaf paper and whenever I did one of the goals, I wrote in on the list. Writing it down was key – I looked forward to adding new entries and seeing my progress.

I have reclaimed myself as a reader. I’ve said it before but the internet – and how its use affects the brain – had a large part in diminishing my reading. I hadn’t realized how bad it had become but I don’t know when I last read twenty plus books in a year. I had to reclaim my ability to truly focus and pay attention. See, what I am thinking now is that, on one hand there is Entertainment and Distraction while on the other there is Learning and Challenging. I had slowly slid further into the former category as years passed.

To be fair, there are things in life which can take away from any desire to spend a lot of time on learning and challenging one’s self. Obligations, problems, illnesses, depression, and grief are but a few obstacles. When you’re in a place where – for whatever reason(s) – just keeping your head above water is taxing, setting and accomplishing new goals and challenges sounds like an absurd prospect.

So, while I’m not delighted with myself that I wasn’t challenging my mind or learning enough for some time, I do know that along the way, I wasn’t always in the right state to be intellectually ambitious either.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit fan of Entertainment and Distraction! I just think you have to balance them with more enriching pastimes.

I think I got burnt out on learning in college and allowed myself to coast along for some time, figuring I’d done enough and needed a break. But, uh, college was decades ago!

Most of the books I read this year were nonfiction, but not all. One of the year’s best finds was The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, a novel I saw recommended in Esquire magazine. It’s a beautifully written book, a great read for anyone who’s ever had a friend or a close connection to an animal. I am grateful to have found and read it.

I’m excited by reading, the way I used to be (before the internet). I’ve also started reading the aforementioned Esquire magazine again more faithfully. I subscribed for several years but had let the subscription go several years back; I thought the magazine was trying to become more like Maxim (to draw and keep younger male readers) which is not something I read. There was only so much I wanted to know about men’s suits too. Not sure if I want to subscribe now but I’m definitely interested in staying an Esquire reader.

The reading was the HUGE thing this year but committing to making new recipes was beneficial too. Sometimes I tend to fall into making the same things because I like a sure thing when it comes to FOOD. I like knowing that I will enjoy my meal. Trying new recipes takes away that guarantee. That being said, I found new recipes to love, like Easy Walnut, Date and Coconut Treats and Grandma’s Pizza. Writing them down on my Resolutions list keeps me from forgetting about them. In fact, I had kind of forgotten about the walnut/date/coconut treats (which I first made last January) but seeing them on my list jogged my memory – why haven’t I been making them?!

Oddly enough, getting myself to visit the local lake park ten times, a really easy resolution, took more doing. Several months went by when I didn’t go at all (although I was busier with other things in that time) and the assault on a local woman on Labor Day weekend affected my feelings about visiting there. I never heard about any arrest so I assume there wasn’t one. And it isn’t as if I always felt safe there before; I always feel I have to stay alert which kind of detracts from the point of communing with nature.

I see now that my three arenas of resolutions covered several crucial aspects of life: learning, eating, and being in nature. I’m glad I had these different areas and not just one of them. It was fun to do this, fun to see the entries adding up. Finishing up the last of them two months early and surpassing two of them is better than I could have hoped to accomplish. There’s no question my Kinda-Sorta New Year’s resolutions worked out very well. I’m better for them and feel I’ve definitely jump-started myself. Now I’m thinking about what I might like to set out to do in 2019.

What’s on my mind lately (Sept 2018)

Summer is more or less over. It passed quickly for me. Summer is when I feel most alive, because it’s such a sensory, sensual time of year. So much to see and do! And here, I don’t mean anything grand as much as the connection to the outside world, the natural world – sun on your skin, breezes in the air, hummingbirds, dragonflies, and butterflies. Water; pools, oceans, rivers, lakes, tall cold drinks of it. Rain nurturing the flowers, the vegetables, the perennials. Baby animals; birds, squirrels, chipmunks, ducklings, fawns. Windows open, long days, blue skies, summer clothes. It’s my time.

Beyond the pleasures of the natural world, more activities are possible and people tend to congregate, slowing down to relate, be it in formal settings (picnics, parties, weddings, festivals, reunions, etc) or casual ones, where they’re just more willing to interact when their paths cross.  (They’re not cold-as-shit hustling to their next destination. Or maybe that’s just me.)

I’m immersed in both my micro and macro lives. In the micro, I’ve continued on my path of mild self-improvement in 2018.  I have but two more lake visits to finish off what I planned.  I am reading – books – again. Nonfiction has dominated. I hadn’t planned that and somehow vaguely thought fiction would be the bulk of it but that’s not how it’s been. Maybe because I feel (or felt) this need to jump-start to mind, I’m drawn more to nonfiction. Not sure. I still have this nagging sense of trying to catch up, to read books I missed. I continue to be taken aback – chagrinned – that I’m picking up titles from years ago, ones I never read. I’ve switched back and forth between older and newer books.

As a middle-aged person, I am very, very interested in keeping my mind sharp as I age, for as long as I can. Not only do I love reading, but I miss challenging my mind. The years in which the internet has been in my life have changed how I spend my time and where I put my focus. Many good things have come to me because of the internet, but I lament those I dropped or gave less time to. I’m working to remedy that primarily by reading but not only.

WordPress – blogging and interacting with other bloggers – still is very important to me. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: WordPress is one of, if not the most valuable way I spend time online. It isn’t frivolous. It isn’t a waste of time. It isn’t a mindless diversion. It isn’t something I have nothing to show for after participating. WordPress has depth.

Oh – I’m off coffee for the last 3 (almost 4) weeks. I was a moderate but habituated drinker. I drank some coffee every day for decades. For many recent years I’ve had no more than one cup per day and frequently less than that (I always start with only half a cup but sometimes allow myself a tad more).  Because of how I’m wired, even one cup packs a wallop. I never drink coffee out. I hadn’t planned to give it up but I got sick for a couple days and didn’t drink it (or eat anything much either). Once off it, I decided to see how it would be to try to stay off. A main reason is I want nothing between me and my sleep. Residual coffee can affect a person many hours after drinking it and I have to figure, with my makeup, that must certainly be true for me. Quieting my busy mind to sleep soundly all night is a struggle. Yet I know that sleep or lack thereof rules my personality. I don’t take anything stronger to help me sleep than an occasional Valerian (an herb) and I don’t want to. I miss coffee – the little ritual and the little buzz – and can’t say I’ll stay off but right now, I feel like I’m doing something good for myself, particularly when I replace it with a healthy drink.

Giving myself permission to treat myself well is the singular best thing I’m doing in my life at this moment. It’s a struggle and does not come naturally to me. But I’m better, undeniably so.  I’m a bit more generous with myself. I’ve stopped taking crap from other people and I’ve mostly stopped from taking it from myself. This is an ongoing theme.  Other people might not like it – the ways I consider myself improved – because it may not be to their advantage (if they’re looking for advantage). I’m less tolerant, waste less time, and don’t offer as much, and not as quickly, not where it isn’t merited.

Also– I’d like to believe that when you start living better and treating yourself better, the people who aren’t interested in much the same no longer enter your orbit or if they do, they don’t stay or you don’t keep them. And– you’re freed up to draw people who also are choosing or trying to live better lives, who want meaning and substance and validity. And please know, if you don’t know me, that I’m not talking about any kind of fake, quoting, affected, pollyanish, faux, passing, insincere, flash-in-the-pan, b.s. but those things which are genuine, true, and withstand time. Give me the people who are headed up, not spiraling down. And if my theory is wrong, well, I’ll just keep putting my energy into myself because I’m damn sure a far way from being anything near self-indulgent.

I have pushed myself and importantly, I have something to show for it. That’s how it feels.

So far as the macro world, let me give you an analogy. When Barack Obama was elected president, I told a friend that I felt like a kid does when their father is behind the wheel on a family road trip; safe and in good hands, free to sit in the back seat, look out the window, play games or look at books, relaxed and unworried. Now however, I feel tense and constantly vigilant with this new fellow behind the wheel. The car is careening around on mountainous roads, speeding and out of control. I am stomping the floor boards trying to hit the imaginary breaks in the back seat, gripping the arm rest fiercely, as if that would do any good. Road rage with other drivers could escalate on a dime and lead to something very ugly. I can’t take my eyes away.  I know this won’t last but I’m afraid of what could happen before there’s a new driver.  I have never felt quite this way about a president before.

In the end – or the middle or wherever – it always comes down to controlling what you can control. Doing what you can to make your life and the lives of the people you care about, good or better. To draw meaning from the ways you spend your waking hours, however that might be. What’s important to you? This is what I ask myself, this is where I constantly direct (and redirect when necessary) my attention. They say we have many competitors for our attention now. I am susceptible, at times too easily distracted. I’ve gotten better at noticing when it happens and pulling myself up short: Do I really care about this? Is it important? Is this a good way to spend my time? Why am I getting involved in this?

A key part is not letting other people’s priorities become my priorities. Not unless I choose it. EVERYBODY WANTS YOU TO TAKE UP AND INVEST IN THEIR CAUSE. Be it with your attention, your time, or your cash. And I DON’T CARE. More often than not, I just don’t.  People who know nothing or very little about you are so certain that what’s important to them – whatever they’re promoting – should also be important to you.  It’s hard to get away from this so long as you’re a nice member of society and continue to interact with others (which I am and I do! Maybe on my own terms but still).

So, I guess it’s fair to say I am liking where my head is at but I do have some gripes. Or I have some gripes but I am liking where my head is at. I can work with this.

Update on my New Year’s “kinda, sorta resolutions”

At the start of the year I set a few kinda, sorta New Year’s resolutions. Basically I had simple goals for 2018: to make 10 new recipes, to read 20 books, and to visit my local lake/park 10 times. I have already revisited my progress in March. I’m back to say I’VE READ 20 BOOKS!! Go Colette, go Colette! Fifteen were nonfiction; five fiction. I like memoirs and read several. My favorite book of the twenty was a very funny memoir, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jesse Klein. I also was very impressed with Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. My page-turner novel was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (I subsequently watched the movie; it lacked something as compared with the book).

What reading twenty books in seven months has made very clear to me is how little I’ve been reading – in any kind of depth or quantity – for years. The internet, and life to some lesser extent, totally screwed up my ability to read (a book) and I had to get it back. Reading requires a different gear, one that had become somewhat unfamiliar. It’s like meeting up with an old friend and falling back into step together, ultimately wondering why you ever drifted in the first place.

I’ve exceeded my recipes goal, doing most of my cooking in winter. I haven’t made any new recipes lately.

After knocking out several in winter, I have slacked on lake visits. I got busy in the spring and it slid off my priorities. Which is kinda odd, considering lake visits are actually the easiest of the trio, requiring nothing, per my goals, other than merely going there. I have a few more to make my goal of ten.  I went this past Saturday and took a few photos for the blog. I can only take credit for framing these shots; my tablet has a bunch of “filters” and I opted to use the litho one on these for an interesting effect.

 

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Check out the Litho Squirrel!

 

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Dragonfly dead center on top of the blade of grass

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Colette, Somewhat Improved

At the start of the year I set a few concrete, albeit simple goals for 2018, nothing too whacky, involving essentially: cooking, reading, and being in nature. I visited my progress already in March.

I’m back again to talk about it some more. I have read 15 books. Because I am horribly prone to being exacting and forthcoming, I have to say three of them were short. Two were what you’d call novellas and the other was Roz Chast’s “graphic novel” tribute to New York city, easily read in a sitting. Still…. am I proud of this accomplishment? Oh hell yes I am proud!

As I wrote back in January my ability to read had pretty much gone to shit. It was worse than I realized. I still thought of myself as a “reader” as I’d been throughout my life.  But how much was I really reading, that is, books? Not as many as I thought. I couldn’t tell you how many books I read in 2017 or 2016 or 2015 for that matter, but it damn sure was not 15 in a year, let alone four months

I’ve been thinking about how this happened. When I was preschool age I could not WAIT to get to start first grade because I knew it meant I’d learn to read (these were days long ago when, for me at least, kindergarten was mainly for playing and having stories read to you not learning to read). In gradeschool my class once had a contest for who could write the most book reports. Not only did I win, I blew the rest of the kids away. (Sadly the prize was some  kind of religious  trinket, a holy medal or such, I’ve forgotten what exactly but as you see, several decades later, I haven’t forgot I won.) Reading always excited me. In the years I went to college, it bothered me that my personal reading, as in nontext books, had to be cut back. When I did office work and spent long days staring at computer screens, my eyes were too red and tired after to read much at  home. This too disturbed me.

Once upon a time, books were the main thing and movies, another big love, were the occasional treat. This was when it wasn’t so easy to watch movies, when they weren’t so available. I read more books than watched movies. But in recent years that flip-flopped. I love movies but realizing I was doing more passive watching than engaging (more) of my mind by reading didn’t sit right. I also couldn’t tell you how many movies I typically view in a year, no idea. (I also don’t know how I’d quantify whole series like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones; every two hours equals one movie??)

More than movies, the internet screwed up my ability to read. I am certain internet use has changed my wiring and not for the best. Your brain gets some sort of endorphin payoff every so often while being on online. The payoff is inconsistent and unpredictable so gaining it necessitates perpetual activity and vigilance. You go online and basically wait for something good to happen. Trouble is there is a whole lot of crap and wasted time inbetween those “payoff” moments, at least for me and I  imagine for many people. There are times when I’m bored or tired and just fool around online hoping magic strikes, or at least something interesting catches my attention.  It was easier to get online & read various (quick) stuff than to read a book.

I wanted to change, I wanted to recapture something I’d lost. And I have. It feels REALLY GOOD to have found my way back to books. My rule is I don’t have to read anything I don’t want to, even if it means quitting a book halfway through. This isn’t supposed to be punishment. I didn’t plan it this way but of the 15 books, only four have been fiction. The funniest was You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein, a woman I’d never heard of. The page-turner was Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, which I knocked out in two days. I was back!

 

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I’m also doing crossword puzzles; I got a little book of them from Dollar Tree and a second volume for when the first is done. Doing the puzzles has made me sharper (I now can say with conviction there were nine Muses and “Clio” was one. This has come up a few times, despite t the puzzles being written by various makers.) I find myself saying  repeatedly, “I know this” or “I should know this” when trying to figure out clues. I know things I don’t realize I know; it’s often an issue of retrieval. I find real satisfaction in realizing what an answer is, particularly when it doesn’t come to me immediately. However, I  doubt myself because a voice inside me often says at the start of a puzzle when there are too many open spaces, “I’ll never finish this.”  I’ve done 40 (of 88) puzzles so you’d think I’d be a little more trusting by now.

The puzzles show me where my knowledge is decent and where there’s weakness; I don’t know sports or the Bible, and world geography isn’t too promising either. Greek mythology is iffy but improving!  The puzzles force me to consider things from different angles (like when an answer I filled in confidently subsequently messes up other answers and I’m compelled to rethink it). I’ve noticed that this skill is carrying over into other areas of my life; it’s as if my brain is deviating from overworn paths and checking out new trails.  It’s subtle but I can tell.

One of my goals was to make 10 new recipes. I’ve made 14. Also, my diet, already good, is a bit better. I’m eating less cheese and more vegetables for one. And I’m enjoying it. Food is pleasure to me. Tweaking my diet and nutrition makes me pay more attention,  be more conscious, which is a good thing. I really think my little goals this year are doing exactly that:  making me more conscious of how I spend my time, how I relax, how I eat, how I live. Solidly in middle age, I find it is entirely up to me not to become mired in ruts, or lazy and if not full-on lazy, maybe just complacent. I must challenge myself. I don’t want to be coasting along, I want to be alert.

 

 

 

 

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So here’s how my “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions” are going

I didn’t expect to weigh in on my “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions” this soon but I’ve made progress and I feel like writing about it. These ” resolutions ” tie in with a renewed effort on focusing where I put my attention. I became more conscious about how much of my attention and mental energy I was permitting to go to less-than-worthy sources. I said it felt like my life was this huge ship whose direction needed slight correcting. I felt the creaking and heaving of the effort. Here’s what I’m thinking. The older you are and/or the longer you’ve been doing things certain ways, the more it takes to change course. So even if the changes you might wish to undertake aren’t HUGE or even a PARTICULARLY BIG DEAL – as is the case with me – it still takes more effort to get things going (as with even a slight turn on a big, ole ship).

Let me jump in on my specific goals. In 2018 I want to read 20 books, make 10 visits to our local lake, and make 10 new recipes. None of these are monumental but they were all things I considered worthwhile that I was not doing or not doing much. (Yet I seemed to have time for less worthy endeavors or things that just weren’t terribly satisfying.) There is something motivating about getting to make a new entry of my goals list.

I’ve made 13 new recipes! Standouts include Jessica Seinfeld’s Potato, Cauliflower, and Carrot cream soup and Easy, healthy Walnut, Date, Coconut Treats. Not-so-successful recipes were an oatmeal whole wheat bread and gumbo (I never realized gumbo was okra and tomatoes – I love both okra and tomatoes, how could it miss? It missed.) I feel more excited about cooking again, putting in the time and effort to make new things, not just “sure things.”

This year I’ve cut back on cheese – there are actual days when I eat no cheese – and kicked up my vegetable eating. I had to rethink vegetables, to prioritize them, because although I eat HUGE salads and like certain vegetables A LOT, normally they aren’t the first thing I think of and they definitely haven’t been my emphasis.

I’ve visited the local lake six times already. To be honest, my community has added a clothing dropoff box adjacent to the lake area so I’ve used the opportunity to drop off clothes I no longer want as an incentive to head to the lake. Once there, I walk around and such. Accomplishing a small task in the deal makes it easier for me to plan to go there.

Books. I have read six books. My pace here isn’t stellar though because two of the books were short. Also, I have started but not finished three books – I made myself a deal that I wouldn’t force myself to read anything. I got halfway through both Chris Kyle’s American Sniper and Stephen King’s The Dead Zone before quitting. I just didn’t want to devote more time to either. I also started Alice Sebold’s Almost Moon (having really liked The Lovely Bones and Lucky) but realized I’d either started it or read it before and wasn’t so wild about it.

I feel almost ashamed by how far “behind” I let myself get reading-wise. I have much catching up to do but the real point is I am making reading more of a priority again, recouping my ability to sit down and stay put with a book. They aren’t all going to be great but I know by keeping at it, I’ll find ones that are.

So not only have I made a point to do these good things, I’ve cut back on things I felt wasted my time or made me feel not right. There are a couple TV shows I have not watched at all this year, shows that weren’t really adding much to my life. I also stopped reading a community Facebook page, one that often aggravated me with the content and regular vitriol by some of its partipants. I checked back in this week and among the more normal posts – lost cats, community events, etc – was a lengthy “conversation” on hot-button topics that got ugly. I felt myself getting upset. I guess maybe I needed confirmation that staying away is best for me. See, my fear is I’ll miss out (FOMO) on something important. What that “something” is I don’t really know. The reality is my life has gone on, been better even, since staying away. I remind myself I had a life before social media.

I started doing crossword puzzles again this winter, another thing I used to do. As my attention became scattery from time spent online, I found I lacked the stick-to-it-ness required to do a puzzle. It would get hard and I’d quit. I began making myself stick with it and get more done. The more I did the sharper I felt. I found this little book of 88 puzzles at Dollar Tree. I love it! They are all written by different puzzle makers. They challenge me but don’t make me feel like I’m way out of my depth.
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When I get a clue answer I feel a little endorphin surge, especially those I struggled with or took awhile to guess. I find that I have a broader body of knowledge than I (consciously) realize and at the same time the puzzles force me to accesss different ways of thinking. My initial thoughts aren’t always right and I need to approach the clue from a different angle. For examples: the answer to the clue House calls? was “votes”, Back biter? was ” molar”, Singer who’s an actress was “Lori”, my mind went a number of places before it went the right way. I need this kind of intellectual challenge; my life doesn’t automatically provide it.

I have not yet checked out The New York Times puzzles which I understand are considered the best. I watched a DVD of Wordplay, the 2006 documentary on the Times puzzle and its followers, who have an annual competition, and it did make me curious. I always figured I’d find their puzzles kind of dry and boring but maybe I’m wrong.

From 2015-2017 I lost a lot of my energy to an ongoing problem in my life. I spent a lot of energy fighting it and, for a time, trying to get the people who SHOULD help, to actually help. I had a sea change in attitude starting last summer. In a way, I gave up, which doesn’t necessarily seem like the ideal or right course, but it has helped me. Instead I am focusing on those actions and responses within my control. I stopped focusing so much on the problem and as I’ve been saying, started putting my energy back into me. It is too easy for me at to get overly caught up in problems, be they mine or someone else’s. I totally get that there is a choice in this and I can choose otherwise. The ship is turning.

NOTE: Please forgive a delay in responding to comments; I do want to hear them!

Little Free Library

Have you heard of Little Free Libraries? Individuals volunteer to build and maintain them where they live. Anyone can take or deposit books. They can be found all over the world. The website has all the details as well as a map of locations. Locally, within a mile of where I live, there are three. I see that two of them are not listed on the official map. (If you know me in “real life” and want the addresses of our little free libraries, feel free to contact me.) I thought it would be fun to show you “mine.”

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Taken two days ago (we had a little snow, since melted)

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Love the red

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Looks like repurposed cupboards

I haven’t visited these too frequently (I also have a public library just about a mile from home and I’m there often). Now that I am committed to reading more, like I used to, maybe I’ll increase my visits. Mostly, I’ve returned books I’ve taken to where I found them but here are two I kept (I just found the vegan book and already made the creamy lentil soup).

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When I stopped to take photos today I found the current issue of Martha Stewart Living so I snapped it up.

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125 ways to energize your life, hot-diggity!

It has never occurred to me to start my OWN Little Free Library but this section on doing one inexpensively has got me thinking…