Friday, February 3, 2012

She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes

I used Jen's Saint Generator to pick a patron saint for this year, since last year's saint1 had seemed appropriate enough.

Woe is me.

I got St. Bernard of Menthon, patron saint of mountain climbers and other things that sound like mountain climbers.

Alpinists; Mountain Climbers; Mountaineers; Skiers; Travellers in the Mountains

This began my landslide into the terrible, horrifying world of getting lots of things done.

Of course, on account of this Urban Ranger thing, I thought St. Bernard's patronage would be quite appropriate for my walking efforts.

Little did I know just how appropriate.

It soon became clear that God had more in mind than just encouraging me to walk more. References upon references piled in about certain topics. Left and right, I would come across things that struck me in that particular HELLO. THIS IS THE HOLY SPIRIT. CAN YOU HEAR ME? HELLO? way. God gave me more and more to do, and I started to wonder if he was a little insane for thinking I could do this all. More than one friend suggested that the things I was doing were preparing me for greater things, and I thought,"Greater things? You mean there could be more?! Oh bleep!"

And then it would occur to me that what seemed to me to be impossibly difficult might actually be things that a normal person would consider the bare minimum of a healthy lifestyle. They might, in fact, be more equivalent to taking a 5-mile walk down straight and easy city streets, and not so equivalent to scaling the Alps, St. Bernard-style. Ah well. Such is life.

Here are some of my mountain-climbing, or not-so-mountain-climbing, efforts.

1. Cleaning

I've actually been trying to "intensely" work on cleaning my apartment for the better part of the last year, I think. And by "intense", I mean I was aiming to get in an hour of cleaning every day. And by "aiming" I mean that I was lucky if I got in an hour each week. Despite this utter failure of discipline on my part, my attempts did somehow manage to achieve minuscule forward progress instead of the steady backwards getting-a-bit-dirtier-every-day that had been the norm before. Over many months, this minuscule progress actually added up, and after Ken steam-cleaned the carpet before Christmas, I started to think that maybe the place could be mostly clean2. It certainly wasn't clean, and still isn't, but it at least has reached the general vicinity where I could at least imagine it being clean.

One thing I started just recently was washing Julie's hands and face off nearly every time that I take her down from the table. It always feels like such a chore, but then I end up not having as many little peanut-butter smears on my jeans and the furniture, so it really helps.

If I don't feel like carrying her to the sink to wash her off, she can just nap there!

2. Exercising

As I was cleaning out old papers last year, there was this one little scrap of paper that I just could NOT throw away.

This was it. I'm pretty sure I had papers a lot older than 2003 in that stack.

More than once I stood there, holding it in my hand, telling myself that I was an idiot for not throwing it away. It didn't have anything important on it. Why would I possibly keep this paper? And yet, as my brain was screaming at my hand to toss it, my hand just kept adding it back in the pile.

It was like a scene from Bodysnatchers. That's the one where people's bodies get taken over, right? I don't know; I don't watch horror movies.

When I ran again into the 14 minutes of any kind of exercise concept, I thought of the scrap of paper, and thought, "oh. Maybe I should, you know, do that."

So I started dancing. Right that moment in front of my computer. No, I'm kidding. I started dancing in the morning for about 14 minutes. After St. Bernard showed up, I tried to make this "most" days instead of once or twice a week3.

3. Eating Fruits & Veggies

Or drinking them. See, it did not escape my notice that that scrap of paper also said "Vitamin B" on it. And the cuticle on my right pinky finger has been missing for some months now, which googled websites inform me may be related to vitamin deficiencies.

And then I ran into this Juicing 101 post. So I started making juices.

Mostly fruit-and-spinach juices.

I've also discovered that I like steamed carrots with butter and salt, steamed broccoli with parmesan, and spinach in various forms. Did you know it's basically impossible to get too many vitamins from fruits and veggies?

4. Taking Care of My Skin

People always tell you to put lotion on after you shower. I tried that a couple times, and gave up. Putting lotion on your whole body takes for. ev. er. Especially when you, um... have as much body to cover as I do. But the thought kept bothering me, and I was taking a lot of showers on account of all that dancing, so I decided to give this another go. After a week or two, I was surprised to notice that my skin was softer.

Seriously, who gets surprised by that?

Here's a couple points I discovered along the way:

  • It takes a lot less time to put on lotion if you do it fast. (It's amazing how dumb that sounds when I type it out. But it was a discovery for me how much less tedious it was when I just slathered it on as fast as I could.)
  • Lotioning your legs is a lot easier if you keep them shaved4.

My skin-care regimen. The facial routine is a recent addition too. That Paula's Choice BHA has noticeably improved the little-tiny-red-acne on my forehead.

Now if I could just de-frizz my hair, I might look halfway cute. I plan on working on that, too.

5. Writing

God keeps giving me commands hints about how to be a better writer, and apparently I'm supposed to actually write a book. Not only that, but he seems to be insisting I make a better blog, too. Specifically by (a) taking better photos and (b) being funnier5. That was why I did the 30 Day Photo Challenge, and hopefully I'll be able to keep including good pics in my blog posts. Although I'm frankly confident that I will shortly fall flat on my face in that regard, too. It's just a matter of time. Only God can do something about that. Hear that, God? It's all up to you, buddy.

As for being funny, if you can't tell that I was aiming for humor in this blog post, then I've clearly failed. In which case, you should tell me so, so that I can make it better. I will drown in bitter anguish at my loss of self-esteem and I will hate you forever, but it will all be worth it because it. will. make. my. blog. better.

And 20 years from now, Gayle will finally find out whether the young man comes back or not6.

6. Working on my Marriage

This one first came to my attention when I noticed that I was more or less attempting every single one of the items on Jen's list except "Put special effort into your marriage." I thought, huh, you know, maybe it's not the best idea to go around neglecting the love of my life and ignoring the one person who means more to me than anyone short of God. So when I came across a Romance Challenge by Betty Beguiles (her tweet conveniently pointed out when to start it so that it would end on Valentine's), I said, "Sign me up." Today's challenge involves "date night", which is ironic, because Ken has to work late tonight, and I don't know when he'll be home. But whenever he does, there will be date night.

I'm pretty sure I've had this since we were married 9 years and 10 months ago, and I never put photos in it.  That will all change on Day 6 of the Romance Challenge.

1. St. Teresa of Avila, patron against headaches and against the death of parents, patron of people in need of grace and of people ridiculed for their piety. And patron of lacemakers. Not all of these apply to me.

2. With the exception of my bedroom.

3. Right now I'm on a two-week hiatus because my foot started to hurt after one morning of trying to dance tippy-toe-like. I made a few feeble attempts to substitute push-ups and crunches and squatting in the place of dancing, but that kept petering out. I hope be able to go back to dancing by next Monday, though.

4. I'm also grateful to LMLD for pointing out that if you shave your legs often, you don't have to be careful about it.

5. When I read every day, I'm not addicted, it's just research into how to be funny and make a poignant point at the same time. Really. I could drop it any time. Really. Why won't you believe me, anonymous reader? 

6. So as not to make this an inside joke that no one understands except Gayle, let me point out that she is a friend from my prayer group, and after reading my short story about Agatha and the Young Man, she twice came up to ask me whether the young man in the story came back to Mass or not. Since I hadn't continued writing the story yet when she asked, I said I didn't know. Her little question has been a major impetus inspiring me to keep writing the story. When I say God wants me to write a book, that's the one I'm working on.

1 comment:

  1. So, I love dancing and walking as exercise :-) so I think you are doing great. I thought there was lots of humor in this post. And I am a bit behind in my comments but also thought the arguments for manual mode post was good. :-)