Welcome to my blog about my journey through this book and it's challenges. It's a simple exercise, but it's good for me. I hope you enjoy the blips and slips and funny moments. You may even learn a thing or two too!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Week 52--Be Optimistic--Thursday (Wee Early) Morning

Optimism is like bicarbonate-loading before a sprint...excuse me?  Bicarbonates (think Tums) diffuse and buffer against the buildup of lactic acid (bi product of anaerobic metabolism). I see optimism as a buffer against the bullsh** of life.   I read an article this year which basically said that the defining characteristic of optimists is that they aren't always positive, but that they don't  stay negative for too long.  Essentially--keep moving, keep doing, keep trying and don't roll in the muck and mire of your own pessimism for too long. 

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength."
-Mary Englebrecht
I grew up watching "old movies."  Here's a good one on optimism from South Pacific:  I'm just a "cockeyed optimist."  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Week 52--"Be Optimistic"

Be Optimistic:  " In the face of many good reasons and much evidence why not to be, be optimistic.  People around you will be suspicious and assume you've got the inside scoop on the winning lottery numbers, but try it anyway.  What's the worst that could happen?  You could be wrong and discover the apocalypse was scheduled for tomorrow after all.  But that's only more reason for being optimistic today."

I swear it wasn't rigged; Ronnie picked every card this year (with the exception of one swap due to extenuating circumstances).  How fitting is it that my journey of 52 weeks ends this week with the final card that reads, "Be Optimistic?"  It's wonderful.  Today is Christmas Day...Merry Christmas!  And so while finishing out this week recovering from Christmas, I am to be looking optimistic towards the future, towards 2012 specifically.  It will have so much in store, I know it.  I've already prepared another project for myself (because I liked this one so much) but you'll have to read about that next year. 

Let's recap on the past year (52 weeks' tasks to be exact) looks like an awful lot when you see them listed...but taking it one week (or day) at a time is not too bad ;)

Piggyback Errands                         
Quit Being Self-Defeating
Be Patient
I'm Sorry
Recharge Your Batteries
Be in Nature
Don't Walk Away Angry
Buy Recycled
The Next Generation
Examine a Prejudice
Gentle Driving
Cause and Effect
You Made a Difference
Low Media
Without Packaging
Stay Curious
Share Your Success
Read and Respond
Trashy Walk
Know Your Limits
Care for Water
Your Elders
Share Food
Cultural Mind Expansion
Share Humor
Make an Ideal World
Reuse as a State of Mind
Speak Up!
De-Stress Yourself
Buy Used
Shop Less
Stray Animals
Massage Me, Massage You
In Person
Car Rest
Meet the People
Conserve Energy
Homeless People are People
Support the Corner Store
Flowers for All
All About Paper
Grow Green
Nurture your Friendships
Quality of Life
Hurry Hurry Away
Show your Appreciation
Eat Clean
Know Thy Neighbors
Be Optimistic

Friday, December 23, 2011

Week 51--Help! Friday (Christmas Eve's Eve)

"Helping" takes on many forms; preparing food for a friend, cleaning a house, running errands, changing light bulbs, "winterizing" furniture, sharing wine (imbibing), grocery shopping, gift wrapping and laundry.  Yes, I've done all this in the past few days and will end up doing much more with family in town, family with babies and holiday parties :)

Here's some Beatles for you...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 51--Help!

Help!  "Take the time to help, whether it's a stranger who needs directions, a child who needs extra attention learning to read, or your persistently pesky aging neighbor who can't carry his own groceries to the third floor anymore.  Unless you are in the middle of delivering a baby, find the time to lend a hand, an ear, a moment."

It is perhaps fate that I should pick Help! this week since I didn't accomplish my task of "Knowing my Neighbor" last week.  I am disappointed in myself that I didn't make the time to buy the bottle of wine and go to the door of our new neighbor (down the road a bit, not directly next door...I'm not that lazy) and welcome her to the "hood."  I started wondering each day last week things such as, "Will she think me odd bringing her a welcome basket?  What if she doesn't like red wine?  white wine?  no wine?  We've only ever talked while I walk the dogs past her house..."  It's rather pathetic, I admit it.  I must do something about it...but I haven't yet decided. 

This brings me to this week; perhaps I can redeem myself.  Tonite I agreed to help a friend who decided she doesn't have enough time to do everything at home before her warm-weather vacation so she's asked me to stop by and go through a list of "To-Do's" for her house, of which I have agreed to assist quite willingly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 50--Know thy Neighbors

Know thy Neighbors:  "Do you know the people who live near you?  Isn't it strange that you can live someplace for a while an not have met your neighbors?  The need to borrow a cup of sugar has somehow decreased over the years, so next time you see someone who lives near you, make a point of saying hi and introducing yourself.  Not only does this help create a community, but it sets a precedent, and you never know what circumstances might cause you to need each other."

This is a good week for this card because we have a new neighbor in the 'hood."  I walk by her house nearly every day to take the dogs for a walk and every time I think to myself, "I need to get her a welcome basket of cookies, wine, cheese or something."  So, that's on my to-do list this week. 

We have two immediate neighbors (immediate meaning on the same side of the street) and two across the street.  I find it amazing that when I finally do greet neighbors not our our street but in the neighborhood, they almost always have something to say about how my hair is different or what is going on with the dogs.  Which means that though they never have said "hello" or talked to me, they have been watching me from inside their home...which brings me to my favorite "nieghbors" movie:  The Burbs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Week 49--Eat Clean

I did pretty well eating clean yesterday; my laundry list of food items: decaffeinated coffee (several cups throughout the day) an apple, two tangerines, fresh lean turkey (no bread) a few Sunchips (I told you I had to have my Sunchips) two sweet potatoes and wine.  Yes, the wine is pushing the "Eat Clean" line...but then again, French women drink wine...and they're not fat (or so the book says ;)

I've started off today with more decaf coffee (routines can be rewarding).  I will share an observation:  sweet potatoes are awesome, but they must be cooked well.  By well, I mean it took 1.5 hours baking to attain the perfect texture and softness.  They were huge potatoes but man, were they worth it.  I could feel my fiber and Vitamin count shoot to the sky when I had finished them.  Cooking tip:  wash off the potatoes, sit them on an aluminum foil lined pan in the middle of the oven and let them bake at 400.  No poking, slicing or basting required--just heat.  You know they are done when you can see the natural sugars oozing from the end and smell the slightest burning of the sugar.  Sweet.

Just an FYI:  the differences between a sweet potato and yam:  Sweet Potato vs. Yam
sweet potatoes yams recipes food receipts

Care of Wikipedia (of course) :) 

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Pink, yellow and green varieties are high in carotene, the precursor of vitamin A.
In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light-colored flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.[24]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 49--Eat Clean

Eat Clean:  " Of course you've absorbed all the information on having a no-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol and low-sugar diet, but are you doing it?  Or are you still addicted to processed foods?  Are you still eating prepackaged or fast food in your car two meals a day?  Can you replace some of the processed foods you eat with simpler, fresher, and rawer things?  What would you need to do to eat more healthfully? Are you willing to make those lifestyle changes?  Find out what the FDA suggested daily requirements are, and take a look at whether you are anywhere near the suggested amounts for vitamins and fat."

I would honestly say I try to eat clean anyway, as I'm not a fan of too many processed goods.  I can't take too many sweets...but I love Sunchips!  At least they are whole-grain.  It's likely Providence that this week I'm to be more mindful as I'm teaching a nutrition class Wednesday.  I will make an attempt to each as much "fresh" food as can reasonably be had this week.