Sunday, January 17, 2010


I don't make New Year's Resolutions - why, you know? Why make something that I know I will break? I do, though, think of things that I want to focus on and make a few changes - things that will be ok to do just in the short term if necessary. But they don't necessarily happen at the start of a new year. Exercise, for example - started in February. February 21, 2008 to be exact. And that has been and will always be a daily decision.

One of the things I decided I want to do more recently of is read. I love books. I surround myself in books. I remember being in upper elementary school and junior high and going to the bookstore in the mall while my mom shopped [Mom shopping is another blog post in and of itself, but I digress]. I would spend hours looking through the books, often reading a good bit of them prior to my mom finding me. Allowance money went to books and I devoured books in a sitting, and would go back and read them over and over.

As I've gotten older, I don't read as much, even though I still love books. The reasons are many - my preference is to read a book in one sitting, and who has time for that? Or I stay so busy with my job and the kids that reading becomes a luxury. Or I re-read books, preferring old friends rather than risking wasting time on a book that turns out to be a dud. There's almost a fear to starting a book (which is an intriguing fear to me) - what if it isn't good, or if it is too intense? I do know that part of why I don't read as much as I could is that when I get engrossed in a book, I don't put it down, and reading at bedtime means that there are some nights that lights don't get turned off until 3 or later. That really does a number on my system.

I often wonder why I quit reading voraciously - it may have had something to do with my marriage. My ex is a TV watcher, and there was a TV in every room. Whatever room he was in the TV was often on, and he really never was a reader. I don't know that he ever finished more than 3 books the whole time we were married. So, did I quit reading because of him? It's possible - so much of my identity seems to have been swept away in that relationship. When I went back to school for my doctorate, I suddenly had an excuse to read. It wasn't fiction, but I loved it - each word seemed to help bring me back to life. I remember several weekends during the doctoral program I read up to five books - oh, glorious times!

My kids and I go to bookstores frequently, and I find that it brings out the same response in me that it did as a child - I could stay there for hours on end. I buy books for them and for me, and have included it as a line item in my budget. I have a huge stack of books to read that I've bought over the past few years. Have I read them? No, not really.

Why not? Probably because I am online A LOT. How many books could I be reading rather than what's online? And is it really going to change all that much? My OCD kicks in when I'm online and check the same things over and over - email, email, email, email [yes, that's 4 different email accounts], facebook, twitter, the blogs I subscribe to, etc... Click, click, click, click... how many books could I have read instead?

So - my non-resolution is to read more that's not online. Today I read a book cover to cover and it felt divine! Decadent, even. Why don't I do this more often? Thus far this year, I've read two complete books from my pile of books, and I have a book that I read at night that won't suck me in, as it is non-fiction.

Glorious day. A very satisfying day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January at the Gym

I know that I haven't been able to exercise as much as I would like lately, thanks to the holidays, a sore knee, schedule, etc... but I HAVE been going to the gym, at least 3 times a week. My preference is to exercise 4-5 days a week. I feel better when I can make that happen.

So, this week I have managed somehow to make it to the gym 3 days - two of those days I took two classes each day. Yesterday I took Body Pump, a weight lifting to music class, and Body Combat - a kickboxing type class. Both classes yesterday were "full" - I've never seen so many people in the classes in the morning. This morning I was sore, as I anticipated, but it was a good sore. All the places that I wanted to be hurting were.

The first class today was Zumba, a cardio class that utilizes a lot of latin dance moves. Not my favorite, but it matched my mood today. I'd get a decent workout that was "easy" yet "hard enough" to handle and would help to mix up the cardio routine/rut that I've been in the past few months. It was also a very full class - where have all these people come from?

When it started, I could feel the soreness, but as we warmed up it got better. After that I stayed to do Body Flow, which is a class that combines tai chi, yoga, and pilates. Flow is my favorite class, mainly because it both stretches and strengthens, and the meditation at the end is simply a beautiful gift to self. Normally when I take Flow, I'm one of about 4 people, and I'm near the front of the room. But today... because I went to the bathroom between classes, I got to be at the back of the room.

Ah yes - it's January at the gym... people have joined because of those New Year's Resolutions. And I'm happy to see them and thrilled that there is a desire from so many to improve their fitness level. But a small part of me will be glad when their enthusiasm wanes and crowds get back to normal. Horrible of me, I know.

Meanwhile - thanks to 4 classes in two days, I'm amazingly sore. Wow. This feeling is why I need to be more conscientious about cross-training.