Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009
Dear Diary:

I know there are folks that rage at the arbitrary nature of New Year's resolutions. They make the perfectly valid point that change can come any time. They don't need no stinkin' assigned date to sit down, assess their lives, and make course corrections if they're necessary.

Hey, maybe these folks are disciplined enough to do just that. Me, not so much. (Remember, I'm part of the dynamic duo that spent over a quarter of a century getting a frickin' door refinished. I need all the help and gentle prodding I can get.)

I find New Year's is the perfect time to do a little navel gazing, a little self-assessment, a little looking back over where things went wrong and where they went right.

First the wrong.

One thing that's been ticking me off is that I'm simply not doing quality reading. Oh, hey, I can spend hours reading blogs and the New York Times and The Globe and Mail web site. We get Harpers and The New Yorker and I read them, too. But in a sense, this is all short attention span stuff, something that can be consumed easily in one sitting.

It's been an embarrassingly long time since I've sat myself down to read a book. Something challenging, something Booker Prize or Governor General's Award level. That, I've decided, has to change.

One of my Jan. 1 resolutions I've implemented is to get a bunch o' "best of" lists for the last few years and start working my way through them. Armed with my library card, I marched into my local library to find that about 75 % of the books are in French and the remaining 25% of English language material leans more towards Danielle Steele than Carol Shields.

Okay, fine. Not the end of the world. The majority of the folks in Quebec speak French, so it makes sense that a preponderance of the books would be in that language. There are work arounds here. That's what inter-library loans are for, right?

So I marched up to the wee lady at the desk, handed her my list of five books that interested me. She typed them in, and only one is in the system. I reserved that book and it may show up mid-February. Or it may not. She was very non-committal.

In the meantime, I'm working through the books the daughter gave the spousal unit for Christmas.

From a little sleuthing of my own, I found out that it's possible to log into the Quebec library system from your home and start reserving books yourself. This seemed really cool. Often I'll read about a book on-line and scribble something on a scrap of paper, which instantly gets lost. Being able to act right after I read about something seemed perfect. So I had my local library set me up with the requisite password and spend a couple of hours with my "best of" list.

There are shockingly few of these books in the regional library system.

When I typed in "The fruit hunters : a story of nature, adventure, commerce and obsession" by Adam Leith Gollner I actually got an offer to buy the book through the library system.

Um, the whole idea here is to improve my mind for free. There is a second library in the village which has an excellent English language selection. It's not a free public library, it's a subscription library. If I can't get the regional library system to work for me, I guess that's my Plan B. We'll see.

Another resolution is to try to take better care of the house. I hate housework, but that doesn't mean it's not necessary. I predict much teeth gnashing and whining over that one.

Those are my big two changes for '09.

Part of the resolution dealie for me is to remind myself of what has worked and to keep on keepin' on with it.

There's been another rash of studies come out this year that there's a definite connection for aging women between physical activity and mental acuity. Since I'm firmly part of the banana peel generation, I'm thinking that I'll continue Going Nowhere, the 100 push-up challenge, and my three times a week at the gym.

Hey, I'm religious about car maintenance, which is why the Marnmobile is 11 years old and running fine. Why would I take any less care of myself? Is my car more important than I am? Nope. 2009 is going to be about continuity in fitness terms.

Speaking of the 100 push up challenge � it took the spousal unit ten tries (that is, just over 3 weeks) to move up one teensy tiny step. We're both in Day 2 of Week 4. At our current blazing rate of progress, we should accomplish this six week challenge in, oh, about a year.

You'd think that would be humiliation enough, but oh, no, the universe doesn't work that way. Even worse, someone who looks to be one of those Cross Fit freaks has joined my gym. (I use the word "freak" in the kindest, gentlest, least judgemental way possible, of course.) The guy brought in his own kettleballs. He was doing handstand push-ups up against a wall.

You have no idea how much that saps my will to live.

On Monday I'll be smacking my head against 14-16-12-12-18 push-ups for the 7th time. I get all the way to the final 18 and crap out utterly at 16, two short of goal. If I didn't have the spousal unit marching into the room with me three times a week, I would have scrapped this project a long time ago, for sure.

The big question is, can we wrap this up before summer comes and my usual exhausting landscaping frenzy launches? Hrm.

We can't work outside after supper until dark and then come in and do this three times a week. We're old. Something will break. But I'm thinking it's probably smart to keep this up through until landscape madness overwhelms us, do enough maintenance not to lose all the ground we've gained, and take another run at it this fall.

That's the cunning plan. Let's see how it plays out, eh?


Mileage on the Marnometer: 12.25 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2008: 500 miles

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