Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday Miscellany

Because I took Friday as a vacation day, and I'm off today, this has been an extra long weekend for me  I know most people had Friday off as their New Year's Holiday but not the employees where I work.  The employee handbook at my job states that we will receive 9 paid holidays a year.  Usually when the holiday falls on Saturday we get Friday off, but if we had been given December 31st off, that would have made 10 paid holidays that fell in 2010 and only 8 in 2011.  Believe it or not, there are some who complain about every little thing so in order to be not be open to having this be an issue, we were given today off for New Year's.  Fine with me.  Since everyone else is back to work, I was able to schedule a couple of appointments that I needed to take care of without taking time off!


I love starting the New Year organized - or at least feeling organized.  For whatever reason the last couple of weeks of the year always seem so out of whack for me, in every area - work, home, food, exercise, schedule.  My first order of business on the 31st was to deChristmas the house and give it a good scrub down.  After all the busyness, the dust bunnies were literally mocking me!  I think my plan was too ambitious because I spent 7 hours going at it and still didn't get it all finished.  I have a three level house and never made it to the third floor.  But when we rang in the New Year at least the public areas of the house were sparkling.


Wanting to start the New Year off right and also knowing that if I didn't do it first thing, all the other items on my to-do list would take over, I got up Saturday morning and went out for a run.  We were in a warming trend so it was a nice balmy 42 degrees.  Funny thing though because of the snow storm we'd had Christmas weekend, there was still lots of ice and snow on the ground.  Much to my amazement, many people still have not cleared their sidewalks.  While our city has an ordinance about that it never seems to be enforced.  As soon as I saw what the conditions were like, I ran towards Connecticut College.  The campus is beautiful with lots of roads for running.  Even though the students are out on break, I knew their roads would be clear and I was right.  Only a few icy spots.  It ended up being a great 6 mile run!

Once I got home, I went straight into cleaning of the third floor, then grocery shopping and a couple of other projects and before you know it, the day was over.  But I had the house cleaned and organized and felt ready to run into the New Year!


Sunday Mr. Helen had to work and I tried to contain my glee until after he left.  Because I got all my chores done, Sunday I got to stay home, putter around my house and do some cooking, which you know I love to do when I have the time. I have to say, after all the craziness of the previous weeks, it was really nice to have the house all to myself.  And because I could do anything, I actually threw in cleaning and reorganizing two closets, which I've been wanting to do forever.  It was a great day.


Mr. Helen is going full steam ahead with his get in shape program.  I know some of you would find this hard to believe but it's exhausting being married to someone who is so athletic.  The man does not know how to do a short workout.  (For example, since he is off today too, he said, "Let's go out for breakfast.  I'll do a short workout."   I am sitting here posting this blog, STILL waiting and he has been working out for 2 hours at this point and will probably go another 45 minutes.  He just came in the house and asked me what time the breakfast place serves until... at least I'll be good and hungry.) He literally spends hours in our garage (Yes, in the cold garage), practicing Muay Thai, lifting weights, and now he has decided to try to run 3-4 times a week on the treadmill "to get his legs back."  The curriculum he has to learn to get his Third Degree Black Belt is pretty intense and he wants to make sure he's in great shape.  He's already in pretty good shape but his six pack has gone down to a four pack since he quit teaching 4 nights a week at the dojo two years ago.  Among other things, he wants the six pack back.  

He and I got into an interesting conversation about all of this. Because he came in the house and was frustrated that he couldn't get his 2 mile run below 15 minutes... he ran it in 15:30. I said, "Do you realize that's a 7:45 minute?  Do you realize that not too many people who are 55 years old can do that?  Do you realize that I will NEVER run that fast, not EVER, EVER EVER?  And I run a lot more than you and I've been running a lot longer than you?"  Yikes, I was frustrated, can you tell?  Of course he said he couldn't run the distances I do (not true) and I shouldn't compare myself to him. Yet it's hard not to, because it's freaking hard to live with someone who is like this when you are un-athletic with a body fat percentage that can't even be mentioned and yet feel like you are doing as much as you can.  But as I said in my Year of Helen post, maybe I'm not really doing everything I could. Yet through this conversation, I discovered that, at least for now, I am doing everything I am willing to do.

As we continued to converse, I shared with him about willpower vs. willingness and I finally admitted to him (and to myself) that while I would LOVE to have a poster worthy body, I'm just not willing to do the hard work required to get it.  I have other things I like to do and I'm not willing to give them up in order to work out for 3 hours at a time several days a week.  And that's the truth.  Now, I need to work on making that realization and truth okay for me to live with.  I need to live with it and live with myself.

Continuing to find my way...  something I never thought would be at this age and stage of my life.


  1. We have that same ordinance about shoveling and people still don't do it (looking hard at one of my direct neighbor's homes here). I always give a shout - "shovel your walk" as I run by. :D I know some people are out of town, but we all know who the repeat offenders are.

    When John started running, I was excited for him. Then he began running faster than me and it made me feel kind of bad because I compared myself to him. We very rarely run together because of the speed thing. It bothers me way more than it bothers him.

    I don't blame you for not wanting to work out 3 hours a day. We all have our own personal balance.

  2. Quite a full and rich post, Helen. My husband has run virtually every day since I've met him unless he was burning with fever...anywhere from 3-10 miles a day depending on time available, with marathons thrown in every year or so. I've waited around on him a few zillion minutes over the years, though he does nothing besides running and post running sit ups. I wish I was so disciplined and driven (not by the car!).

    I love what you said in the last paragraph - about accepting that while you'd love a poster worthy body you know you're not willing to do what it takes to get it. BUT you ARE willing to do a lot - enough to stay fit and healthy and feeling at optimal performance. That's a pretty good "good enough" in my book.

  3. Helen,
    Your dang schedule totally just made me tired. Wheew...3 floors to clean...HOLY MOLY! I am totally impressed that you went for a 6 mile run with it being that cold and icy. Clearly, I do not live up North :) By the way, thanks for your sweet comment on my blog!!!

  4. I am going to have to hire a cleaning crew before you come to my house! I got a couple of rooms cleaned and organized, but nothing like you, super-woman! I do love that feeling of walking into a clean, organized room or closet (or in my case, opening up the kitchen cabinets) - I literally can breathe better.

    I'm with you on not being willing to commit THAT many hours to working out. Shoot, I don't even work out nearly as many hours as's all relative, I guess.

  5. I know what you mean about having some free time to just "putter". I think that is the best time!

    I cannot imagine anyone any more willing than you are, Helen. I am always in awe of your accomplishments.

  6. Funny, I cleaned my house for 7 hours last Tuesday and I felt ready for the New Year too.

    My hub doesn't work out at all so I can't compare but I'm sure if he would run, he would be faster than me.

    I'm like you. I like to lose some more weight and get a better figure but am not prepared to give everything I've got for that. If I workout 4 days a week for about 45 minutes and do a long run in the weekend I'm okay with that. To me life exists of other things too. Besides if I would workout 3 hours a day I would do nothing but work, workout and sleep and I wouldn't have time to read your blog :)

  7. You think if you had "found your way" by this time in your life, you'd be there??
    YOU ARE AN ATHLETE!! Just embrace that!
    I looked at Connecticut College when I was in high school, I also looked at Trinity College in CT. I wound up at Bates College in Lewiston, ME. I wanted a small liberal arts college which all of those were, but they were missing one thing I really needed: Jews! I transferred to Brandeis (home of the Jews), go figure.

  8. I know what you mean about "having the house to myself." I get a bit overwhelmed and claustrophobic over the holidays when I am never home alone. I think we women need that from time to time.

    I also need to do what you have been doing: starting the new year with an organized house. I'm going to get right to it, because I know that being organized helps my weight loss program. I feel like I can breathe more easily and move more freely. The problem is that even though I love having a clean house, I dislike cleaning more every year. Oh well--I still have to do it!

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in your blog. I never miss a post! Take care...

  9. You really ARE making this the Year of Helen! Good for you. I hope some of your organizational skills rub off on me. :)

    I think you already are poster worthy beautiful. I'm serious. You are one pretty lady and you amaze me with your runs and martial arts.

  10. It sounds like you and your husband balance each other out pretty well. I'd love it if my husband just turned on the treadmill (lol) and here is yours, about to fly off of it. It is hard finding balance, isn't it? I want the body, I really do. But like you, I want a well-rounded life as well.

  11. Me too Helen, on continuing to find my way. I seriously thought at 55 years of age I'd have all the answers. I'll probably never have all of them, but each year, I have a few more. I guess it's just a lifelong process...figuring it all out. Then we die. :)

  12. you and I are so alike.
    in our lives.
    in our men :)
    in all of it.

  13. Helen, when you begin to think that you don't commit to things fully like you should or that you don't put enough dedication into anything, I want you to go back and read a month of your own posts. Because from my perspective as a reader, you are a human dynamo! You work harder, and put more effort, into so many things I get tired just reading your posts some days. :) Look at all you did to prepare for Christmas, and your all-day Sunday cooking extravaganzas, and three hours spent cleaning your closets. And that's just in the last couple of weeks!

    I want one of the edicts in the Year of Helen for you to take more credit for all that you do. I think you would gain even more strength and "willingness" if you did. You rock!

  14. I don't clean at all. I have no excuse. but I love that you have standards that you stick to.

  15. "Continuing to find my way... something I never thought would be at this age and stage of my life."

    I had to smile at this. It feels like I only started to find my way fairly recently and I'm just a wee bit younger than you are. That said, I hope I am always in the process of finding my way.

    "Now, I need to work on making that realization and truth okay for me to live with. I need to live with it and live with myself."

    I think as you do this, you will find some amazing things start to happen...