Wednesday, January 30, 2019

New Year’s Resolutions

January is New Year’s resolutions month. Here are a few things I have decided to work on:

  • Blog more – I am going to try to blog at least once a month but the more the better.
  • Go back to working out - I worked out sporadically during most of last year, which didn’t feel good. So, I have decided to do something about it. I read an article about getting back in shape which resonated with me. It talked about committing to working out at least 16 times a month. It sounded doable but I needed an accountability partner. Unfortunately, my workout buddy from Addis, Tara, is on the other side of the world in Papua New Guinea. I reached out to her anyway to see if she’d do it with me despite the distance. She had a serious ankle injury last year and can’t do anything that puts too much pressure on her foot but she, like me, wanted to shed some weight and get back in shape, so she was in. 16 workouts a month came down to roughly 4 workouts a week. She started swimming and walking. I started doing yoga twice a week with the Down Dog App. I love that app, by the way, because you can tailor the length and difficulty to whatever you need. It had been so long since I had done yoga, that I needed to start from Beginner 1 to slowly build up my strength. I vary my other two weekly workouts. I found some hula hoop/barre workouts that seemed fun and have been doing them and some ab/Pilates type workouts through FabFitFun. I have a FabFitFun box subscription and they have a fitness website with a bunch of videos, so I can always find something there. These workouts are usually about 15 min, so I do a couple. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing. I started keeping a fitness log and have already done 19 workouts so far this month. Yey! I haven’t lost any weight whatsoever but I am trying to not let that get to me. I also started a push up challenge. I have never been good at push ups but have always wanted to be, so when I stumbled on this push up challenge from Health Magazine recently, I knew I wanted to try it.  It’s supposed to get me from 5 to 50 push ups in 30 days. I am on day five and so far, so good. I have a hard time believing I would be able to get to 50 but I’ll give it all I’ve got and we’ll see. Last but not least, I took a picture of myself on January 1 and plan to take one on the first of every month to track progress. Not loving the January picture but I have to start somewhere and I have to be honest with myself.
  • Eat less sugar – I discovered a really cool website called Darebee, which has all kinds of workout inspiration. If you guys haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. You’re welcome. Anywhoo, there was a 15-day no sugar challenge there, which I really need. I plan on starting it on February 1. I want to make it a recurring thing – eat sweets once every two weeks. I think I can do it. I also want to cut down on carbs but can’t do it all at once, so I will try to add that in March.
  • Declutter the house –clutter around the house has been driving me crazy and I have wanted to do something about it for a while. Like everybody and their cousin, I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and decided I liked some of the ideas in it. I have been reorganizing some dressers. I tried to involve Paul and the kids but so far no one is biting. With Paul and Nia leaving for Saudi Arabia this summer, we will have to go through their stuff anyway, so I am not doing everything all at once but making baby steps as I have time. That’s not what Marie Kondo teaches but I am not going to worry too much about that.
  • Learn a little Arabic – I have decided that I want to pick up some Arabic in preparation for moving to Saudi. The U.S. Government was shutdown for 4 weeks, which wasn’t fun but Rosetta Stone had an offer for government employees for 3 months of free online language instruction in any of the languages they offer, so I decided to take advantage of it. I have only done it a few times and it’s not easy. I had forgotten how humbling learning a new language is. Rosetta Stone has changed a little since I last used it but the underlying principles are more or less the same. I wrote a review about learning Hindi with Rosetta Stone back in 2010 and am having a very similar experience with Arabic. It’s lovely to be going at your own pace and learning as you have time but there is no explanation whatsoever and while that’s OK when you are learning obvious things like the words for cat and dog, it’s frustrating when you get into more abstract stuff. The other day, for example, I was going through a lesson and getting every other exercise wrong and just not understanding the concept until a few screens later when I had an aha moment – it finally dawned on me that they were teaching negation, the idea of NOT doing something and comparing it to doing something. Or when I had already gone through the lessons teaching the words for girl, boy, man, woman and then all of a sudden there were different words with similar pictures – perhaps they were trying to teach me the words for child(ren) and adult (s)? Who knows? Also, Arabic apparently has singular, plural and another form for two of something, which was different and took me a while to comprehend. Maybe I am still misunderstanding it. In Arabic you read/write right to left, which I thought would be confusing but it’s really not that bad, it’s learning the letters that’s problematic for me right now. Some of the lessons are trying to teach you how to read but without teaching you the letters or the alphabet. I find that very confusing but they test your reading and you have to figure out what letter/s to use in words and expressions just by looking at them, which is crazy because I don’t know the letters and there’s no explanation or cheat sheet or anything. I think I need to look around online for some help with learning to read Arabic. Anyway, I am mildly frustrated by the things I don’t understand but I really like learning languages, so am excited. I know I am not going to truly learn Arabic after three months of Rosetta Stone but it will be better than nothing and every little bit helps.

That’s all on the resolutions front. In other news, my father is not well. We’ve been trying to figure out what exactly is going on with him for more than a year now and it’s very frustrating and discouraging. He and my mother are staying with us, while he undergoes more tests. We are trying to stay positive but we are all very worried and it’s hard. We are hoping for a miracle.


  1. As always you are an inspiration to me!
    I am sorry to hear about your father. Please give him and your mother our best wishes. Tell him when he is feeling better, we want him to visit Chicago again-in the summer. No one wants to be here for today's 25 below zero! Love to you and the fam!

  2. I thought my earlier comments would be posted under my email?? Do not want to be mysterious-Susan

  3. Tank you, Sue! No worries - I love comments here. It does look ungodly cold in Chicago right now. Hugs!


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