Friday, November 23, 2012


In June, my *boyfriend and I began a training programs to reach two hundred consecutive sit-ups.  After an initial test (I could do ten; he, twenty-five), we slowly increased the number of sit-ups we attempted according to a very regimented plan.  Week one, day one, I did five sets of 3, 4, 3, 3, and 5 sit-ups, resting for 60 seconds between each set.  Week one, day two, I did 5, 6, 3, 5, and 6.  By the end of the third week, I was doing sets of 17, 20, 14, 14, and 20 push ups.

I'm repeating week 6 (the final week) for the third time.  I'd previously repeated weeks 4 and 5 because I was still struggling quite a bit by the final set, taking frequent rests.  Andrew, on the other hand, has conquered the final test -- two hundred consecutive sit-ups -- many times.  It isn't easy: I sit on his feet, counting, as he pushes through pain and exhaustion to get to 200 before collapsing.

We added another training program in late August, this one to get to one hundred consecutive push ups.  You should have seen me that first day, performing the initial test: I could barely do two push ups.  Week one, day one, I did five sets of 2, 3, 2, 2, and 3 push ups, resting for 60 seconds between each set.  By the end of that first week, 3 push ups weren't a struggle for me.  I'm repeating week 4, now, as its third day requires me to do 16, 18, 13, 13, and 20 push ups, with 120 seconds of rest between sets.  It's hard!  Between sets I curl up in the fetal position on the floor, asking why I put myself through such torture!

But more than reaching a specific goal--200 sit-ups, 100 push ups, 10,000 words, 1 chapter--I'm practicing discipline.  I'm making myself do something I might rather skip or put off to another day.  I'm taking another step or two in that proverbial journey of a thousand miles.  And anyway, my triceps are looking awesome!

* Was boyfriend in June, fiancé in August.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Another Excuse

I've started listing to an audiobook, "The End of Your Life Bookclub," by Will Schwalbe.  It's the author's account of his mother's last two years of life, as she battles pancreatic cancer (caught too late) and the two share and discuss books.  Just as Schwalbe's mom always read the last chapter in a book first, the author starts at the end and then goes back to her diagnosis and the beginning of their bookclub. Reading together helps change them from a sick person and a well person back into a mother and a son.  I've only listened to the first couple chapters, but I already love and am sad for these real people.

I'm a bit tearie, lately, and I mostly blame the season.  I always seem to get a little sad and tearie (you know, not actually crying, but tears hang out in the corners of my eyes) this time of year, even if life is otherwise pretty good.  Sundays I go to my grandma's house, and lately I've been thinking about how lucky I am to have been able to spend this time with her.  Usually it's just me and her--sometimes my brothers are there, sometimes my fiancé comes, sometimes my dad is home--but mostly it's just me and her.  We talk about sports, politics and religion (the latter two subjects, I mostly listen).  In small pieces, she's told me about her childhood and her marriage.  I've come to understand and admire her so much more through these quiet Sunday afternoons where we mostly sit and watch the Reds or Bengals, and she asks me to wait to fold my laundry until after she returns from the bathroom because she likes to see what I've worn throughout the week.  I think about how much this time has meant to me.  And thinking about that makes me cry harder, because I don't know how many more Sundays we'll have together because a) she's ninety, and b) I'm getting married.  It won't make sense for me to go there every week and do laundry as a married woman.  I'll have to find another excuse.

* * *

This evening I had a great meeting with my writing/critique partner.  Not only do I get detailed and helpful feedback on my own work, but tonight I also got to read the start of a new project of hers.  I'm impressed and inspired by her ability to create new stories and characters.  These meetings help me refocus on myself as a writer--most days, lately, I haven't thought of myself as one.  I have to stop waiting for inspiration and just do it.  Push through the tedious hard stuff of fixing my manuscript.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I love my job

A young man came into the library today, soon after we opened, and asked for his card number in order to use one of our computers.  While I was looking up his number, he pumped out a gigantic glob of hand sanitizer (which we keep it on our desk) and smeared it all over his hands.  It was dripping.  He then proceeded to smear the clear goo all over his face as well as the top, sides, and back of his head.

Later, I helped him change his Facebook profile picture.

People are fascinating.