Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions in July

Better safe than sorry, I always say…herewith my New Year’s Resolutions in July.

Originally I’d planned to blog about last week’s family trip to Colorado. To celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, my in-laws gathered their ‘clan’ for an extended stay at a lodge located a few miles from Rocky Mountain National Park.

My husband, our younger son (Andrew), and I joined the throng of siblings, spouses, grandchildren, assorted other relatives, and one brand-new fiancée (congrats Martha and Niels!)

The pictures illustrating this post are from some glorious hikes my husband and I took. I don’t have the heart to trot out a snowman graphic in July.

So far 2010 has been mixed bag, like most years I suppose. The good, the bad, and the sad all commingling. Perhaps I’m doing this year an injustice by listing resolutions with four months to go.

Perhaps not.

Next year I resolve to:

1. Keep the ‘lifestyle change’ momentum going. I welcomed this year with extra pounds, a foray into full-time freelancing, and total bewilderment at being 50. I can close my eyes and be instantly transported back to 15, the age Andrew turns in a couple weeks. Of course I can’t remember two days ago…. However, thanks to the local YMCA programs complete with wonderful instructors and my decision to let go of the word ‘diet’ and embrace the over-used (in our household) term ‘lifestyle change,’ I’ve dropped a little more than 20 pounds.

I fall off the wagon. A lot. There are probably skid marks on my derriere from so much ‘bouncing.’ But I climb back on because I want to be able to hike well into other decades.

2. Find the focus. For years, I had an index card push-pinned to the bulletin board in my home office with the word ‘FOCUS’ printed on it. I always told my reporting students to find the focus in their stories. The card was to help me remember to find the focus in the stories I was writing at the time with my partner/mother. When we moved two years ago, the card became a casualty of the packing. But I’m seriously thinking of making a new one. I need to find the focus.

3. Remember to do things I like, and remember what it is I like to do. That smacks of the self-absorption I vowed not to fall into when I started blogging. But this is about my not-quite-New Year’s- resolutions. Until last week, it had been close to 20 years since I’d hiked in Western mountains. For the few days we were in Colorado, we took full advantage of being able to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. On that first day of hiking, one whiff of those pines instantly transported me back to the days when I was a ‘new’ faculty wife in Flagstaff, Arizona and joined a hiking group. Our members ranged in age from late 20’s (me) to mid-70’s (amazing former PE teachers who could hike switchbacks around me).

During those years Baby #1 came along and spent a lot of hiking trail time in a backpack, but then we moved cross-country, along came baby #2….demanding jobs, blah blah blah. I’ve always liked to walk but had forgotten just how much I enjoy hiking, truly enjoy it.

So my final ‘resolution’ for the rest of this year, next year, and all the years to come is to remember to enjoy life, embrace the ups and weather the downs, and not stagnate in the dull middle.

To paraphrase the Capra-esque angel Clarence: I really do have a wonderful life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

“Not Quite a List Poem” or “The Dog Days of Blog Posts"

One of the best aspects of having poets for friends is being exposed to many different forms of the genre. List poems especially intrigue me. The poet itemizes something in a cohesive fashion, and the ending is significant.The structure of the words fairly sings. Originally what was going to follow was a list of random thoughts on July, but it wasn’t gonna be in tune.

As an aside, I went to one of those Facebook sites called “I Write Like” that checks what famous writer a person writes like by analyzing word choice and writing style and comparing them to those of famous writers. You paste in a sample of your writing so I ‘pasted’ in the first few paragraphs of my last blog post.

My analysis?

Bram Stoker. Yep, Dracula’s ‘daddy.’ Nuff said. Course my dh points out it’s my old-fashioned style. Tried another piece and got the bard…yes, that BARD…jolly olde England with the emphasis on OLDE.

Pretty much sums up July.

And I did have a pithy (okay, really pathetic) attempt at a list poem that started like this:


Fireworks flying forth, parachutes a dud

Friends gathered, food fine….

But I got sidetracked, which is just as well.

Think I’ll stick to prose and leave the poetry to the experts: the poets.

p.s. I just pasted in the first two graphs of this piece for analysis: H.P. Lovecraft.

The End