Some days you are the windshield 

Today, however, I was the bug. I do have a crane and a picture for today, but because I am posting this from my phone, and I’m too lazy to figure out how to embed the picture off Flickr this way, I will just have to update with images later. 

I remember a few years ago when I was lamenting my inability to reach my own goals, a friend told me that whenever you set a goal, the Universe starts asking if you are really sure. The challenges we set for ourselves wouldn’t be called challenges if they were easy, I suppose, but somehow those little adages don’t mean much when you are feeling squashed at the end of a long day. 

Thank goodness every day is a whole new day. I’m going to try to get in line early for the windshield jobs tomorrow.

Peace and love, friends.

Ch-ch-ch-choices

84-85

Cranes 84-85 of 1000 for 2016.

I folded these cranes at an Asian restaurant while waiting for my food to arrive. I had the choice to go to dinner or complete my origami/photo project for the day, so I decided to do both, of course. I am a person who enjoys a challenge, and one of life’s biggest frustrations has been that it is so dang difficult to complete more than one challenge at a time and to also do a job and have a life. If I succeed in an exercise challenge, my creative challenges usually suffer. If I succeed in a creative challenge, my exercise habits tend to take a nosedive. There’s only so much time in a day.

Right now I’m trying to do it all. Today, I went to work from 7:30-3:00. Went to the gym from 3:00-4:00. Came home, walked the dog, fed the cats, and went out again to have dinner with a friend. I took my photograph for the day at the restaurant. I have not done any of the photo challenges from the groups I’ve signed up for. I just took a photograph to count for my photo-a-day. Ultimately, that’s all I’ve promised to absolutely get done on a daily basis. I’m also still 500 steps short of my goal of 12,000 steps for the day, but I have totally knocked out the minimum requirement of 10,000 steps. Maybe I will attempt to walk around my apartment for a little while to get in those last 500, or maybe I will admit fatigue and go to bed. It’s good to have choices.

I know from past experience that I cannot do it all. I also know that I will always want to do it all. Today, I’ve basically managed to cover a variety of objectives, but that’s because I didn’t have to spend another five hours working on work after I came home. I will reach a point when I will have no other choice but to keep working on work after work. We will see what happens to all of my personal challenges then.

For now, some would say I’d be better off pacing myself, but I say you’re not really achieving until you are overachieving. Hence, my goal of 12,000 steps a day instead of 10,000. Hence, my feeling of failure in having taken only one photograph today for my photo-a-day project.

But you know what? I had a good day today. I enjoyed the whole day all day, and I got stuff done too.

Sure, I will crash and burn from pushing myself in too many directions before this is over, but burned is nowhere I’ve never been before. It will be okay.

And until then, it’s good to have choices, and it’s good to have those days when you enjoy life and meet every goal at the most minimal possible level.

Have fun, kids. Catch you later. I’m off to walk and sleep now.

In which comfort becomes the priority

83

Crane 83.

This is a student made Huck Finn raft. It has been left behind from someone’s presentation in a literature class. The bird sitting on it was made from a Pride and Prejudice calendar. I’m not sure what Elizabeth Bennet is doing hanging out with Huck, but there you go.

Cranes 81-82.

81-82

This is a big wood carving of an eagle that sits in our English Department office. You can see I didn’t venture out very far to take pictures today. It was a wet and nasty day.

It is now 5:00. I’m at home with my dog in my lap. I have eaten a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I have done my homework for tomorrow. I have posted my pictures for my daily photo challenge. I have a goal of being in my pajamas and underneath a blanket by no later than 5:30. I imagine the dog will still be cuddled up with me.

Lucy Peanut and I had a rough day today. She was attacked by a dog toy. She had torn it apart, and it fought back. She got it stuck in her mouth with string she had pulled loose getting caught in her teeth and twisting her tongue up. She squealed like the Big Bad Wolf was after her. I had to cut the toy away from her mouth with scissors to even be able to get at the string caught in mouth. That was a scary moment for her and for me, but we managed to free her finally, and she is not injured. She is just hurt that her toy would do her that way. She and I have needed some cuddles.

I’ve had a lot of goals lately, and one of them is exercise. I got my exercise in the same way I got my photos in today–by knocking it out as quickly and efficiently as possible. I went to the school gym and got on a treadmill before I came home. You might think that a person with goals would feel bad about making plans to crash and cuddle by 5:30, but this is not so. Today, comfort is the priority. Comfort food. Comfy clothes. Cuddles. We must have our priorities.

I’m a firm believer that one of most important aspects of accomplishment is managing stress. You are more likely to lose weight on a diet if you are not stressed out and if you are getting enough rest. You are more likely to get your work done if you are not feeling stressed. You are more likely to remember not to be a jerk to the people around you if you are taking enough comfort time.

Lucy Peanut is fine now, and she doesn’t seem to be too terribly traumatized by this morning’s horror, but she is being clingy, and she is crying whenever I set her down. She and I are about to put on our comfy clothes and have a calm night in.

Peace and love, friends. If a wad of loose string ever attacks your mouth, please remember to remain calm and stay as still as possible. Fighting just makes it worse.

I don’t think so, said the little dog to the sullen cat

Don't box me in

My dog challenge prompt and my regular photo challenge prompt were essentially the same today: “in a box” and “box.” I tried to make Lucy Peanut sit in a hat box while I took her picture, but she refused to do it. She said bad words to me.

Stella Calico could not bring herself to care.

Stella Calico does not care what you think.

Even the cranes did not get excited.

78-80

Lucy Peanut gave me the stink eye.

Stink Eye

There was no dog in a hat box tonight.

The end.

All hail the power of peer pressure

Feeling Faded

Lucy Peanut is tuckered out, and I can’t say I blame her. She burrowed into a blanket on the couch to take a nap this evening, and I tried to get her up to play so that I could take a more active picture of her, but she just kept going right back to her cozy spot. It’s been that kind of day. Lucy Peanut and I don’t care much for the cold. Even Jack Cat elected to spend most of the day indoors. Winter is rough on the children of summer.

I wanted to be like Lucy Peanut today and burrow in for the day. I wanted to read and nap and basically just spend the day recharging for the coming week. I forced myself to venture out as far as the school gym this morning, however, because I was feeling the peer pressure. I accepted a weekend challenge on Fitbit, and since this was the first of these challenges I’ve ever participated in, I didn’t want to be that one person who only logged 200 steps for the whole weekend because I whiled away my days off on the couch. I ended up only staying on the couch half the day today, and I paid my dues on the treadmill first.

This is why I consider the Fitbit a necessity. I’m a whole lot lazier when I don’t feel judged.

Tomorrow will be a bigger challenge as the school gym will be closed, and it will likely still be too cold outside to make for enjoyable outdoor exercise. I have a challenge to live up to, though, so I have at least some chance of figuring this out.

I will let you know how it goes. Until then, here are my cranes for the day.

72-74 of 1000.

72-74

Sitting on top of the world

69-71

Cranes 69-71 of 1000 for 2016.

These cranes were made with a Bible verse calendar. The following verses were used:

1 Corinthians 14:33

“For God is not a God if disorder but of peace–as in all congregations of the Lord’s people.”

2 Corinthians 4:18

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Deuteronomy 1:11

“May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!”

The queue for happiness

64-68

Cranes 64-68 of 1000 for 2016.

My photo challenge today was “all in a row.” I made five cranes instead of three today to make up for the fact that I only made one yesterday and to give a little boost to the concept of lining up. I went to the extra effort there, but I was feeling rushed over the photo. I was trying to do a job today. I made the cranes while reading course materials. I had to take a break from working to take the picture. That’s just to say I was unhappy with the results on the photo, so I went looking for a quote to slap on the image in order to pretty up the fact that I didn’t like the photo. Sometimes you just have to cover up a lackluster job with pretty words.

I like these words, though. I’m glad I went out in search of them. I feel like I’m in a curve where I can’t see where the queue I’m standing in is headed. I guess I needed these words today.

Peace and love, friends. This is all I have today.

In which habit is who you are

Jack Cat says oh no you didn't.

Jack Cat says “oh no you didn’t” to Lucy Peanut. That’s his usual line for her.

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that I’ve fallen behind on Lucy Peanut pictures while I’ve posted more Alice and paper crane pictures lately. I decided to make up for that today. Here are a few of my dog challenge shots for this week.

For the prompt, “stepping out.”

Lucy Peanut is stepping out.

For the prompt, “Starts with W.” W is for “welcome, friend.”

W is for Welcome, Friend

For the prompt, “dramatic.” Lucy Peanut is a drama queen, especially when told it is time to go inside.

Drama Queen

I almost didn’t do a paper crane today. I’ve done a few extra along and along, so I’m ahead of schedule, and I didn’t have a chance to fold any at work today. I was busy typing most of the time I was in my office, and while I can do lots of things while I fold origami cranes, I haven’t yet built up the skill to type and fold at the same time.

I’ve had a busy day, and I’m tired. It didn’t seem to really matter whether I got in my cranes or not. While I have determined that I will have to rotate between taking pictures of Lucy Peanut and Alice and my other photo projects, though, the paper cranes are the one thing that I’ve tried to commit to on a daily basis. I have a specific goal in mind for completing 1000 within 1 year, and that can only be done by remaining diligent.

But what’s one day off, right?

I’m sure I will take a few days off this year. I might even take a few weeks off when push comes to shove. It is still only January, though, and I know I won’t finish if I start slacking this early. Besides, meeting a goal like this requires developing the habit of working on it. Just like becoming physically fit or finishing a dissertation requires developing the habit of working on it. That’s the principle of the Fitbit, and it’s why I love my Fitbit so much. It reminds me to make a habit of being more active. When it comes right down to it, your habits are who you are. You can change them and mold them and challenge yourself to become someone else, but while you are doing what you do, that’s who you are.

I want to be a person who finishes what she starts. I want to be a person who takes some time out of each and every day to meditate on peace and goodwill and hope and prayers for others. I want to be a person who makes paper cranes.

I’ve been trying to average three cranes per day. I did not meet that goal today, but I did sit down and make one crane after deciding I didn’t feel like it and then deciding that wasn’t much of an excuse. As always, once I just got started, I found my groove and got it done.

I present to you crane #63, a delicate and humble lady.

63

No matter where you go, there you are

No matter where

Did Confucius really say this? No matter where you go, there you are. The Internet says that he did, so it must be true.

The concept is certainly true regardless of whether the attribution is legit. I sure seem to drag myself around wherever I go.

My latest thing has been an obsession with the idea of desk cycles, those things that fit under a desk and allow a person to get in 8 full hours of exercise a day while holding down a full-time job. I’ve been getting very little exercise lately, so when I heard about these puppies, I knew I had to have one.

I read reviews and searched around. I narrowed my preferences down to two: Desk Cycle and Cubii. Of course, I really wanted the Cubii because it is the most expensive, but I was willing to settle for the Desk Cycle because it got good reviews and looked pretty slick as well.

I ended up purchasing a cheaper variety to test out the concept, the Mini Bike. It is very like me to remain obsessed with something until I make a potentially ill-advised purchase. It is not all that much like me to go the cheapest route, but this is January, and that’s a long month for teachers.

I used this for the first time today, and it wasn’t terrible, but I did learn that I’m too tall for this to really work as planned. I think these devices are designed for short people. I’m really only average height, but my legs are a little too long. I tried this out under my desk, and my knees bumped. I moved it out from under my desk, though, and it worked just fine. The disappointment, of course, is that this minor adjustment considerably reduces the amount of time I can spend using it during the day. I have to at least mostly face my desk to do the larger portion of my work. The eight-hour daily exercise marathon is out.

I did use it for 5-10 minutes at a time about 4 times today. I didn’t record exactly how much time I logged in, but even if it was only 20 minutes, that’s 20 minutes more than I would have exercised otherwise. I was also able to do other things while using it. I read a couple of articles on my phone while cycling, and I made a few notes for myself about a project.

Because I was wearing a Fitbit inside my shoe while I used the mini bike, I logged in a bunch of steps and met my step goal before I came home from work. This might be slightly cheating since the cycling didn’t take much effort, but I will take my step credits where I can get them. I don’t think this is a total cheat. I can feel that my leg muscles have been used today.

You can adjust the tension on the mini bike, but that feature doesn’t seem to work quite as smoothly as one might desire. I believe that would be one major difference in purchasing a higher end brand. Now that I’ve purchased this one, though, I’m going to make myself use it consistently for at least a whole semester before I allow myself to believe I have earned a higher end version.

If you want something that is gym quality, this cheapo option is not for you. If you just need something functional that will do the job and not completely suck, you should go for it. The ride is fairly smooth. The assembly is easy. It only weighs ten pounds, so when you bang your knees, all you have to do is pick it up and move it somewhere else.

I’d say this is a good option for using in front of the TV or in a home office. With a laptop stand holding a computer up higher than at normal desk level, a tall person might even be able to use it while working.

This will not be my only exercise. I also plan to jog in place, take extra trips up and down staircases at work, make extra trips back and forth to my office when I forget things I need, and jump to lots of conclusions. It’s possible that I might leave my house from time to time to go to an exercise class, but that would require more motivation than I’ve worked up to in one day of mini-biking. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Meanwhile, I’ll just show you my cranes for the day.

#62

62

#60-#61

60-61

My photo prompt today was “on the page.” The book shown here is Pride and Prejudice. The cranes are folded from a Pride and Prejudice calendar. I bought the calendar for the purpose of using it as origami paper, but I had a hard time peeling off the pages today. The calendar has the text of the entire book in it, and I felt like I was violating a sacred manuscript.