Review 11 Things for 2011 on 11/11/11

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Last December I wrote about 11 things I going to give up in 2011.

Seems it would be appropriate today to check in on the progress.

1. Cable TV – we still have it and we’re still talking about how we need to get rid of it. Not because we’re watching too much (thanks, Ruby), but because it is an added expense on our new one-income household.

The problem? We have bad internet and research is showing that good internet comes with cable.

Any advice?

2. My Yoga Journal subscription – gone. Haven’t thought about it once until now.

3. Paring down books and clothes.

I have definitely caught the clothes swapping bug. I went shopping in a store once this year. The rest were swaps or hand-me-downs from lovely friends.

Books have been traded, swapped, sold and donated.

Newest challenge? Keeping Ruby’s books corralled and her clothes sorted and passed on once she’s finished with them. Again, the generosity of friends and family with gifts and hand-me-downs and she has quite an extensive wardrobe.

4. Eliminate sugar, dairy and bread for a month.

I did it and NEVER felt better which inspired me to visit the allergists and lo and behold, I am really allergic to dairy. Not in the my-tummy-hurts-way, but in the why is my nose completely stuffed up way.

I have been dairy free since January (mistakes have been made and paid for) and I am happy to report I haven’t suffered the wrath of a respiratory infection, cold or much more than a mild case of the sniffles since.  Seasonable allergies (to every single plant in Sacramento) can finally be treated with regular allergy medicine.

While eating dairy free is a ridiculous pain the in butt, it has made my life world’s better.

5. Cutting out screen time at 8:30 pm.

I did it all during January and I never slept better or felt more refreshed. I kept track of my progress on a Gold Star Chart (like Gretchen Rubin). Simply amazing. I kept that screen time limit all month!

February rolled around and I promptly forgot the chart and the screen time crept right back to bed time. Clearly, this is a work in progress.

6. Clearing out the clutter.

Another work in progress. Jed and I got rid of countless bags of our stuff only to have it replaced with baby stuff. Again, a work in progress. If you know anyone needing baby girl stuff in Sacramento, please send them my way. I will have plenty to pass on.

7. Quit signing up for e-courses and finish 2010’s.

I am still working on 2010’s (a gentle nudge to do so) and only purchased two in 2010. I really liked one (and I still need to finish) and the other was only $12 (totally worth the price).

8. Consistently exercising – making friends with cardio.

2011 has been a good year for exercise. I found my perfect exercise partner and we hit the gym most weekdays during summer break and we’re both exercising (albeit way less) well into the fall.

Cardio is still mind-numbingly boring, however I am trying to make nice with it by walking with Ruby in the pouch and friends by my side.

Want to make a walking date? Leave a comment and let’s set up a date.

9. To stop taking things personally.

It is definitely less of a struggle to do this, but these days I have less opportunity to be criticised. I think. Or I am just too tired and involved with my new kid I stopped caring. Jury is still out.

10. Hire a housecleaning service.

Holy crap! BEST money I’ve ever spent. Plus it turns out the people I know with tidy houses have help keeping it that way. Need a referral? We love Angela, Sally and Elsa over at California Green Clean.

11. We finally became a family.

2011 saw the end of our adoption wait. Ruby is finally home and we couldn’t be happier.

Looking back at the year so far – were you able to let go of what no longer worked in your life? What can you give up going forward?

Clutter, clutter everywhere!

I have a confession to make.  I spend way too much time on my computer. Shocking, I know. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly understood my obsession/addiction to all things web based.

This week as part of our teacher training homework we were asked to do a fast. When I first read the word “fast” I thought Michelle was asking us to go without food for a day. My first thought was that there was no way that was going to happen. Then when I read the assignment a little closer I realized she was asking for us to look for a place in our life where we were experiencing overload and to take a one day break from how we ususally spend our time.

Here’s the assignment:

Shauca and 5th Chakra are both about clearing, clarity, purity. In honor of that, let’s do a one-day fast. Consider what you need to fast on…where do you proliferate, clutter, confuse your life unnecessarily?  Chose one aspect of your life and create the intention to cleanse in that direction.  It may be the simple act of not taking in any stimulant of any sort: tea, coffee, sugar, alcohol, etc.  It may be a cleanse of TV, radio, movies, papers.  It may be a fast of email and phone obsession. You chose the topic and the day. Comments?

 Here are my notes on my day without the internet….

INTENTION: One day fast = no internet 10/18/09. Instead of tweeting, Facebooking, Googling, Yelping and emailing all day I’m going to work on cleaning house, grading papers, lesson planning and reading books. Then I’m going out to dinner with my Jeddy and possibly going to the movies.

 REALITY: Got up at 7:30 and immediately thought I need to check my Twitter and Facebook. Then I remembered my fast and started tidying up and organizing my very unorganized stuff.

First stop: the snack shelf in the kitchen. The plethora of nuts, dried fruits and seeds was unruly and uncontrollable. Enter basket from the laundry room and now it’s all tidy. Just that small step feels like a huge victory against the clutter.

Next stop: the coffee table/couch/otherwise known as my “office”.  I took everything off and from under the coffee table. Holy moly – the treasures found there! Armed with the garbage and recycling bin I made three huge piles of keepers: yoga, adoption and work. Shocking that those piles were huge, given that is all I’m doing these days. I also found a huge pile of shoes, but that’s a whole other post! 

I dusted the living room and realized part of my problem is that my yoga stuff doesn’t have a home other than on and under the coffee table. I took care of that problem by tackling the bookshelf next to the front door. Again armed with the recycling bin, garbage can and my 3 piles I got to work on that. Shocking! Another treasure trove: yoga, adoption and work. More shoes, scarves and jackets too!! 

Now that the bookshelf was cleaned off, I put all my yoga stuff in one place. All my books finally have a home! I searched the house for all of them and now they live on the bookshelf by the front door. I vacuumed underneath the couch and the chair in my “office” and I felt like a new person!

 Work stuff is now organized and returning to work with me Monday morning. Adoption stuff is going with the other adoption stuff. Ahhhhhh…. space!

 It turns out clutter busting is contagious! Jed’s “office” – the dining room table – sits directly across from my office – the couch. His piles of crap were bugging me too. He was inspired to clean it off. Now the “view”  from my office is better too!

 Next stop: my closet.  Underneath all the piles of stuff shoved in there were the last remnants of my last big organization day. It only took about 30 minutes to clear out all the unwanted clothes that I threw in there over the last year. I made Jeddy take them to a green donation box because I am good at getting stuff out of my closet, but not so good at getting them all the way out of the house. Then I put away all my clean laundry from last weekend, made my bed dusted and vacuumed. Another clean, organized room!

 Jeddy, still inspired by my frantic work, washed all the dishes and emptied the dishwasher. I washed down all the surfaces in the kitchen.  Another clean room!

In between all the cleaning, I also graded some exams, filled in scan trons, started grading writing and thinking about report cards and upcoming parent teacher conferences.

At dinner time Jed and I went out and enjoyed conversation. We finished the day by watching two episodes of Dexter. While we were watching I realized how much I’ve been splitting my attention because for once I was watching without my computer sitting on my lap. True confessions! I watch TV while working on my computer – multitasking at its worst!

Admittedly, during every activity I was wondering what was going on with everyone I know. I am so used to knowing what people are doing “right now” that it felt strange being so far removed. I thought many times of all the things I needed (including my mile long to-do list still on my email), but I kept my promise to myself all day and never went online. 

 This fast is exactly what I needed. My physical space was closing in on me and I really felt like I wasn’t doing my part around the house and it showed. I’m now feeling better about that. I’m also feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes only with physical work and the space that comes with getting rid of unnecessary clutter.

In addition to the clearing of my physical space, my mind felt focused and uncluttered for the first time in a long time. I had the time and space to think about what I needed to do and the focus to accomplish a very long list of tasks.

 In doing this assignment I also learned something that I think I already knew. I spend WAAAAAAAYYY too much time online! I’ve decided I’m going to have to set limits on my media time so I can get more done and have this feeling more often.