What’s on my nightstand in Jan?

nightstandWhat am I reading now?

I have checked out Les Miserables for the Classics Bookclub in March. I also have Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton.

Maybe another LM Montgomery book for something fun. I am listening to Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland

What have I read?

I completed the books on my nightstand list from Dec. Here are some of the reviews.

I’ve also read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Plain Secrets by Joe Mackall, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Never Say Diet by Chantal Hobbes,

Then I read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe along with his online essay about Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. My review and thoughts on both works can be found here.

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Mega Memory Month – progress


I only have one more week. My original goal was Psalm 103 and the hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.

I must report that I am woefully behind. I can’t say it’s because I’m lazy, I have gotten up early and worked out and had great quiet times this month. But that’s just it, I was developing those habits and the time just didn’t get spent on memorization. I am pretty happy with my month and I’m still encouraged and motivated by this challenge.

This morning, I sat down and memorized the first stanza of Psalm 103. I will keep working on it as we approach the final check-up on Jan 31. And I will keep working on it and reciting it going forward. This is a good thing to do.

Psalm 103:

Bless the Lord, O My Soul,

and all that is within me,

Bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good,

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

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New Me Week 4

Time flies. This week went really well, considering I missed a few days.

The facts: I missed Monday and Friday, completely. No Egoscue, no cardio, no strength training. Eating was fair but only because I don’t have crap in the house.

I did get all my pieces and parts on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. That’s good, but it isn’t the best part.

The best part is that when I skipped my workout Friday I missed it! I was bummed that I couldn’t fit it in that day and would have to wait until Saturday.

And there’s an even better part. The 3 weekdays that I worked out, I actually got up at 5am! (Well, 5:12 is more like it.)

While browsing blogs early this week I came across a link to an old post about the 5:00 club. It isn’t anything new or ground breaking. It’s just honest and real. Working out in the afternoon/evening is very prone to being displaced because too much life happens then. Either a late meeting gets scheduled, a deadline looms, a friend wants to do dinner. Even if it isn’t unplanned, there is just the fact that fitting in dinner for the family and working out nowhere near a mealtime before bedtime is hard.

So, I decided last week that I would have to work out in the mornings. But doing that means getting up early. It’s winter – that makes it cold and dark, not my favorite environment for getting up early. Last week I was trying to get up at 6am. I skipped Thursday and almost skipped Friday because I pushed the snooze button a few times and tried to talk myself into getting up but then by 6:20 I would be saying “Now I can’t fit in the whole workout before I have to start work, there’s no point in getting up.” See that, I just talked my way out of a workout.

Then it happened again on Monday. That makes a pattern which leads to a habit, the wrong habit. Sooooo, I set my alarm for 5am Tuesday. I had clothes out to change into, and anything else that could possible derail me or discourage me enough to stay in bed I took care of the night before. I hit snooze once, and then I just did it. I got up, worked out, showered, and then sat down at my desk with enough time for a quiet period reading the Bible and praying! Amazing how that works.

I may have annoyed Anthony and Connor a bit this week because by time they finally started moving around, I had been up for 3 hours and in a very productive mood. I wasn’t asking them to be productive, I was just working around the house making productive noises and satisfied sounds were coming from my soul.

There is a downside to this. Getting up at 5am means I am not staying up until 11pm. Anthony is trying to adjust to this new schedule where I shut everything down, prep the house for the next day, and then disappear a bit earlier than before.

He’ll get used to it. It’s the New Me!


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New Me week 3


I forgot to post yesterday. I had a good week.

Activity: I did Egoscue, strength training and some form of cardio 5 days out of 7. Thursday got away from me and I almost missed Friday but when dinner plans were cancelled I squeezed in a workout.

Food: I did fairly well last week. I ate too much Saturday but it wasn’t anything really bad for me.

Progress: If we are talking consistency and doing something even on the days when I don’t want to do anything, I am doing pretty well.

If we are talking changes on the scale or in the way my pants fit – none to report.

With the Egoscue, strength, and cardio – I have been taking an hour each day (plus time to change before, then shower and dress after). And I’m reading that 30 min a day is nice, but to actually make a difference it takes an hour a day. I guess I’m doing the right things, I just have to keep doing them.

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Gettin’ Chunky!


I do realize the humor of having this post follow my New Me Challenge update post. But while I am getting rid of some of the chunk, I am rising to the challenge of chunk in a different area. I have come up with a slightly crazy reading goal for 2009. The 999 Challenge is to read 9 books in 9 areas in 2009. Here is where I have my list and my reviews/progress tracking.

When I found the Feelin’ Chunky challenge I realized a few on the 999 list fit the description so I can do that too!

And you have to admit, the graphics are cool!


I’m going with this option:

*Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? – this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to 3-5 Chunksters over the next ten months.

What’s on my list that qualifies?

Plutarch’s Lives Vol 1 (751 pages of small print)

The Histories by Herodotus (502 pages)

The Oddysey (at 462 pages) [I read The Iliad back on 1/1-2, a definite chunker at 588 pages ]

Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings (827 pages, very small type)

Plus a few Russian novels I hope to get to.

Happy Reading!

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The New Me, week 2


I had a very good week! I did my Egoscue, SparkPeople Bootcamp strength training and cardio (elliptical or yoga) every single day (except Sunday, my day of rest, when I ring quartet handbells and normal handbells covering 2 positions – a bit of a workout right there).

I also ate well, until I spent Sunday evening hanging out with a few friends and got into the peanut brittle after eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

The exciting part is that 3 of those days I even got up early and worked out first thing in the morning (more convenient in a number of ways, but hard to do at 5:45am).

I did NOT do that this morning, but I have time to work something in before the day is over.

Here’s to another good week!

Posted in The New Me Challenge 2009 | 2 Comments

Mega Memory Challenge


I’m joining the MMM of January with Tim Challies’ Scripture Memorization and the Hymn Memorization.

For Tim Challies’ challenge, I should have Psalm 103 memorized by Jan 11. It’s going to take a bit longer since I haven’t started working on it yet.

For the hymn memorization, the January hymn is Praise to the Lord, The Almighty, which is…. a paraphrase of Psalm 103:1-6.

I like it when things come together!

Join us in stretching your mind and working your memory skills!

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Hamlet – The Classics Bookshelf


The January 6 entry for Classics Bookclub is Hamlet. I downloaded this copy from Project Gutenberg to the Kindle to read. I also used this version which has a modern translation to the right. I’ve read Hamlet in school and definitely found it easier to understand after watching a dramatic presentation of it.

The questions recommended by 5 Minutes for Books:

  1. Did you read and/or listen and/or watch Hamlet
  2. Was this your first attempt at this play or at Shakespeare in general (outside the confines of a school assignment?
  3. What did you enjoy or dislike about it?
  4. What themes resonated with you?
  5. Were there any resources that helped you understand this play, or that you’ve used with Shakespeare in the past?
  6. Will you be trying out more Shakespeare in the future?

1. I read Hamlet on the Kindle using a version from the Gutenberg Project and on the computer for a modern translation. I have watched Hamlet before and it is definitely easier to understand when you hear someone saying the lines in a play.

2. Outside of school, I used to read through Shakespeare plays (Hamlet and Macbeth) with my dad. Kind of a strange thing I guess but it’s where I learned to read out loud, to read a few words ahead, etc. Beyond that, I don’t spend much time with Shakespeare plays.

3. My issue with Shakespeare has always been that the pace seemed really slow, lots of words without always having a purpose. I understand that Polonius uses a lot of words because he is a windbag. But some of the interactions seemed to take too long to get to the point. Makes me wonder if Shakespeare was paid by the word or the minute.

4. I can understand Hamlet being very distraught by his mother’s actions. Then learning that his uncle and mother were unfaithful (he has to start wondering if his mother was involved in the murder as well) and not trusting himself to act normally now that he knows this.

In Act III Scene 3 where Claudius has his soliloquy just before he kneels to pray, eNotes translates this line “May one be pardon’d and retain the offence?” like this “May one be forgiven a sin and still hold on to its benefits?” I find that an interesting line and can relate to it. He is now regretting the action (because of conscience or because he’s about to be caught and afraid of Hamlet?) but doesn’t want to give up the good things he has gotten (the very things for which he committed the sin). The King discusses our struggle to let go our petty pleasures and Hamlet discusses our eternal consequences.

The plot has obviously been used before and after. The one that kept coming to mind while I was reading this play was Lord of the Fire Lands: A Tale of the King’s Blades by Dave Duncan.

I also kept seeing Anne of Green Gables floating along as Ophelia and then sinking and clinging to the bridge until Gilbert rescues her (to her great shame).

5. I used a few resources. The version I read which included a commentary by George MacDonald, his footnotes and act summaries helped with unfamiliar words and to remember to keep up with the story and see character development. The modern translation at eNotes was very helpful. I also used the Wikipedia page that gave a plot summary and discussed some of the history of the play. I read the Hamlet story in Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb (brother and sister). The video guides at the eNotes website were a great overview. George MacDonald had a deeper understanding of the characters.

6. This seemed labor intensive, but I got a lot from the George MacDonald commentary and the Charles and Mary Lamb story. I would like to read more Shakespeare plays in the future.

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The New Me – Jan 5, 2009

This is my first update.

I’ll use this to catch up from December 15.

My goals: Egoscue 6 days a week; yoga or other exercise 4 or 5 days a week; no white powders in my diet.

Stats for week of Dec 15-21

  • Egoscue – 5 days
  • Yoga – 3 days
  • Diet – let’s not talk about that right now

Stats for week of Dec 22-28

  • Egoscue – 6 days!
  • Yoga – 4 days
  • Diet – we still aren’t talking about that, it’s Christmas week!

Stats for week of Dec 29-Jan 4

  • Egoscue – 7 days!!
  • Yoga or other cardio – 6 days
  • Diet – Let’s jump to Jan 1 – I’ve done pretty well in 2009!

I weighed myself on Jan 2, 139.5 lbs. I would prefer being between 125 and 130, but mainly I just want the waist to look better.

Posted in The New Me Challenge 2009 | 3 Comments

LM Montgomery – Pat of Silver Bush

I finished Pat of Silver Bush today. As expected, I cried a few times. It was so nice to be back on PEI. I loved Judy with her ould country speech, her many stories, and her love for Pat. The book is about a 7 year old girl living on Prince Edward Island. I have a friend with a 6 year old so I can easily see the thoughts and actions as described. Pat loves widely and deeply. Which means that change is dreaded, but must be faced as a fact of life. This book shows 11 years of Pat’s loves and growth through changes. I enjoyed the descriptions of her emotions, her surroundings, and how she faced each change. I am eager to read Mistress Pat now. I hope she and Jingle end up together.

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