Archive for January, 2012

Christmas, New Year and other things

Right, then…

Well, first off:

So, I survived the holidays.  At the risk of being labeled something derogatory, I generally dislike the period between Thanksgiving and New Years.  It’s not so much due to the scratching, biting and hair-pulling that goes on about whether it’s Christmas or a “holiday” or Jesus’ birthday or a Pagan thing or whatever; all that is just a bunch of noise that I tune out.  What I dislike about the holiday season is that dragged behind the boat sensation (a la Bernie Lomax) that goes along with it – shopping, travel, gatherings, constant eating and generally being torn from my normal, vaguely-scheduled life.

By the way – did I mention that I’m an introvert?  That possibly might have something to do with my agita.

Mind you, I’m not so much of a jerk to not realize that these are good problems to have as some folks have nobody to see.  But when one is introverted, the holidays can be a draining experience.  Regardless, it’s over for another year and I’m happy to return to my vaguely-scheduled life.

Normally for Christmas, I head down a day early so I can get a morning of snowboarding in at Sierra Summit (or China Peak or whatever they call it now).  But this year…well, it’s still Fall in California it seems, thus no snow.  So I drove to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite and did a little hiking amongst the big trees, instead.  It was about 60 degrees on December 23.  I’m still blown away by that.

As for Christmas, despite my protests, the family wanted to exchange presents.  My position is that we’re all adults – presents (along with the shopping and spending) are no longer necessary, really.  For that matter, if I want something I can buy it for myself.  But every year I’m met with “You’re such a ‘bah-humbug’!”  So, we exchanged gifts.  With that, I walked away with gift cards from Starbucks and Macy’s – nice, flat and easy to pack.

As for New Years, the last time I remember actually going to a bar to celebrate was in 1999 – after that, I thought it was ridiculous to pay a $20 cover to drink $6 beers.  After that, I did house parties – same drunk, less money.  Now, for the past few years, I’ve been heading to the mountains.  My friends parents  live about 1.5 hours from a ski resort, so what we’ve been doing is spending New Years Eve day and/or New Years Day (depending on schedule) doing snow sports:  Snow shoeing and/or cross-country skiing and/or snowboarding. 

This year, we hiked for the obvious reasons.

The New Years trip has a second Christmas rolled in as that’s when my friends and I exchange gifts.  Her parents – wonderful folks with a nice Midwest mentality – see fit to give me something, which is nice (though unnecessary).  What is uncanny is their ability to get the right things – albeit, sometimes a little offbeat (e.g. A case of San Pellegrino and a stocking filled with Clif Bars and packages of nuts) but still dead-on, useful and wildly appreciated. 

My friends – nothing a change in my eating habits (I’ve gone vegetari-ish) – got me two Moosewood cookbooks.  

I'm just as shocked by this change as anyone...

 Also, appealing to my bent for the outdoors, I got a wonderful calendar: 



It also appeals to my low-grade lechery, which I am not above admitting.  That said, I think I should get points for drooling over this and not the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar (how prole), as I tend to prefer women that can do things other than stand around and look good.

On a totally un-related note (I swear), I had been looking into finding a local gym for workout classes and such.  Not being a fan of 24-hour Fitness (which is 2 miles from my house), I joined Planet Granite – a climbing gym. 

Again, I swear the calendar had nothing to do with this.

Actually, I re-joined – I belonged to PG early in 2010, but had stopped going for reasons I do not quite remember (laziness might have had something to do with it, I think).

As I’ve done a little bit of gym climbing before, this is not entirely new to me.  That said, there’s still a ton for me to learn, so I have signed up for a basic-rock climbing course – the purpose of which is to [hopefully] learn some skills and technique other than my standard brute force method.  The longer term plan is to then follow on with skill building via practice and higher-level courses, leading to doing rock climbing on actual rock. 

You can see how this can lead to whole new destinations and activities, can’t you? (in addition to a-whole-‘nother section of REI to browse).

So now  it’s 2012 – a New Year…or so we say.  Scientifically speaking, there is nothing astronomical (in the literal sense of the word) that occurs on Jan 1 that signifies a new year.  Time is a man-made system used to understand nature; nature itself does not recognize time.  So while I bitch about relatively warm temps and no snow in December and January – the problem is with me (or people in general) expecting nature to follow along with the paper thing on my wall that consists of months, dates and pictures of lovely, lovely athletic women.

But back on point, this is the time when most folks take a look at the shambles that their lives have become and then resolve to fix every last damn thing about it.  Admittedly, I used to engage in such tomfoolery, with mixed results at best.  But in the past few years, I’ve taken a different approach and changed the angle and magnitude a bit.  First off – fewer items on the list of things to fix.  No 27 point documents detailing every little thing that I don’t like about me that I want to fix.  Now:  Five things, max.  Also, I don’t like calling these “resolutions” – there’s something too…I don’t know…Oprah-esque about it, thus I just don’t like the word or the implication.  Instead let’s call it

Things that MIMW2 is Going to Work On in 2012

Yeah. That sings.  Here we go:

1)  Continue on the path that I started in 2011.  This will include meditation, healthier eating and exercise via the 17 thousand million activities that I participate in.

2)  Hike Half Dome.  This was attempted in 2011, but was thwarted by (ironically) the only snow storm to hit the region.

3)  Let myself off the hook more.  This involves both personal and professional flubs – as yes, they happen.  I’ve gotten better at this in the recent years, but there is still improvements to be made.  The important thing that needs to be focused on is the lesson in each failure; beating oneself up incessantly is not going to do an inch of good.

…and that’s it.  See?  Nice and short – nothing too unobtainable.   If I do more than this – great.  If I do less, that’s fine too.

Enough of this.

 Happy New Year.