Thursday, December 20, 2012


Well, this starts our Christmas vacation. I'm at work today, finishing up some stuff. Tomorrow, we head to the 'Nard for the night, dropping the Duck-Monster on the way. Then Saturday, we head out to Colorado Springs, via Interstate 40. We decided the drive through the Rockies just wasn't worth the risk. We'll try to get to Albuquerque on Sat (but there are places we can stop if we can't) and then on Sunday, we'll be in Colorado Springs. This adds one more state to the list of states we visited this year: New Mexico. And, if we have time on the way back, we'll stop at the Grand Canyon, a place my husband has never seen! Here's to the end of the year, folks! I hope 2013 is prosperous and healthy for you all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One ugly night

Last night, as we were driving home, we drove over a cat that had been hit by a car. I saw his little body and I lost it, absolutely and totally. We live in a nice neighborhood, so I knew it was someone's pet, and I was just so upset. I got into our apartment and absolutely bawled. Alex went out the door and checked to see if the cat had a collar. It did. He so graciously, and so amazingly, went to the house and told the owners their cat had been hit by a car. It was an older woman and maybe her adult son and the cat's name was Rafiki. He had just been home, and had gone out. I am sure he had just been hit when we found him. His skull was crushed so we think it was a quick way to go. The family was really upset, and Alex went with the son to go get the cat and bring it home. He tried to comfort the woman, but she was understandably upset. When Alex came home and told me this, I just felt so blessed to have this wonderful man in my life. He kept saying that he would want to know if one of our pets had been killed. I agreed with him, but obviously couldn't pull it together to go notify the family with him. Instead, I stayed home and hugged my kitties and was so thankful they were there and still alive. I am putting a card in the mail to the family today. I can honestly say I've lost a bit of faith in humanity today. There is someone out there who hit a collared cat and couldn't be bothered to notify the family of its death. How heartless can you be?

I realize I'm on an emotional hair trigger because of all the events of the past few days. I'm just looking for a little bit of light out there. I hope this post will make someone go home and hug their pet or their kid or their family just a little bit tighter. It's a rough world out there.

Ornament Tuesday

Well, folks, it's almost Christmas. I've got just a few more posts before the big day, and I thought I would focus this one on Ornaments. One of my favorite things about Christmas is the tree and the ornaments. Every year, we pull out the ornaments and talk about the oldest ones, or the newest ones, or the ones that came from memorable Christmases. Here are a smattering of them:

The preceding four are all glass ornaments from the 1940s, likely during World War II. The connectors (save for one) are actually paper, and the glass is hand-painted. These would have been purchased somewhere around Windber, PA, and have hung on my Mom's Christmas tree all her life. I love these since they are so simple, yet so pretty. 

 This rat ornament was my Uncle Raymie's. He was my Mom's brother and I never met him. He died in 1963. I think this ornament was sent to him by my Grandma's friend, Jane Golby. Jane often sent interesting gifts to the family, and she sent us gifts even until I was a kid. I have very little connection to Uncle Raymie, and I wish I could have met him. Being able to touch and hold ornaments that were his is really meaningful to me. 

 This ornament was my Mom's when she was a kid. I think this was also given to her by Jane Golby, and I am not sure if this was something Jane would have made herself (or someone close to her made). The ornament is hand painted wood, and I just love it. It's so neat to have things on your tree that have a history to them.

This is the angel that sits on top of my Mom's tree. It's been the angel on top of the tree for as long as I can remember. My Mom made it either before I was born or when I was very little. I cannot imagine anything else being on top of the tree, other than this angel. I have never purchased tree toppers for myself because I just can't imagine anything else peering down on me. I love this angel for a number of reasons. One, it was made by my Mom's own hands. Two, it has always been part of my life. And three, I love the idea of angels. I hope we all have one or two looking down on us. And four, it reminds me to appreciate my blessings, whether they are from angels, or the living.

This is the tree itself. Ornaments much? Alex thinks it might collapse under all the weight of the ornaments. However, to me, each one means something. I love it this way and I think it's just perfect. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012


I'm mourning with the rest of the world over the horrible events that occurred last Friday. Obviously, my logical brain looks for things that can be done immediately. In no particular order, these are the thoughts I have had:
  • I understand the gut reaction for gun control and I feel it too. I'm just not sure that it will help. While making guns more difficult to purchase is one way around it, I would say that there are never foolproof ways to stop massacres from occurring. Education can help (requiring gun safety classes yearly) perhaps? Restricting the sale of magazines containing large numbers of bullets? Restricting the sale of more destructive bullets? Getting rid of semi-automatic weapons?
  • Would a single payer healthcare system help in cases of extreme mental health crises? Do we have "preventative" mental health? Are we able to identify what kinds of psychoses these individuals have? Are there treatments available?
  • Why are they always young men? Is there something about the male brain or the male "system" that makes them more likely to snap and cause such massive destruction?
  • Does the media play a role in this? Their over the top coverage style (interviewing 3rd graders, for chrissakes - how is that morally right?). The sensationalism. It makes my stomach turn, but I read it too. I desperately check the news for any developments. 
  • Is isolation of a child really the answer? Should home-schooling be allowed? I feel like one defense we have against people doing massively anti-social things is to tie them to a community that they care about. I know that might not be the best answer in the long run because it's really high risk, but isolation for humans can be ridiculously destructive.
  • Another gut reaction for these massacres is to add more armed people to areas. Several schools in W. PA have asked for armed police officers to be stationed at schools. This is another thing I'm really uncomfortable with. It feels like a military state, and the more distractions we add to schools, the worse off students are. 
  • In Philadelphia, gun homicides are really common. They often take innocent lives, especially when bullets are sprayed out of a car, or into a neighborhood. There is an exorbitant number of murders that occur in Philly alone. When I lived there, it exceeded one a day (greater than 365/year), and I think it still hovers around that number. Guns in cities in general are bad. Too many people, too high a population to ensure everyone's safety. And while some citizens of Philly were outraged at the violence in their neighborhoods, most often nothing was done to combat it. Instead, the police took a "stop and frisk" approach to any young black man on the street. This leads to further and further distrust of authorities, and as a consequence,  a "don't speak" attitude. Meaning, people would never tell authorities who was responsible for a murder, even if it was widely known. This also led to "vigilante justice", where neighborhoods would get together and go after criminals and perform their own justice (usually beating the shit out of someone). I hear everyone being outraged at the death of innocent children in CT, and of course, I am outraged too. However, this violence has existed for a long time in our biggest cities, but the difference is poverty and race, right? (I understand there is also an element of targeting children in this latest shooting, but often, like in CO and AZ, shooting is just random). The victims are largely white and affluent. Is this a race thing, too? Do we listen more closely when white, affluent children are killed? Does the media pay attention more? I am sure there have been 20 children killed by gun violence in Philly this year. Why are we not outraged about that? Are we allowed to be outraged over only certain acts of violence?
  • I keep trying to understand why. Why did this happen? Why children? Why a school? There must be some logic in it all, right? Alex keeps reminding me that we can't rationalize the insane. I am having a hard time with this.
  • The only rational, logical thing I can about this whole thing is to hug my friends and family tighter. To tell my husband I love him more and more every day. To give my mom an extra hug when I see her. The only thing I can do is love. Love more and more, deeper and deeper. Love unconditionally and love with acceptance. All of these things will be my focus this holiday. Not the violence. Not the horror. The love. The love and the peace and knowing that I've told my family over and over again, ad nauseum. I love you. So, if ever my family and friends are taken from me, they know.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

That's the diagnosis from the doctor. I don't have any vitamin deficiency, and my thyroid is fine and my blood sugar is normal. She doesn't think it's Rheumatoid Arthritis, which was a big concern of mine. Just regular, old Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I have had removable splints on both my hands for a week now, and I'm awaiting a couple tests from the Neurologist to make sure I've not done any permanent damage. I'm hopeful I haven't. The splints make writing and typing difficult, so please forgive any typos in my blog from now on :)
I'm pretty disappointed in this diagnosis, I have to be honest. I think I often take my body and all its parts for granted. They often do a lot of work without my knowledge. However, as I get older, I can start to see small failings, sometimes I get out of breath, I can't run as well as I used to, etc. And my hands. My hands are my life and my work. I can't let them not work, so I have to take care of them. And I need to take better care of my body. I'm starting to appreciate the goal I set of 30 mins of activity every day. It's so important to take care of your body,  its the only one I've got!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Your Monday Gift Guide

Do you have a wife or girlfriend who is hard to shop for? I'm always told that I'm super hard to shop for (which I don't really understand, but....) so I thought I would write a little gift guide for those of you who are lost! Here are some ideas (some of these are kinda expensive, others are not too bad):

1) A Massage: Is your significant other constantly running around, chasing kids, keeping the house in order and just basically being awesome? Get her a gift card for a massage (or a mani/pedi, or something pampering and luxurious). Bonus points if you send her to a nice spa (but a regular salon is quite lovely as well) where she can sit and relax, and perhaps hang out at a pool or a jacuzzi. Whatever you do, encourage your significant other to have an afternoon to herself, and make sure you do a few things so she can enjoy said afternoon (can you do the grocery shopping? take the kids out to the park? have dinner on the table (even if it's take out) when she gets home?)

2) A hotel room (for one): I know this might be counter-intuitive, but sometimes, us women just want to get away from it all. We take so much time out of our day to take care of other people, that we often have little time left for ourselves. If you're like me, I enjoy reading and watching terrible movies, but when do I ever get to do these things? Other times, I just like to sit and journal, or focus on myself (like hit the gym or go for a long walk). When I was a kid, my cousin, A, was given a hotel room on the beach in Santa Barbara (her kids were little at the time). She said she read and watched the ocean and just recharged. Her husband took the kids, and gave her time, which is such a precious thing. I realize this might be a bit out of reach, financially, for a lot of people. However, travel and hotel rooms become super cheap after the holidays, so you might be able to find some deals. Also, last minute deals are great on

3) Date night (you do all the work): Like I said, us women find ourselves taking care of everyone but ourselves. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is try to find movie times, make reservations for dinner, or plan an outing. It can be exhausting after a long day of work. What can you do about this? Make a plan and pamper her! Tell her you want to take her out on Friday night, and make all the plans. Make the reservations, call the baby-sitter, figure out the movie times. Smuggle in the Cokes or her favorite candies (and make sure it's a movie she wants to see!). If this is a little bit too expensive, plan a date night at home, rent a movie she wants to see, or make a pizza and have it ready when she gets home.

4) Personalized Something: Does your significant other need a nice frame (with a picture in it) for her desk at work? Does she need a good notebook or a new keychain? Make it personalized (with her initials, or even just something like "Love, CD". Can you take the kids out and get a great pic of them? What about her parents, or a pic of her with you or her good friends? Trust me, women LOVE pictures. Can you have the kids draw her something and frame it (bonus if it's a standard size frame where she can keep replacing the drawing with their latest creation)? What about a pic of you alone, or a pic of you with the kids? Trust me, her heart with melt!

5) Something she wants to do: Has she been talking about trying skydiving? Cooking class? Glass blowing? Running? Get her a class or a couple sessions with a personal trainer. Does she need a new suit? Nordstrom's and Macy's have personal shoppers (and I think they're free). Give a gift card and an appointment. Check places like Groupon or Living Social for deals on cooking classes or glass blowing (heck, I even saw one on beekeeping). Buy some seeds from a catalog and get her some gardening accessories. How about a music lesson? A singing one? Trust me, she will love this one too!

6) Things you cannot fail with, but are somewhat impersonal: Look, if all else fails and none of these things sound right, then here are things you just can't go wrong with. Jewelry: a pair of small diamond earrings are always a hit, just make sure they are whatever metal she normally wears (gold or silver). Gift cards: music is always appreciated, so a gift card to itunes is always great. Also, a bookstore, Target, or is always nice too. Bath or body things: you can't really go wrong with bubble bath, smelly lotion or a nice candle, but honestly, these things are kinda boring. If she's into tech-ie stuff, I would look into an iPad or a Nook or Kindle. Or perhaps an iPod or an iPhone. Pajamas (nice ones that she will actually use, not little nighties with feathers all over them) or slippers, warm socks or sweaters are always nice. Just make sure they are the right size.

7)  Things you should not get: I would really shy away from the things that suggest separate gender roles. For example, do not buy her a vacuum cleaner or a blender. Don't buy her bubble bath if she doesn't have a bathtub. Do not get her tools for the project you are working on (unless they go to a project she is also working on), or an espresso machine because you want one.

8) Things about you that you want her to know: Have you always loved Gregorian chants, but you just can't find the time to listen to them? Buy her a CD, and listen to it together. Love Kung-Fu, but never told her? Get some movies and popcorn and plan a night in. Have a fascination with history? Start putting your family history together on (they have gift memberships). Get some tickets to a local museum, or plan a night out at a local show. Love hiking? Get her some good boots and plan an easy route for the day after Christmas. Try to incorporate your significant other into things you love to do. Maybe, just maybe, she will like it too!

9) Anything you've made: This is a category that's awesome, but often never works out. Most people start the holidays with the biggest of ideas, but often fall behind on hand made projects. Picture books or calendars are always a hit, especially if you hand pick some of your favorite photos together. Do you know how to work leather? Make a keychain. Know how to knit? Make her some mittens or a scarf. Love to cook or bake? Plan an lovely feast, just for her. Truthfully, anything you took the time out of your day to make, she will love, even if it's a little bit tacky.

10) Something you should do, even if you don't have a dime: Tell her how much you love her and appreciate her in your life. Tell her how much you enjoy hanging out with her and that you still want to spend the rest of your life with her. Be a romantic (if you aren't already) and write her a love letter, or pour your heart out into a song or a poem about her. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be from the heart. Those are usually the best things you can do, even if its not for Christmas. Don't forget to tell her how much you love her, in every possible way you can, even if it's a post-it.

Well, folks, I hope I've given you some great ideas for Christmas shopping. Truth is, it's not that hard, it just takes a bit of thinking (and listening!). Happy Shopping! AND Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review Sunday: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I was lucky enough to get this book as a birthday gift from my husband. To say I was excited to read Rowling's first foray into "adult" literature is an understatement. I was thrilled to hear she was writing again and immediately wanted to read this book. The book is about a town, called Pagford (in Great Britain) that is a charming, lovely little place. This book is about ordinary people and ordinary lives, yet is an extraordinary story, if that makes any sense. In Pagford, a man by the name of Barry Fairweather has died suddenly, and he left a big hole in many peoples lives. Many people who do not know each other, who do not interact, and who are quite surprising when you think about it. Essentially, the book follows these people as they try to cope with Barry's absence. Barry was a member of the Pagford Council, so some of this book deals with politics, so I felt it quite fitting to read right after the election. However, it's small time, small town politics, not the big flashy kind we've been bombarded with lately. It also deals with families, parents and children, mothers and fathers. Rowling's ability to develop characters and make even the most despicable person seem interesting is such an amazing ability. Some marriages are falling apart, some are stronger that they have ever been. Some kids are growing up, some kids need to grow up. There is not one protagonist in the whole book (except perhaps Barry himself, who is a largely benevolent presence), every character is quite complex and neither good nor bad. All the characters have flaws, which makes the book quite interesting. It's all very vague, I know, but it was a book I couldn't put down. The characters have stuck in my head, and I was so interested to see what was going on in their lives. I'm actually a little bit sad that the book is done, now! The basic plot is centered around who will fill Barry's spot on the Pagford Council, but, honestly, when you reach the point in the book where the election takes place, you are no longer that interested in who wins or loses. I was much more interested in what was going on with the characters themselves. Altogether, this book is wonderful. Rowling's book is not violent, but it's gritty and a little more "real" than the Harry Potter series. There are some scenes in the book that are quite disturbing, but many that are quite charming. In Rowling's classic way, she has developed a group of people I am more interested in than many of the books I read. And, as far as I can tell, they are quite ordinary and not much "happens". But, the book itself, is quite extraordinary. Read it. You won't regret it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Favorite Holiday Movie

You guys, this year? I am right in the Christmas spirit! I have my decorations up, I have my Christmas cards ordered, and we've started a Christmas list of the gifts we'd like to buy. We've talked about budgeting, and are trying to save some money by keeping presents realistic and reasonable for our budget. And it's just so darn pretty here, it's hard not to be in the Christmas spirit! All the big houses have lights up, and ridiculous decorations, making a walk around the neighborhood just lovely. And here, forthwith, are my favorite Christmas movies of all time. These are the movies I watch every year (sometimes several times!) without fail. Movies always manage to get my in the Christmas spirit, and they almost always cheer me up after a bad day.

5) The Bishop's Wife. This is actually one of my Mom's favorite movies, and it's become one of mine. The basic plot follows a preacher who asks God for money to build a big fancy church. An angel is sent down (Cary Grant!) to help with the prayer, but ends up showing the preacher that there is much more to being a preacher than just having a fancy cathedral. The angel ends up reminding people of the real meanings of Christmas, and it ends up being a lovely, wonderful story. I think what I like most about this movie is that it's old. People act differently, treat each other different. It's a window into another time that I will never experience. Plus, my family has always been a fan of old movies! If you see this one come around on TV, set up the DVR to record it. I think you might like it!

4) Love Actually. OK, you guys know by now that I'm a sappy romantic, so I had to have Love Actually on this list. This is a great ensemble cast movie, and one that I think they try to repeat (think New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day), but they never quite reach the loveliness of the original. The movie follows several relationships, some old, some new, some budding, and all the things that happen leading up to Christmas. The thing that I love about this movie is the characters. They are all so lovable. And it's always weird to see Professor Snape as a regular old married guy :) Of course, there are numerous scenarios that are completely implausible, but that just makes me love it more. Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing Street is also quite the treat. And a couple lovely appearances by Mr. Bean himself caps it all off. This is just a great movie to plop down in front of and have a good laugh!

3) Elf! Of course this movie is on my list! The movie follows Buddy, a boy adopted by an elf in Santa's North Pole. He grows up thinking he's an elf, but then one day sets off to find his real family. He ends up in New York City, living with James Caan and his family. This movie has it all: the city looking it's best at the holidays, a "out of towner" doing all those things you wish you could do but just can't (going through those swinging doors over and over again! YES!), and a family that's falling apart because the Dad is just totally absent. This movie is funny to the core, and I love to watch it over and over again. "Bye Buddy! Hope you find your Dad! Thanks, Mr. Narwhal!" And Zooey is just a delight! Love it over and over again.

2) Miracle on 34th Street. My Grandma loved parades. Every holiday that had a parade, we were watching it. And we always looked forward to the "Big One", Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We got to see NYC, all the balloons, and I was always on the lookout for some of my favorite stars and celebrities! This story follows Mrs. Walker, who is in charge of putting together the parade. When her Santa gets too drunk to be in the parade, she stumbles upon Kris Kringle, an old man who thinks he's Santa Claus. In the meantime, her neighbor, Mr Galley, is trying to woo Mrs Walker. There are some charming scenes with a tiny Natalie Wood and Kris, who tries to blow a bubble with some bubble gum - with that beard! Whoops! Of course, Santa ends up turning doubters into believers, and the movie ends sweetly.

1) Meet me in St. Louis: This is one of my all-time favorite movies. My Grandma loved Judy Garland, and she passed that love on to me. When I was a kid, I loved anything Judy Garland, and we had a great time renting old movies and watching them. This is one of the movies we rented and it means so much to me for so many reasons. Firstly, it takes place in St. Louis in 1904, which is the year my other Grandma was born. Although it's Hollywood, I always use it as a window into what life might have been like back when she was born. The movie follows the Smith family of St. Louis for one year. The World's Fair is about to begin in a few months, and the father of the household gets a job offer in New York City and decides to move the family. Everyone is very upset over the move, as many of the kids are developing relationships, especially Esther (played by Judy Garland), who has begun to date their neighbor, John Truitt. This movie is a musical, so it features a number of great songs, and it was directed by Vincent Minelli (yes, Liza's father - this is how Judy and he met!). His camera direction is some of the most beautiful I've seen, you can just tell how in love with her he is when he shoots her. Judy is also a comedic and acting genius, and she pulls off some wonderful stunts, all the while looking beautiful and nonplussed. Figures. And this movie isn't exactly a Christmas movie, per se, but it includes my absolute favorite Christmas song, "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas", sung by Garland herself. This version is so lovely, so amazing. It always makes my both smile and cry at the same time. This movie does not disappoint, and really showcases how much life has changed in just 100+ years. I love, love, love this movie and I hope you will to!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dec 1

The big picture that I've revised a bit. I'm trying especially hard to focus on the wording of my goals. You will not see a "don't" or a "won't". Instead, I am trying a thought process that will hopefully bring more positive into my life.

Financial: Buy a house someday. Save up enough money for retirement. Save up two months salary in our savings account for emergency use.
Spiritual: Live in and for each moment, appreciate, breathe. Let go of the negative and embrace the positive in each aspect of life. Embrace patience.
Career: Become a professor at a university. Stay on top of experiments and what they mean. Step outside the box more, and embrace change and technology.
Health: Eat well, mostly plants. Drink water. Take my vitamins. Minimize the consumption of processed and fast foods.
Physical: Wake up at 6am. Be strong in my body by regularly exercising 30 minutes each day. Focus on getting my hands better, meaning rest them at intervals, and give them a break when needed.
Organizational: Be organized. What does that even mean? This is something I will need to work on...
Holidays: Enjoy them! Be reasonable with gift purchases, food and drink.
Relationships: Focus on the people in my life and enjoy them. Make it a priority to talk on the phone more often.
New Things: Try something new every week.

Here are my smaller goals for the month of December. Since I am trying to embrace the positive this month, I am going to look at my goals for November, but I am also going to "let them go", so to speak. Some worked and others didn't. I will set different goals this month, and perhaps come back to those goals I did not achieve at a later date.

Financial: This one is a little tough with the holidays. Use cash to purchase all Christmas gifts. Put away $100 in retirement savings (current account). Look into retirement account options at Stanford. Look into a budget and finances tracking program for the computer. I would like to continue bringing my lunch to work most days (this goal worked really well last month! Yay, me!). Also, work on payments on the credit card. Luckily, we have a card with 0% interest until March, so we are focusing on paying this one off by then.

Spiritual: This month, I am going to focus on the positive and practice patience. In order to do this, I am going to embrace a little bit of "self talk" (which I do all the time, anyways - Yup, scientists are weird). When I start to feel negative, I will acknowledge that feeling, and then talk about it with myself. A lot of times, I have negative feelings that are not super helpful, and can actually hinder my progress on a goal. Instead, I will try to acknowledge these feelings, and ask myself what I can do now, or in the future to make this situation better. I will also practice patience, which is a skill I lack most days. When I feel exasperated and ready to blow, I will step away, take some deep breaths and focus on enjoying the moment or the view.

Career: I was able to accomplish a pilot experiment in November, but now I need to analyze my data. This month, I am going to focus on my lab notebook. This is where I record everything I do everyday. I often slack off on this, and this can be really detrimental (as in, how did I do that expt when it worked? Ugh!). So, that will be a main focus for me. Also, I would like to continue with the goal of reading more science in general. I get TOCs delivered to my inbox nearly daily, and I am going to focus on revising the list of TOCs I get, and probably adding more to the list. Once that's done, I will focus on reading those TOCs the day they come.

Health: This month I am focusing on drinking more water, taking my vitamins and cutting out or minimizing processed foods. To do this, I will fill up my water bottle and tea cannister every morning when I get into work. When they get empty, I will make sure I refill them so I always have water with me. I will also purchase another water bottle that I can take with me wherever I go. When I bike to work, I will focus on having a drink or two while I'm riding in as well. My vitamins will be on my bedside and I will take them before bed every night. When I'm traveling, I will make sure to put them in my case and place them bedside wherever I am. The processed food may be a challenge, as we are planning to drive to CO for Christmas, and being on the road is never easy. However, I plan on taking some healthy snacks with us in the car, and I will try to make healthy choices on the road. At work, I will strive to just not have any money for the vending machines, and I will make sure I have some nuts or healthy snacks in my desk drawer. The biggest challenge here might be what to eat when I get home from work. If I have the time, I will try to plan out some menus for dinners during the weeks we are here. This way, knowing what we are going to eat might make things a bit easier.

Physical: Instead of focusing on getting up at a certain time, I am going to focus on going to bed at by 11pm every night. That means, in bed, with the covers on at 11, not heading toward bed. I will also focus on not sitting so much. It's easy to get sucked into computer or scope work, but it's not good to sit for so long. I plan on using timers to help remind me to get up and move around, even if it's just walking around the room for a minute. I will focus on 30 minutes of exercise every day, even if that just means a walk around the block after dinner. I would like to focus on core strength this month, so I plan on doing some core strength exercises for one minute every day. 

Organizational: I am taking a cure from my good friend Coodence on this one. She suggested a Moleskine notebook (they are really nice looking!) to carry around with me wherever I go. I used to do this, but I found it cumbersome. My "to do" lists tend to be excessive (as in, one 8.5"x11" daily!). However, I do think it's a great idea and one I will return this month. Today, I am heading out to purchase a notebook, where I will write my goals for the month in it, and then try to pare things down to weekly goals (instead of daily ones).

Holidays: I will focus on the beauty of the holiday instead of the "to do" list. I would like to write a gift list and get those things bought (preferably online) by Dec 10th. I also need to make a Xmas card list and have those sent out by Dec. 15. This weekend, I will put up the decorations (no tree this year, though :( ) and I would like to take some time to enjoy the lights and the music associated with this time of year. I will practice patience and try to take the negative out of the holidauy.

Relationships: This month, I will focus on listening. I will put down my phone or my computer. I will also make a priority to call my family twice a week, and to call my in-laws once a week.

New things: I will try something new every week and I will keep track of the new things I try.

Well, there you have it, folks. My goals for December. Let's see how I will do!