Do One Thing

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to do one thing, deliberately and with intention, that makes my life cleaner, healthier, richer, more organized, and/or happier.  Here’s where I’ll keep track of the things that I do.


1st – Today, the first day of my resolution, was especially productive.  Since I’m only focusing on ONE thing, though, I’ll list for today’s accomplishment the fact that I unpacked, organized, and repacked all the gift wrapping supplies – both holiday and general.

Since Mr. Chili had to get into the linen closet (where the aforementioned supplies are kept) to get to the attic (where the attic access door is) to fix the bathroom fan, all the stuff had to be taken out for him to get the ladder in there.  While he was busy rooting around in the attic, I was busy taking apart the piles and haphazard collections of boxes, bags, tubes of wrapping paper, and ribbons and bows that had been thrown into the closet.  I put all the bags together by occasion (which helped me to see exactly what I had, so I don’t go buying more of things I don’t need), I mated box tops with bottoms, and I threw out all the gnarly bows.  I also folded gift wrap tissue and put it in the box I’ve kept for the purpose, and made sure that the general gift wrap box, where I keep wrapping paper for birthdays and other celebrations, had a pair of scissors and a couple of rolls of tape, so everything’s together.  Then, I took out everything having to do with Christmas and put all that in the basement with the rest of the holiday paraphernalia.  Now, everything I need is where I need it.

2nd –  Today was the day that we took Christmas down.  While Mr. Chili was busy sawing the bottom branches off the tree (so he could get it out the door; it was a big-ass tree), I took a few minutes to clean out a couple of gadget drawers in the kitchen.  Things that I don’t use often but NEED them when I need them – things like the apple corer and the candy thermometer and the cake decorating supplies – went into one of two drawers on the far side of the kitchen.  I managed to purge a bunch of utensils that I never use and set them in a bag to go to Goodwill.  That wasn’t the ONLY thing I did today; in fact, I considered listing “washing the great room floor… by hand” as my accomplishment, but the truth of it is that HAD to be done – after Mr. Chili was done with the tree, the great room was an unmitigated disaster.  I chose the drawers because I didn’t HAVE to do them.

3rd – Today, I went to both the post office and the dry cleaner.  I have no problem getting to the dry cleaner, but for some reason which remains a complete mystery to me, I have a terrible time making it to the post office.  I mean it; shit will sit in my car or on my counter, all boxed up and addressed and ready to go, for literally months (in fact, I think I promised to mail BoBo’s sweater, which he left the last time he visited us, about a year and a half ago).  The dry cleaner got one of Mr. Chili’s shirts and my Hogwart’s dress, and the post office got this ornament that I mailed to BlueMoon (which I also got for myself).  I forgot to mail BoBo’s sweater.  Yes; I am a loser.

4th – I took the stairs.

Understand that I work on the fifth floor of an old textile mill.  The stairs are steep and uneven, and getting to the top always feels like an accomplishment.

It used to be that I ALWAYS had to take the stairs, but in order to be compliant with the ADA, the management installed a passenger elevator last summer.  I’m committed to taking the stairs every day unless I’m toting anything overly heavy or unwieldy (a shipment of books, for example, which, in addition to my lunch and a bag full of other miscellanea I was carrying, kept me from taking the stairs on Tuesday).

5th – I (re)joined Weight Watchers today.

I’d joined the online program a few years ago, but I totally half-assed it and quit after the free trial period.  I’m going to see what I can get done in the next three months; my hope is that I’ll be able to get enough of a feel for it that I can work without the pay-for service and manage my eating and moving habits with one of the zillion free apps available for my phone.  According to most of the tables I’ve seen, I need to lose about 20 pounds to get myself in the “healthy” range for my height.  I’m giving myself plenty of time to get there – I’ll be happy if I’m more than halfway there by the end of the year – and I’m hopeful that committing to a quarter of a year’s worth of WW will help get me started.

6th – I cleaned out and rearranged half of the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom today.  I was sick of pawing through tubes of triple antibiotic and other assorted remedies in the brush drawer, and in the process of moving them to a caddy under the sink, I reorganized.  There’s a box for medications – mostly ibuprofen and cough syrup – and a box for personal care stuff like deodorant and hair gel and perfume, both nicely ordered and easily accessible.  Maybe tomorrow, I’ll tackle the other side.

7th – I went ice skating with my husband this afternoon.  I’ve not been on skates in at least 2 years – and before that, I hadn’t been skating since I was 14.  It wasn’t nearly as graceful or as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be – my brain wanted to spin and jump and flow, but my body wasn’t quite sure how to manage those things – but I didn’t fall down.  I don’t know if I enjoyed myself enough to consider taking the sport up again, but I’m glad I went.

8th – About a month ago, the health club asked me to take on a second yoga class, after the new year, during the hour before the class I’ve been teaching forever.  I wasn’t sure I wanted back-to-back classes, but after the experience of teaching it today (the first day of the new schedule), I’m glad I did.  I left the club this morning feeling energized and strong, and I’m thinking that feeling might be motivation enough for me to resuscitate my personal, at-home practice.  I’m not making any promises, but at the same time, I see no reason I can’t find 45 minutes every couple of days to roll out a mat on my bedroom floor.

9th -I tried a new recipe today.  Well, more of a new way to make an old recipe, but still…  I put together a chicken parmesan with baked chicken (not fried, as is my usual operation for this dish), a light bruschetta topping, and a slice of mozzarella cheese.  I accompanied it with polenta instead of pasta.  The whole thing was yummy and fit within my allowance for Weight Watchers.

10th – Today, I got the double pleasure of doing something for myself while doing something for someone else.  The husband of a former teacher at my school (though one I never got the chance to meet; she left before I arrived) is suffering with a pretty nasty form of cancer (aren’t the all pretty nasty?  Well, regardless; this is one people don’t recover from).  My favorite pizza joint held a “a portion of the purchase price gets donated to your cause” fundraiser yesterday, and I and my family, along with a goodly number of the population of our faculty and a few students, took advantage.  I got a yummy dinner and I sent some money to a young family who desperately needs it.  Double win.

11th – I went to bed early and goofed around on the internet.  I played Words with Friends and wasted way too much time on Pinterest and didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it because, earlier, I’d managed to get through all of my grading (well, all that was handed in at the time).

12th – Today was a snow day and, as a consequence, I never got out of my pajamas.  I took a nap in the middle of the day, got up, took a shower, and got right back into my pjs.  Then, in the late afternoon, I took in a couple of episodes of Justified while giving myself a mini-manicure.

13th – Ah!  Friday the 13th!  Today was the day that I set as the drop-dead date for all the late work my students hadn’t turned in to me yet.  I’m working on getting them used to a no late work policy, and today was their last chance to get everything in.

14th – I bought myself new underwear today.  I’ve discovered a style of bra that I’m fond of, and the last ones I bought are starting to show their age.  Armed with a 30% off coupon from Khol’s, (or is it Kohl’s?), I came away with three new ones.  My girls are safe, secure, and comfy again.

15th – Today was my birthday, and I decided that I wasn’t going to spend too much of my energy worrying about my diet.  I had some popcorn with my movie (Mr. Chili took me to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy while the girls baked me a cake), I had salad and bread and chicken Marsala at Olive Garden, and I had a yummy slice of birthday cake.  I logged it all and found that I didn’t go very much over my allowance for the day, which made it even that much better.

16th – Today was a holiday.  I stayed in bed and read, played Words with Friends, and wasted time on the internet on my iPad and didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

17th – I got a LOT of work done today.  I know that doesn’t seem like a “do one thing” item, but the relief I felt getting to the bottom of a pile of grading I’d been carrying around for a while felt really, really good.

18th – I placed an Amazon order today.  With the gift card that Kizz bought me for my birthday, I bought two e-books: Island Beneath the Sea, which I’d heard a piece about on NPR a while ago and was so intrigued I put a note about it in my phone, and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which I’d read a fantastic review about on Pinterest.  After that, I bought myself the last three of the Griffin and Sabine books, which I plan to use as inspiration for a writing/art project with my freshmen.

19th – I and my family went to dinner at some friends’ house tonight.  Karen made yummy homemade pizza (Punkin helped) while John, who’s just about my equal in lefty idealism, Mr. Chili and I had some really great conversations and the kids (they’ve got a daughter just younger than Bean and a son two years younger than that) tore around the house and yard.  I also enjoyed two glasses of wine, which was indulgent of me.

20th – I engaged in a bit of indulgent nostalgia today and made BBQ chicken nachos, much like those we had in Bermuda, for dinner tonight (AND I stayed within my allowance for the day!).

21st-28th – I got caught up in life and stress and negativity this week, and I skipped doing my One Thing.  So…

29th – Today, I forgave myself for forgetting to do my One Thing.  I figure that being forgiving of myself as good a way as any to get back in the habit of doing something good for me, right?

30th – Today I treated myself to a big mug of hot cocoa and watched some t.v. with my husband.

31st – I met with a student today – my “school daughter,” in fact – who was having a hard time of it.  One of the things we talked about was coping strategies, and she mentioned that she can sometimes keep herself from falling off the proverbial cliff by watching t.v. shows she’s not seen before.  In a fit of inspiration, I bought the entire season of Northern Exposure – partly for her, but mostly for me.  Mr. Chili and I have a nostalgia thing for the show, and I’m looking forward to its arrival on the UPS truck.

February 1st – Today is/was my mother’s birthday (do dead people still have birthdays?).  I spent some time remembering her today, and that felt like a good thing to do.

2nd – Mr. Chili called me and asked me to go skating with him.  I had a quick bit of leftovers for dinner, dropped Punkin off at jazz band and headed to circle the rink with my beloved.  I’m still not sure that skating is something I want to do on a regular basis (there’s some baggage that goes along with the activity for me), but I enjoyed our little date.

3rd – Mr. Chili and I brought a colleague of mine and his lady friend to a party being held by my “work husband,” who celebrated a birthday today.  I enjoyed going out and spending non-work-related time with some of the people I work with, though I kind of wish that more people from the “office” could have come, too.

4th – I stayed in bed very late today and lured Mr. Chili back to bed after his shower.  Yes; that’s exactly what I mean by that…

5th – I took some time after yoga class to do a bit of shopping that had been neglected for a while.  It felt good to restock some staples that I’d been doing without.

6th – I knocked off most of my to-do list today.  Like the shopping I did yesterday, it felt good to get to the bottom of a lot of things I’d been putting off.

7th – Today I got to meet O’Mama for dinner at our favorite Thai place.  Mmmmm!

8th – I went walking today!  I got to the gym an hour early, plugged in my iPhone walking playlist, and made my way around the track until it was time for yoga class.

9th – I was supposed to meet with a neighbor-friend today, but she wasn’t feeling well so we had to reschedule.  Instead, I got some more walking in, brought Punkin’ to a flute recital thingy, and spent some time catching up on my reading while I waited.

10th – I NEEDED Papa Gino’s pizza, so we ordered delivery.  I went a bit over my allowance for the day, but I don’t care.  It had been so long since we’ve ordered from there that we’d fallen out of their computer system, but the pie scratched the itch I had.

11th – Today I did something for someone else, but I feel like I did something for me in the process.  My school daughter had a bit of a meltdown (she’s dealing with some significant depression issues) and she called me asking me to come and be with her.  Her mom and I spent some time talking her back to herself, then I took her home to stay the night at Chez Chili.  It felt really good to be able to fold her into my space like that.

12th – I am in the process of burning our entire CD collection to the computer, and today I made some pretty good headway in that effort.

3 responses to “Do One Thing

  1. timberdawn

    I was scurrying around this evening (6th) trying to figure out my D.O.T. Then it dawned on me that I got up at 3 AM and cleaned and organized my pantry. So, maybe I will learn to give myself credit where credit is due while spiffing up around here. Maybe. Old (bad) habits die hard.

  2. needsatimeout

    I was wondering if you were going to make a list. I haven’t made a list yet but I know I have done things at least I think I have. Today alone I made the weekly dinner menu(hasn’t been done since Thanksgiving), laundry, and grocery shopped. I am going to have to keep reading your list.

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