Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clip show. And also, week nine.

I've read varying opinions on how long it takes to form a habit -- most seem to come in somewhere between 21 days and eight weeks, like the cable company. As I round into the third month of my year of weekly challenges, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the past eight weeks and see what's become part of the routine.

Week One -- no lame jokes: Yeah, this went the way of the dodo. I discovered that when it comes to what my teenage son thinks of my sense of humor, I just don't care. It's not like I'll ever be cool in his eyes anyway.

Week Two -- exercise every day: okay, I haven't been doing it EVERY day, but I have been getting to the gym and running with AJ and occasionally doing yoga much more frequently. So it's sort of stuck.

Week Three -- decluttering: I'll give myself a B on this one. My dresser top (a different dresser than before, with much less square acreage) has remained pretty tidy, and I've been making a concerted effort to keep the landing strip relatively clear (this is an uphill climb, though.) The bathroom shelves have fared less well, but not too badly. I am finding keeping on top of this pretty rewarding, although it's still difficult to really integrate it into the routine.

Week Four -- vegetarian week: obviously I'm not doing that for the rest of my life, but I have been staying vegetarian through about 70% of lunches and 90% of breakfasts. That's pretty good, I think, considering that probably 95% of my lunches were meat-based before. This is good for two extra reasons: one, it cuts way down on the fast food I consume, because lunch is where I generally ate the most fast food before; and two, I'm saving money by bringing a vegetarian lunch to work more often. So yay for me!

Week Five -- buy nothing: yeah, that didn't take. Obviously I couldn't keep it up forever, so I don't feel too bad about it. I do think that spending most lunch hours at the gym has cut down on my spending somewhat, but I guess I'd have to ask Peter about that because he tracks the spending. Even so I don't feel terribly deprived, and I do feel as though I'm a little more selective in my purchases and am trying to do more with less.

Week Six -- filing the mail. I have done pretty fuckin' well with this. I resurrected the inbox but it is actually an inbox -- only current bills and some tax stuff in there now. And most importantly, as you can see at the top of this entry, the Box of Shame is no longer! Shortly after week six wrapped up I attacked that motherfucker like a howler monkey. Two paper bags of crap and several new file folders later, everything's filed neatly in the cabinet and it's been that way for nearly three weeks now. I'm going through the mail every day, tossing the unnecessary crap and filing the necessary crap right away, and since it only takes a literal minute, it's been easy to fold into the routine. I'm motivated to keep this one going.

Week Seven -- eat breakfast. I am batting a thousand here since that week ended.  It does take a little more morning effort but I am learning ways to simplify and shorten the time I spend on assembling breakfast at home, so I feel like I'm on the right track. Also, I love to eat so it's its own reward.

Week Eight -- to do lists. While this was very productive at the office, I'm still on the fence about this one when it comes to home stuff. On the one hand, it does help me keep track of projects and things that need doing; on the other hand, I get all wrapped up in finishing tasks that aren't necessarily time-critical just because they're on the list. Some perspective might be necessary there...I think I'll keep trying it and seeing if I can find the right balance.

And now...week nine. I have taken a day off to be reflective and also to vacuum, so week nine is time-shifted to start tomorrow. This will be Practice Perfect Hygiene week, aka An Excuse to Get a Mani/Pedi.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to the Kit Kat Club with some friends. It's basically a supper club/drag show. While we were eating, a friend commented that she thought my makeup looked nice. I told her that since I was going to a drag show, I felt I had to bring my A game when it came to makeup. Sad thing is, I was telling the truth. Last thing I need is the Charo impersonator with a spectacular rack and 12" hips to rag on my janky eyebrows and crooked eyeliner. This weekend, we're flying to Texas to visit Peter's family, and since Texas women are like drag queens when it comes to make up, I feel the same way. I need to clean up my act.

This isn't to say I'm all bedraggled all the time -- I clean up okay when I put in the effort. It's just that between the job and the house and the kids, I have pared my daily beauty routine down to its barest essentials -- or what I feel are the barest essentials. My nails are a disaster, with ragged cuticles and scraggly edges that have ruined two pairs of tights in the last week. I won't wear flipflops because homeless guys look at my feet and offer me quarters. So there's definitely room for improvement on that front. I do wear at least some makeup probably six days out of seven, but that's only because I work. And my hair...don't even ask. Most days it's in an indifferent ponytail, even for work. And then there's my loathing for ironing. I have convinced myself that I have a permapress wardrobe, Not really. So, between slapdash makeup, floppy frizzy hair, hobbit feet, and rumpled pants, I'm not exactly cutting a fine figure every day.

And at 34, I should probably start thinking about taking better care of my skin. Mexicans, in my experience, are given to looking somewhat youthful until one day they wake up looking like a battered leather valise, and I guess I'd like to put that day off as long as I can. Right now my skincare routine consists of washing, occasionally apricot scrubbing, and moisturizing with some drugstore moisturizer. I don't know if I'm down for, say, a glycolic peel or anything like that yet, but maybe some more targeted creams...balms...salves...unguents...whatever might fluff out the creases in my forehead.

I'm also haphazard when it comes to dental care. Given that I have had extensive gum surgery and several root canals you'd think that I'd be inclined to floss with my shoelaces if necessary, but no. That 70, 80 seconds is clearly better spent searching for gray hairs or chin hairs or picking at zits lodged inside my wrinkles. And the brushing time is almost certainly less what is necessary.

So this week, I will take the time every day to look like a grown-up: nice hair, nails, clothes, face, and teeth. I will style my hair, carefully apply makeup, iron what needs ironing, pluck what needs plucking, and shave what needs shaving. I will smell nice. I will try not to chip the polish on my nails. And I will stand up straight.

But for now I will lie down straight in the tub.


  1. Battered leather valise cracked me up, and reminds me that my mom and I called people who looked like that "handbags." And if we saw a younger person with a raging tan who was smoking a cigarette, we'd call her a "future handbag of America."

  2. What have you been eating for breakfast? I, too, have been trying to eat breakfast and I usually eat cereal, maybe a yogurt, sometimes a banana and rarely I make myself some eggs.

  3. Lots of oatmeal and greek yogurt, and eggs on the weekends (although this past week was crepes, because I had a bunch of fruit I had to use up before they went bad.) I try to work a serving of fruit in one way or the other, too. Occasionally I'll eat cereal or granola, or if all else has failed, a PB&J.

  4. Oh yeah, oatmeal is what I am really leaving out! Thanks for the reminder. I went for my first run of the season today. Hurt a little but felt good too!