The 100-day challenge, and more books

Two more books that I am using for reference but can’t really say I’ve read all the way through:

The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts, by Hanne Blank

BIg Yoga, by Meera Patricia Kerr

Somewhere on Making Light someone referred to this post on a 100 day challenge:

The author suggests picking some physical activity or “body practice” and committing to doing it at least every other day for the next 100 days. You are not to look for any particular outcomes other than to experience what it is like to do this thing.

I had already started walking on the treadmill, and I was fairly goal-oriented on that anyway. But I was intrigued, and as I read through the list of things that other people were doing, yoga “sun salutations” caught my eye. Not having done yoga for a great many years, I looked it up and thought, no, I can’t do this. But searching for information on modified yoga poses led me to the book Big Yoga. I have, so far, done a modified sun salute at least every other day since February 1, and I like the sense of moving and stretching. And I no longer need the book to remember the sequence of moves.

And I liked Hanne Blank’s blog enough that I bought her book, too. I like the attitude: it’s about fitness, not necessrily about weight, and don’t let people give you grief about being fat and active.

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Three-book Catch Up

Running behind on writing about the books I’ve read. Here is a trio of very different books.

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, by Cynthia Bourgeault

Reread. Originally recommended on Carl McColman’s anamchara blog, I think. The first time I read it I skimmed through parts. This time I read more thoroughly. It’s one of a half dozen books on prayer and the spiritual life that most speak to me at this point in my journey. There were two points that I found especially helpful this time through. (This is by no means a summary of the main points of the book, just of the ones that I needed to hear right now.) Point one, centering prayer is “purification of the heart” at an unconscious level. It is seeking to be released from hidden agendas, mixed motives, compulsions and aversions in the realms of power/control, affection/esteem, security/survival. I may need to address some of these things on a conscious level, but I don’t necessarily have to. I may also just let them go.  Second point, near the end she mentions that the call to silence is often a call to stop evading and face what you’ve been running from. This rings true. I do a lot of evading.

wild, by Cheryl Strayed

I no longer remember what interested me about this book; I think I read a review. I’ve been on the library’s wait list for some time. Cheryl Strayed, who is also the advice columnist Dear Sugar, took a weeks-long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail trying, in part, to move on from her recent divorce and from the early death of her mother several years previously. I thought she did an excellent job of balancing the internal journey and the external journey. If I’d read it 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago, it might have inspired me to hike the trail. At this point in my life the inspiration is more abstract. It encourages getting out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, and being honest with yourself.

Necessity’s Child, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Autobuy. This most recent entry in the Liaden Universe is a side branch story. I had not intended to read the whole book at once, but I gulped it down anyway. Lee & Miller’s books suck me in and I wanted to know what happened. I did skim some parts of it; there are three viewpoint characters and I found the parts in Syl Vor’s POV more engaging than the other two. Syl Vor’s challenge is to recover from the necessary but damaging experience of living under Plan B, when he learned more than a child should know about danger and the necessity of constant vigilance. I will, at some point, reread the book (their books are high on my comfort read list) and I expect I will reread the other sections with more thoroughness then.  I am, as a long term fan, unable to judge how this book would work as an on-ramp for new readers, but I suspect it would be fine.


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Fitness: Baseline

I’m starting, yet again, a plan for healthy eating and exercise. I don’t really expect this to interest anyone else, so feel free to skip it. It doesn’t interest me very much. People who talk about their diets are boring. And personally, I hate other people telling me about fitness or, worse, “wellness.”  Wellness means it’s all your fault and if you just tried harder you’d be … something. A better human being, maybe. And that perky young things who’ve never been five pounds overweight in their entire lives will tell you what you’re supposed to think and feel as well as what you’re supposed to eat. Bleah.

I started the eating plan yesterday (not calling it a diet). It’s one that worked for me before. Once I got going it wasn’t hard to stick to, and it improved my weight, blood sugar levels, etc. But I dropped off it a little over a year ago and need to climb back on. It’s straightforward: I avoid pretty much all refined carbs (sugar and flour). I love that stuff, but it is addictive to me, and it’s really much easier to give it up altogether than to limit it. I also avoid potatoes and white rice  when I can, but if they slip into an otherwise-healthy meal while I’m eating out, it’s okay. Lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nonfat dairy are all fine. Reasonable amounts of fats – salad dressing, nuts, oil to roast vegetables, etc. – are fine. Reasonable amounts of complex carbs like legumes and whole grains are okay.

Here are the baseline numbers. I hope to look back in some months and see improvement. Weight: 300.5 pounds.Resting heart rate 77. Blood pressure 151/83 (ugh). On the track at the high school walked 1 mile in 24 minutes 27 seconds.

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Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Re-read, because I picked it up while tidying and sank right back into it again.

I am a big fan of Lee & Miller’s Liaden series (and also of Sharon’s solo-written Archer’s Beach series that begins with Carousel Tides).

I don’t suppose Ghost Ship really needs a review. If you’re a Liaden fan, you’ve already read it. If you’re not, don’t start here, although there are multiple other potential starting places.

The things I like about Ghost Ship: It includes Surebleak, and we get to see that planet gradually becoming more functional. It includes Daav yos’Phelium, my favorite character. It shows us Theo Waitley as pilot and as developing her relationship with Clan Korval and its members.

Things I don’t like about Ghost Ship: None, really.

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Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries

Titles: The Square Root of Murder and The Probability of Murder

Author: Ada Madison

I saw the second one of these on the “new paperbacks” shelf in the library and was intrigued enough to find the first one in the mystery section and check them both out.

I sort of read them: read the beginning, skipped to the end to see whodunnit, and skimmed some in between looking for specific bits I wanted to know more about. I’ve probably read as much as I’m going to read. Meh.

It’s not the author’s fault. I used to like light cozy series like this, and I keep expecting I still will, only apparently I don’t any more. If I still liked the subgenre, I would have liked these books, so if you do, give them a try. The main character is intriguing, although she does have a little bit of a “let’s not tell the police about this clue I found” problem. But she’s likeable and intelligent, she has a likeable boyfriend, and I enjoy the setting of a small college and her interactions with students.

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Cold Days

Cold Days, Jim Butcher.

Part of the Dresden Files series; read because they are an auto-buy for me.  Begun in 2012, finished in 2013.

I skipped ahead at the halfway point to read the last couple of chapters, then came back to read through.

I’ve been enjoying these books for years. The series as a whole is picking up momentum; each book is still a satisfying whole, but the connections from book to book are stronger than they used to be. Harry Dresden is stronger than he used to be. An excellent entry in the canon.

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Happy 2013

Entering the twenty-first century a decade or so late, I’m starting a blog now that others have moved on to twitter, etc.

I’m a words kind of person, so it will be a words kind of blog. I’m going to list and perhaps review the books I read, point people at things I find interesting, journal about scripture that resonates for me, maybe even write a little poetry.

I have a single resolution for the new year, which could be expressed in many ways. Be faithful in the small things. Do the next right thing. Vote with my feet. Be a blessing. Follow through. Act.

Thus, when I sat at my computer thinking yet again whether I should start a blog or not … I started one.

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