First Quarter Progression for 2013 Goals
At the end of March, we finally experienced enough warming that the snow has begun to melt. This first quarter was not as cold as it would normally be but has produced a lot more snow than has been normal in other years. This resulted in a significant amount of snow blowing at the lake house, fortunately with a new and very proficient snow blower. Five weeks of this three month period were spent traveling in our RV to warmer weather in south eastern California and that was a pleasant break. This also afforded an opportunity to take lots of photographs. It has been a good quarter, for the most part.

Physical wellbeing
I did make an effort to spend as much as fifty minutes a day doing stretching exercises to help reduce the tension in my lower back, to improve core strength, and to improve my overall flexibility. I managed to exercise abou 85% of the days in the quarter. This was not as good as the commitment I made to myself within my goals for the year. However, given that sickness, days spent doing child care, and those days spent driving were my only excuses, I have determined that I got a good start for the year in pursuit of the goal of doing this daily.

Another goal of walking 10,000 steps a day, tempered by stating that I would start slowly and aim for only 3,000 steps per day in January and slowly progressing to the ultimate goal by September, was only partially realized. I managed a walk during about 2/3 of the days in the quarter.

Illness kept me prone for the initial part of January and then I began with a plan to walk 30 minutes per day. As with the stretching, I failed to walk on those days involving illness, child care, or extensive driving. I was ill early in January, drove for many hours each day during the latter part of January and again in the latter part of February, and had both child care responsibilities for about two weeks in March and was ill for part of late March. My walking varied between 30 and 50 minutes when I was able to do so. 

I did buy a FitBit digital step counter in mid February and have used it every day since. I have only achieved 10,000 steps or more in one day, and that was a hiking day where I reached over 12,000 steps. During those days when I do fifty minutes of walking, I reach about 7,500 steps in the day so I now realize that the goal will be a challenge for me to achieve. I’m not sure I want to dedicate more than the 50 minutes to stretching and the fifty minutes to walking in a day.

This is substantially greater activity than I had been in the habit of doing, and I think my body has already realized the benefits. I do want to continue but I’m not sure I will reach for the full goal of 10,000 steps every day. This time has seriously affected my available time for other activities, and I don’t want that consequence.

I was less faithful in using myfitnesspal every day to track what I eat. I estimate that I entered my consumption on less than 50% of the days in the quarter. This is because my eating patterns were such that I knew I was over my daily allowable calorie count and was too discouraged to enter the data. This is a mistake as the process only works successfully if I do this everyday. I am reminding myself of that commitment and will rekindle my energy to do so.

There were two weight changes in the period. I lost weight at the beginning of the quarter because of illness. I ate less. I gained weight as I returned to healthy consumption and did my two additional calorie burning activities – stretching and walking.  I suppose some fat was converting to muscle in that process. Then I began to lose weight again as the combination of watching my consumption and doing the more active routines began to pay off.

I have been active in a Haibun Writer’s Workgroup, producing a series of new additions to the Writing section of my website. I have generated about 16 haibun in this first quarter, well exceeding my monthly quota for haibun.

However, after spending at least two hours each of the first ten days of the quarter working on the revision of my book on the Smart Selling System, no further progress was made. Travels and periods of child care interrupted that habit formation and I haven’t gotten back to a morning routine involving two hours of writing or editing.

No Free Verse emerged, and no work was done on my ‘imagined’ fictional novel. I think about it, but my inner voice keeps telling me that I don’t have a story to tell, so I don’t get started.
The goal was to do at least one serious photo-shoot per month. I have met and exceeded that goal. I did several studio sessions with my friend Florence in her studio in January, photo excursions on about half the days of our vacation in February, and a photo-shoot with friends at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton during March.

In this period, I generated more than a thousand images and have processed all of them in Adobe Lightroom. Although I have retained my tendency to produce a lot of wasted shots, I did get some images that please me, and that have received some ‘ahs’ when shown to others.

At the end of this first quarter, my website is up-to-date with postings of the haibun that I have written in the quarter, and the images that I captured. I managed a revision of the haibun section, regrouping all previous writings into nine categories. All new writings have been inserted into their appropriate sections. Although few people visit my site, I am pleased that it is current, very navigable, and has some interesting material – interesting to me at least.

As mentioned in my end of month one report, my mother had a lumpectomy in January to remove a breast cancer. She has been very resilient and has been in very positive spirits throughout this first quarter. We have been in regular contact, either by my visits or by phone calls and even managed an outing together to Muttarts Conservatory. She spent a weekend out at the lake in March and enjoyed her visit.

We missed time with my grandchild when we were away for the five weeks, but did get some significant chunks of time together in this quarter. She was ill early in January where I got to look after her when she couldn’t go to daycare, she spent several weekends with us at the lake house over weekends, and I had extensive child care opportunity when she was ill again in March and when her mother was away on vacation.

Dianne and I survived our five week trip by motorhome. There were a few moments of tension in the relationship but we fared well because we both liked where we were exploring and that mode of travel. We both wished that the trip could have been longer but also welcomed the return home to our families.

As our travels included a stop in Las Vegas, there were rumours that we might get married while there. However, Dianne only held distain for the idea of getting married in such a glitzy environment and away from family. I tried to suggest that it would be magical to have Elvis singing to us during our ceremony but that argument didn’t prevail with her or her friends. No progress on that goal yet.

My time with Kelly and David was minimal given their and our travels in this quarter. No progress on this goal either.

Dianne and I left in the motor home on January 26th. I was afraid of traveling in the winter, but we fared extremely well until we approached Salt Lake City where we hit a severe snow storm. We survived it and made it to Las Vegas where we met friends and had a good four day visit. This included an excursion to Hoover Dam which we found interesting, and a drive to and hike in the Red Rock Canyon area.

As mentioned in the report at the end of the first month, we did experience some unplanned expenditures on repairs to the motor home – sitting inactive does not treat the unit well. I also had a major problem with my cell phone usage exceeding the limits of my International Roaming package to the extent of an additional charge of $990. Fortunately, Telus waived those charges upon our return home because they understood the accident that had caused the problem.

We traveled to Palm Springs, Yuma, Salton Sea, Imperial Beach, San Diego, Morgan Hill, Monterey, San Francisco, Eureka, in California, and Lincoln City in Oregon, Seattle in Washington, Victoria in B.C. and home. We figure we put 8000 km on the motor home, and about 2000 on the car.

When I set the overall priorities within my goals, I worried that this ordering of goals would be criticized by family and friends. However, they have been very supportive, and as it turns out, I have not had less time for them so far.

I have traded off my pursuit of the goals to meet their needs in some cases, but overall, I am making progress. I do feel that I am gaining better control over my body and some of my mental responses to stress.

first crocuses
the birds also starting
to show their new colors