I think November and December might be my favorite months. I'm starting to realize that the summer heat in Arizona can really get to me - it's so oppressive! I think the lingering heat of September and October plus feeling uncertain about my job had me feeling blah this fall.
Now that the weather has turned cooler and our doors and windows are open most of the time I feel so much better. Plus I'm loving all the holiday hubub - the music (we're listening to the Indie Christmas station on Pandora nonstop over here), the Christmas lights that are going up all over the neighborhood and town, and smells in my kitchen like hearty soups and things spiced with cinnamon. I know December will be busy with holiday parties and celebrating Christmas so I definitely want to take time this month to be present and just enjoy the season.
Here's an update of my November goals:
+ Mail birthday presents to my mom and good friend who have early November birthdays. Yes!
+ Tend to my garden and hopefully keep it alive. Yes! I was even able to use some arugala and cilantro from my garden in a batch of pesto that I made recently with cuttings from my potted basil plant.
+ Write the fall edition of our neighborhood newsletter that I publish. Fail, fail. I have really not felt very motivated to do this, partly because there's not a whole lot that happens in our neighborhood (which is a good thing I suppose!) and I'm not sure if people find the newsletter very useful. This hasn't felt like a priority and it was something that was purely voluntary, so I emailed the HOA Board and told them I would do a spring newsletter but not a winter newsletter.
+ Start planning/purchasing/making Christmas presents. Chris and I have ordered just about all of our gifts for family and friends and I am already feeling less stressed than last Christmas, whew!
+ Run at least twice a week to get ready for the 12K. Doing pretty well. I ran 1-2 times a week this month and make it to spin class 2 - 3 times a week so I'm definitely getting good cardio workouts. I've been on a couple of 4 mile runs, which is great, but I need to get my mileage up (a 12K is about 7.5 miles!). I think I'll be OK by race day although I only have 10 days!
+ Go vegan for one week. Well, I actually ate sushi in the middle of our vegan week, but other than that (delicious) detour being vegan wasn't very hard since we're already vegetarian. Chris stuck to being vegan for the whole week and and is now trying out a vegan diet. We're buying almond milk (yum!) and soy ice cream and using flax meal as an egg replacer (such as in chocolate chip cookies), so I'm essentially eating vegan as well but I haven't decided to commit to it yet.
+ Organize our hall closet. In progress! Should be done this weekend, and I'll share before and after photos when I finish!
+ Enjoy a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday with Chris and family. I ended up taking off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then had Thursday and Friday off as well. It was a luxuriously long weekend, and I definitely wasn't ready to go back to work on Monday!
In December I'd like to:
+ Get all of our Christmas presents wrapped and mailed off on time. We've got a great start on this, but since we need to mail lots of things it's easy to get behind. I need to figure out our wrapping situation for the gifts as well. I'd love to wrap our gifts in something reusable or recyclable, such as sprucing up newspaper wrapping with some red yard and a sprig of evergreen. Sunset magazine had some inspiring ideas for creating reuseable/recyclable gift wrap this month that could be useful.
+ Host a dinner party. Chris wants to start an informal vegetarian supper club, like one that we were a part of when we were at Yale. It would be potluck so not too much work on our part, and it would be fun to have our friends over when our house is looking festive.
+ Run the 12K! My goal is just to be able to run the whole race without stopping. As I'm training, I also need to be diligent about stretching and icing after my runs since my IT band in my right knee has a tendency to act up.
+ Stay healthy during the holidays. Cookie exchanges, candy, champagne, and pies...oh my! From now through New Years there will be lots of opportunity to indulge, which isn't a bad thing as long as it's in moderation. Although my weight has been very consistent for the past 3 years, what does fluctuate is how healthy I feel. When I eat a balanced diet and exercise at least 3 times a week, I feel better about my health and have a better body image, even if my weight doesn't change. During this holiday season I want to keep up my exercise routine (running a 12K should help) and enjoy holiday eating and drinking, but in healthy moderation.
+ Organize our bathroom cabinets and drawers. Similar to our hall closet, we use our bathroom cabinets every day, yet they're not organized and harbor a lot of unneeded things. We try to keep our bathroom counter top clean so everything we need in the bathroom is stored in the drawers and cabinets and it's become quite unruly!
+ Enjoy the Christmas season! For me this includes watching Christmas movies (my favorite is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), driving around to look at Christmas lights, sipping peppermint mochas, delivering homemade treats to our neighbors, and listening to Christmas music. It also means slowing the pace a bit and enjoying time with family and friends. I'm very much looking forward to accomplishing this goal!