January is consistently my worst month.
Weather is part of that-it’s the coldest, bleakest, nearly the darkest, and most-trapped-in-my-apartmentest month. There’s also the holiday recovery, the unreasonable expectations of the new year, and the fact that I generally get sick somewhere in there (this year it never got that bad, but it’s lingered like an obnoxious taunting gnome with no legs). There’s also a freelance gig that I generally get that is nice in a cashal way, but also highly disruptive to my schedule, interruptive of my sleep patterns, restrictive in that it tethers me to my computer for several days straight, and stressful in that it aggressively reminds me of all the reasons I no longer work for that organization full time. And the job hunt took a lot out of me-I did an interview for a job that I think could have been as close to a perfect fit as possible, considering that jobs and humans have extremely different parts that really don’t interlock that well, and I thought the interview went really well, and then heard nothing back.
I’m happy to report that fitness- and goal-wise, the month wasn’t a free fall. Not good, but not disastrous. Some specifics:
Monkey bars: I successfully completed the full set while swinging every other bar. At some point I should video it as proof. It had a weird side effect that it’s much harder now for me to do the monkey bars using the typical go-to-the-next-bar style. I think I can do it but it takes a big mental adjustment. I like big brachiations and I cannot lie.
Crow pose: This is the most surprising. I didn’t hold it the 20 seconds that is my goal, but I did do a clear, controlled hold for a few seconds. I actually yelped in surprise when it happened in class because it’s never happened before. It’s surprising because I don’t feel like I’m at my peak, fitness-wise. But it’s also sort of understandable because my gym has been offering a new class that I call the weird shit workout. It’s a lot of quadrupedal movement (a term I picked up from that Horrible Parkour Class that I need to document one of these days) and inversion-y things and other weird shit that’s fun and hard and could, in retrospect, have helped. Still, we hadn’t done crow poses specifically, and I hadn’t worked on it in months, so it’s still a surprise.
Cooking: I’ve tried three recipes, and at least one is (sort of) a keeper. This pumpkin and turkey chili is one I could definitely try again-it’s easy and tasted okay, although I think it could use more of something. Maybe more pumpkin, maybe more heat. Still, close enough to count.
These southwest chicken bites-basically Tex-mex egg rolls that are baked, not fried, were also decent, although they’re a lot of work for the benefit. One side benefit, though: I figured that some bean sprouts would be a nice addition, but the supermarket only sells them in huge quantities that I could never finish. So I tried this mix of clover, cabbage, and fenugreek as an alternative, and I approve-I could definitely see myself using it in other applications. (And no, I don’t know what fenugreek is.)
The third recipe was a disaster. It seemed so simple-spinach, cheese, and an egg in a portobello cap, baked until the egg set. But the egg didn’t set-at least not for about twice as long as the recipe said-and then the yolk was sort of a gel while the white was barely a white. The whole thing tasted slimy and chalky and evil. I still shudder to think of it.
Weight: started at 267, ended at 267.5. I’m hopeful on this front, though. As you can see in the sidebar, I’ve started planning (at least roughly) my race season, which makes training feel a lot more real, even though there’s a long way to go.
Creation: This has gone well. I’m on a 37-day streak, so the month was good. It’s been primarily Dad’s Little Book of Rage, and the progress has been good—I finished 13 illustrations this month, putting me at roughly 60% of what I’m expecting to need.
It’s actually going a bit slower than I expected, given regular effort, but that’s probably a good sign. The reason is that the illustrations are becoming more elaborate, and (I think) funny in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. Like this one (still in progress), depicting the make-out session that is a natural consequence when someone expresses feminine solidarity at a community center songwriting class.
I may not be skilled, but I can at least be weird.