Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Resolutions, Take 38, Action!

Actually, I never made New Year's Resolutions until sometime either in high school or college (so this should be about Take 16 rather than Take 38), and I'm not a list-oriented person by nature, so I really don't care to do them. However! My wife is TOTALLY a list person, and she strong-arms me every year to write them down in her notebook - then, and this is so, so much worse, she actually goes back to see how many of the drat-blasted to-do proclamations were accomplished. THE HORRAH!!! Of the about fifty resolutions she writes down, and some years it's more than that, I'm pretty sure she runs about a 75-85% success rate, while mine's closer to 20% (of about the fifteen I put on paper), and I'm probably finagling to reach that. It's totally depressing. So New Year's is not my favorite holiday -- but I do know a lot of people who look upon the day as a time of hope and renewal, and if they're truly "resolute," then I'm all for that.

And to do my due diligence, I'll just say this to all you kids out there: if you haven't started making New Years resolutions by now, don't start!!! Nah, I'm kidding. Different people function in different ways, and if lists rock your world, go for it.

That said, here are some of mine - the realistic ones:

1) Travis Merriweather and the Legend Hunters, our action/adventure novel, I want it finished by this year, revisions and all. As many times as Ken and I have started, restarted, re-plotted, remade, the story, we've got it working now, for the most part, and are starting to rock and roll. We can finish it by the end of this year, and it can be awesome. "Discipline in the ranks, Winfred, ol' girl," that's all we need, and I'm our biggest problem there.

2) Getting better about the business end of writing -- sending out queries, chapters, synopses, whatever houses, editors, or agents require, networking with other writers, people in the business, etc. -- I need to do it much better than I have. As writers, Ken and I love to focus on the creative end, and really that's all I've cared about. And while finishing novels, any novel, is quite an accomplishment for anyone, leaving the work in drawers does no good at all. Not to say that's what we've done, but we could sure be better at the business end. I could be better. By New Years, I'll probably quantify this resolution, but for now, this is good enough.

3) Get back to 200 lbs., for crying out loud, which means losing about 30 L-Bs. How to do this is a problem. Last year, I said I was retiring from my basketball exploits, but I need to get my metabolism working again. 'Course, I may have lost that talent. That is, both my ex-fine-working metabolism and my once-half-decent basketball skills. To that end:

4) I'm unretiring from basketball. Last year, I said I was going to take up running. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That worked all of about two weeks. No, unfortunately, I have to have something to drive me like competition and it needs to be something I enjoy, like basketball. Well, I enjoy winning while playing basketball. We'll have to see if I can still play at that level. At 38, and rusty as a metal wheelbarrow in a junkyard, that might be hard to pull off. But it won't be from a lack of trying. The one bad thing here is time for basketball takes time from writing. When I usually play, it doesn't take much from family, so I'm okay there, but writing (sigh) comes before winning.

5) This one's work-related, so it's not Realm type of fun, and I'll just leave it at that.

6) Family Bible Study or at least reading and discussing. I'm not great about my personal Bible study and prayer time, so trying to bite off the family one may be more than I can handle. But it's sooooo important, and you make time for what's important, right? We'll see. Carson's 7 now, and Davis is 4, and they have great questions, and even some cool insights that might have passed me, at times. And if I can accomplish this, maybe it will be a step in the right direction at actually being the spiritual leader of our family, which to this point has been...

7) Take the kids, or at least Carson who actually cares, to an Auburn game - football and or basketball. If the Dolphins come to Tennessee, that would be more than a good enough substitute, but other than that, I need to get us there.

8) Since I'm reading N.T. Wright's For Everyone books on every book in the New Testament, I'd like to get through those, or at least half of them, this year. In that way, I get at least half to all of the New Testament, a lot of history and knowledge, and some devotional time with God. I've finished Mark and am halfway through Luke. I've also got the first part of John and the first part of Romans on my shelf, so I'm off and running.

9) Read at least 15 children's books this year (fiction). Read at least 15 of Grimm's fairy tales. Read 5 myths.

10) Read at least 5 adult books this year (fiction) and at least 2 classics. Read at least one Shakespeare play. Read at least 10 works of poetry and analysis of them.

11) Discipline myself to reading no more than 15 minutes of Dolphin articles on the Net every other day -- except for Draft time and the Preseason, when it can be 15 a day.

12) Be disciplined about attending the worship service at church every Sunday. How hard can it be? Since I teach Sunday School, I'm there every week. I enjoy corporate worship myself-- but when it's just me and the boys (which it is right now) it's so much less about worship than it is about trying to keep Davis, and Carson to some extent, pacified for an hour. What my kids need is a good month of the Puritan days 5-hour sermons. After that, going to our service would be like a holiday. It's time, though, so this is one resolution I'm confident in.

13) Write at least 5-10 quality short stories.

Thirteen sounds like a perfect number for New Year's resolutions to end on. If my success rate remains at about 15-20%, I can expect three of these things to be accomplished. Hmm. Which three, I wonder. Hopefully, though, I've lived long enough with my wife that I can go 100% on these. They are RESOLUTIONS, after all.

Alright, you got mine, at least the ones I'll write. What are yours?


codepoke said...

I'm the same way about the running, Rich. I have to play tennis, and in winter I rock climb with my son.

If you want to avoid injury, do balance exercises. Here's my favorite.

Grab 5 dice
Balance on left foot
With the left hand:
Place one die in front of your foot
Place die #2 in front of you
Place die #3 behind you
Place die #4 directly to your right
With the right hand
Place die #5 directly to your left

Bend at the knee to get as low as possible, and go around again moving them as far away as possible. Keep doing this until you fall off your left foot.

Repeat with right foot.

It sounds silly, but those fast-twitch balance muscles make the difference between cutting hard and collapsing on a crumpled ankle.

Rich said...

I'll try that, Kevin. However, it's probably about 15-20 years too late. I was a gym rat in college and for a long time afterward, but I twisted and tore ligaments in my ankle too many times to count and then continued to play. Nowadays, I won't even go on the court without ankle braces... it's become psychological. Plus, my right outer ankle bone now sticks way out, so I know it's not right.

I should have taken up tennis a long time ago. I love the sport, and I can go out play a little, not much. Rock climbing's out, though. Too afraid of heights. I remember as a child crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge in CO. One of the worst experiences in my life, beautiful though it was. And then my parents took me back when my cousins came. Parental cruelty at its worst. For you, howeer, it sounds like a great time with your son, and that's awesome.

And I am going to try that with the dice. It may help. Don't know where my wife keeps her Bunko stuff, but I'll pilfer five when I find out.

Rich said...

Oops. Trying to hurry and messed up at least twice in my comment above.

It should say "go out and play a little, not much.


"howeer" should be "however"


codepoke said...

I hear you on the ankles. I think I lost some permanent mobility in my youth, too. Went down early in a semi-final match. I hung in, and we ground it out in 2 sets, then played the finals just days later. We won, but looking back....

I need to clarify that all my rock-climbing is indoor-gym climbing. It's strenuous, and there is some fear, but it ain't hanging hundreds of feet up in the open air. If I loved climbing, I would have to do that, but I'm just in it for the winter exercise.

Today, though, they let the sun peak out for a couple hours. Busted me some tennis balls, fer!

My grandma quit tennis at 82. It's not too late start... Just the therapeutic benefits of hitting a backboard alone for an hour or two are worth the price of admission.

Rich said...

Gotcha on the rock climbing. That doesn't sound as bad.

You're right about tennis. Tennis and golf are the two sports which you can basically play forever. I've got no mentality for golf, which blends nicely with the no talent I have in the game. My dad loves it, though. Thing with golf, it's an expensive game.

Conversely, tennis isn't unless you're joining a club to play. The great thing about "the price of admission" you mention is that, of course, that price can be free. That's a great feature of basketball as well.

We've got some serious tennis players in our extended family, and my son started lessons last summer. But it wouldn't be bad for me to get out there and work on my weak, weeeeeeeak serves and backhands.

codepoke said...

Want a stronger backhand?

Easy. One lesson.

Go to a strong wall, and stand in front of it like you are going to hit it with a backhand. (You don't need a racket in your hand, or anything.) Make a fist, and place your knuckles against the wall, (again like you are going to hit a backhand.)

You should now be standing a foot or so from the wall, with your strong shoulder closest to it, and your hips parallel with your shoulders. Your strong hand should be about waist-high with your wrist turned up so the punching surface of your fist is pressed up against the wall.

Now, lean against that fist. Move your body so that you can get some weight behind it and push really, really hard. It's awkward to push backhandedly like that, but go with it until suddenly you feel like your whole body is putting force into those knuckles. Your hips and shoulders will probably end up in a pretty straight line with your fist, and the line of force will extend from your opposite foot.

That is exactly the position your body should be in when you hit your backhand.

On the court, move your feet and your body so that the ball will fall through the strike zone of your racket just as you swing through that position.

You will be amazed.

Sorry. I cannot resist the chance to talk a little tennis.