the great balancing act

Three months ago, I wrote a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. I really like the list I came up with, and I was feeling very optimistic about my prospects of meeting these goals, but optimism alone isn’t enough to get me there. Item number one, ‘run a half marathon’, is imminent at this point; but it’s taken a LOT of work to get there. A lot of work, plus some organization, plus some accountability. It seems to me that if I’m to succeed at the rest of my list, I need to take some cues from how this whole running thing has worked for me.

It’s easy in this life to lose our balance somewhere between the day-to-day activities and what we really want to be doing. Saturday morning rolls around, and the laundry, errands, or leftover work squeak squeak their way toward the front of the line, and the practicing, working out, writing or calls to friends get put off again. I’ve been letting things slide for far too long and not regularly acting on any of the things I say are the priorities in my life. Laundry is definitely NOT a priority!

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m picking three items from my list. They will be different enough to keep the spice of life abundant, attainable enough to keep me from giving up, and interesting enough to not bore you to tears. Then, I’m going to give myself a specific deadline for each, and make a plan. Finally (this is where you come in) I will be writing about my progress, struggles and victories right here. Accountability is key! And what’s more public than my very own bloggy blog?

Here I go to choose 3 things from my list! Anyone have ideas? Expect my plan by Saturday! Oh, and on Sunday, I WILL check off the first item! Wooohoooo!!! Wish me luck!

Does anyone want to join me on my goal-getting challenge? Let’s do this!

30 things

I’ve been inspired lately by a few other bloggers’ lists. They have taken different forms and sizes, but all have something in common: goals and dreams. Since I’ve been thinking so much about goals lately, and having decent success with one in particular, I decided to take on this task. So, here we go:

30 things I want to do before I turn 30

1. finish a half marathon 11.21.10 in 2:14:13

2. audition for a real opera company

3. plant a garden

4. keep a garden alive long enough to harvest it

5. make new friends

6. keep the old

7. commute entirely by bike and public transit

8. read my Bible more

9. Develop a Rule of Life and stick with it

10. perfect my aria package

11. compete in the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions and NATS Artist Award

12. have a baby

13. continue learning how to be a good wife to Nate

14. see the Aurora Borealis

15. hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail

16. ride the STP (Seattle-to-Portland)

17. start a music school (or at least write the business plan)

18. star in a local opera

19. raise a puppy

20. become a local-ivore

21. become more politically aware and active

22. cook my way through a classic cookbook- Julia Childs or Mark Bittman?

23. see NYC

24. attend a professional conference for teaching voice or Kindermusik

25. start a neighborhood gathering or community dinner in our home

26. become a better piano and guitar player

27. write songs and play gigs

28. discover how to live more simply

29. learn to live in the moment

30. write more letters and cards

We’ll see how it goes! 5 years and a few months. Can I do it?

P.S. I know you’re reading this… but I don’t know who you are! Leave me a comment, ’cause I want to hear about you, too! What’s on your list?

poor-man’s sustainable eating

“Sustainable” is the catch-word of the year, at least in the Northwest. Everyone, from individuals to businesses (even McDonalds!) is jumping on the local, free-range, organic bandwagon. The idea has appealed to me for a long time, but without the financial ability to shop solely at PCC or Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck), I had basically abandoned the concept of going totally local or organic.

I read a few articles last month, though, that renewed my desires to make this a priority. Each of them waxed eloquent about the benefits, for body and earth, of eating and shopping sustainably, and one even outlined 50 “easy” steps (see the July/ August issue of Whole Living). Some of the tips were really helpful; others, a few steps too far down the hippie-lifestyle road (which I’m not sure I’m willing to travel, yet). I’ve decided I’ll try baby-steps. Jumping into the pool may be the most efficient way of entry, but the water is cold (and expensive) and I’ll ease into this one, thank you very much. At least I have my suit on!

Here are the simple things I’m committing to do, whenever possible, in hopes that I will increase my efforts over time:

1. aiming for local produce. It may be more expensive in some cases, but if there’s any truth to what people say about the nutrition value decreasing the further a veggie has to travel to get to my mouth, I’m willing to sacrifice a few cents per item.

2. visiting farmer’s markets as often as possible. There’s one in Madrona on Fridays on my way home from work, or several to choose from on the weekends. Markets are so much more fun than Albertsons and I’m much more likely to buy all kinds of beautiful fruits and veggies, which helps my health goals, too. I love to think I’m supporting local farms in the process. I don’t want to think about what I’m going to do come winter.

3. meal planning a week in advance. This should have been number one because it enables me to do the rest easily, and  I’m proud to say I have a three-week streak going! If I know what we’re eating for the next 7 days, I don’t have to make speed trips to the supermarket, where the local and organic options are so limited. I have also gotten pretty good at planning how to use up the produce I buy before it goes the way of the yard waste bin, using the same ingredient in multiple recipes so I waste less. Not to mention, when I know I’m going shopping, I have no problem remembering about:

4. bringing my bags. So obvious, and in vogue these days, but great to do.

5. eating in season. A little more difficult, depending on what I’m craving (or Nate, for that matter). But in terms of availability and price, in season produce is always going to be the best bet. The book Simply in Season, a wedding gift from dear Oregonian friends, has given me lots of ideas of ways to use ingredients in their prime. I may experiment with canning or freezing summer fruit, berries, and tomatoes soon. I’ll let you know how to goes.

6. buying items in bulk. Not only does this save some serious cash-ola depending on where you go, but if you get really serious, you can bring your old plastic bags and be an earth-saving over-achiever.

Of course, all my habits are bound to be re-set come September when I have to search for new markets and grocery stores in BC. But once these become second-nature, I’m excited to experiment with taking this lifestyle further. If this is one thing I can do to be a good steward of the earth God has given us, and keep my little family healthier in the process, I’m in.

What do you you, or hope to do, to eat sustainably?