Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

February Health Month – Week One


Well, my first week of Health Month started with a bang and ended with a whimper.  The rules that I carried over from last month are pretty ingrained habits by now and so I am cooking dinner, not spending extra money and walking without much thought or effort (Simon obviously helps with my walking rule 😉 )

My new every day rules aren’t habits yet but are quickly becoming so.  Flossing is something I struggle with, mostly because I like to floss at night, so I don’t floss in the morning, but by the time night rolls around I skip flossing because I just want to go to bed.  My floss every day rule has actually had the magical effect of getting me to floss twice most days – I am flossing in the morning just in case I won’t want to floss at night and I have been budgeting extra time in my bedtime routing to make sure I floss at night.  Since I have the time, and flossing is on my mind, I floss.  I have a dentist appointment next week and I think my dentist is going to faint dead away when I share this tidbit with him.

My eat fruit every day rule is awesome.  I love fruit and I don’t know why I don’t eat more of it.  It’s citrus season – my favorite – so I have been eating obscene amounts of oranges, grapefruit and clementines.

My reading rule is another excellent rule.  I love to read and since it is on my mind because of Health Month I am doing more of it.  I have actually blocked out a half-hour before bed for reading so I am overachieving on this rule.

My study Public Matters rule is also working well.  I am not counting class time in the rule (although I wrote the rule allowing myself to do so) because we have been getting a lot of really interesting extra readings.  This rule, like the fruit and reading rules, is really about keeping things that I want to do in the front of my mind so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

And now it’s time to address the commute by bike at least one day a week rule.  Even thought I miss this view…

Day 291 - Tuesday, October 19th 2010 - Chilly Bike Commute

…more than anything, I did not commute by bike during my first week.  I made the rule at the end of a January where we received 60ish inches of snow and where the meteorologists were forecasting that the snowy pattern would continue in February so I knew this rule might be an issue for me and I was okay with it.

As promised, February began with a two-day snowstorm:

Me and Simon

Tuesday, February 1st was my birthday so I had taken a personal day which eliminated commuting and Wednesday was a snow day; on Thursday and Friday I had meetings that were either outside of Lowell and therefore too far away to bike to or were meetings where I was responsible for transporting supplies or people. That left yesterday.

Yesterday was actually a perfect commuting day: warm (above freezing FTW), local meetings and a schedule that would keep me out of particularly hairy traffic but… Yesterday was also a bit of a disaster.

The day began with an unexpected trip to the vet because Simon was having some stomach troubles. That was frustrating, but Simon is fine and just needs some extra TLC, which wouldn’t have prevented me from riding to work yesterday.

However, as I was bringing Simon upstairs after our vet visit (and trip to the market to get chicken and rice to help settle his stomach) I slipped and fell on a nasty patch of black ice. My hands were full with Simon, his meds, a grocery bag, and my phone and I fell pretty badly – I twisted my knee (there was an awful POP!) and ended up with a pretty nasty sprain.  Soooo, no bike to work for me.

I am under doctor’s orders to stay off of my knee for at least three days so this has been my view for the past 24 hours:


Being off my feet has also royally messed with my Health Month game: I lost two life points yesterday, one for not biking and one for not cooking dinner (I had already taken my free day to attend a Super Bowl Party.) I also anticipate losing more points for the cooking, biking and walking rules in the coming week.  Needless to say, I am pretty bummed.

I wrote about my day yesterday and how upset I was in my daily recap and one of my teammates responded with some encouraging words. I have to say, it is really nice to play as part of a team for the encouragement, of course, but also for the tips and tricks that people provide.

I would say that, all things considered, my first week of Health Month went well. Week Two is going to be tough and I may lose all of my life points, but I am trying to be okay with that because what can I do? My knee certainly helps out with my reading and studying rules, plus I hope to do a lot of knitting…

Hawthorne Shawl In Progress
Hawthorne Shawl, Twist Collective-Fall 2010

And while walking and biking are definitely out, I have to make a judgement call regarding the spirit vs. the letter of the cook dinner rule. The rule was written both a way to encourage me to cook more and as a means to save money.

See, I have a bad habit of not planning for dinner, letting myself get to the hangry point and then either calling for takeaway or going out, which means that I spend a lot of money to eat food that isn’t as good as what I can make for myself when I am totally cranky and unable to enjoy it. Also, I really like to cook. So that situation? Not ideal. My rule has really helped me to not be a jackass, realize that I will, in fact, have to eat dinner and plan accordingly. It’s a six-day rule because I do like to eat out and I want to be able to plan for it and enjoy it when I do.

While I am laid up Gist has offered to cook dinner. So we’re not falling into the hangry takeout trap (spirit of the law) but I am not the one cooking dinner (letter of the law); if you were me, what would you do? Count nights that Gist cooks following the spirit of the law, or not count any night that I don’t cook, following the letter of the law?


4 thoughts on “February Health Month – Week One

  1. Oh no – I’m so sorry about your knee! 😦

    I’m really enjoying Health Month too – it’s been fun, though I’ve been slipping my first week already too. No good excuse for it either

    And my opinion is to count nights that Gist cooks – I’m doing the same rule and I’m counting when the SO cooks. Like you, it’s to keep us from falling into the trap of going out or ordering – spending too much money & I always eat over my calories too.

  2. Hey, this sounds like a fun thing to be apart of. I’ve been doing similar things lately as far as cooking and not eating out. What happened to the days of ordering take out and enjoying it? It seems like everytime we order either the food is crappy or I feel crappy afterwards. With that being said, we’ve knocked down our ordering 3-4 nights a week in the past fews to only 1 time a week! The only negative now, is doing the dishes. . . . wish we had a dishwasher!

    I’m sorry about your knee, I hope it gets better soon! Poor little Simon must have a ton of energy now too.

    BTW did you ever get our xmas mugs that we sent you?


  3. I do the same exact thing with dinners: fail to plan, get hungry, then whine until we get takeout. I’m my own worst enemy that way, but I’m so bad at menu planning.

    Good luck with the knee! I hope it heals quickly.

  4. Sorry to hear about your knee. Hope it heals quickly!

    I say to count the nights Gist cooks, because it is still a home cooked meal. 🙂

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