The grand plan for this blog was to encourage myself to write, be it whatever style or topic I chose. I have been out of the writing game for a few years now and I wanted to get back to it. When I did write it was always for a school assignment and often I was writing on topics I didn't particularly enjoy. Now, throughout the years I thought of myself as a solid writer, someone who had a decent grasp on the english language, but without putting these skills to use they were likely deteriorating over time. It is funny how we prioritize our lives. I use to take all of my "leisure time" to, very literally be at leisure. When I was at my least motivated I would go out of my way to create more leisure time for myself. Looking back, I am quite embarassed about all of the lost time. Gradually, my priorities are changing. I realize now that leisure time can be used in a positive way, and even though you are working hard, being active, etc. you can still be relaxing and/or enjoying yourself. I have been following a workout plan since Christmas and I have been very happy with the changes in aesthetics and in my mood. It feels weird to not be active, and quite frankly, that feels great. I haven't had a day that I can recall without some type of activity. I lift weights 5 days per week, focussing on particular bodyparts depending on what my schedule calls for. I don't schedule abdominal workouts or cardio sessions, so it is up to me and my willpower to make sure these are accomplished on top of my scheduled workouts. This desire to keep active has manifested itself in many forms and has led to fun times with my family, and has also scored me some serious points with Sheila.
Yesterday morning, Asher, Jasmine, Sheila and I were all up by 8 am and eating breakfast together at the new dining table that we procured through Kijiji the week prior for $150. We had been actively shopping for some new home furnishings for a few weeks after deciding that our modest tax return should be used for this purpose. After annoying Jasmine and Sheila with various activity proposals we decided to walk over to the school (about 3 blocks) and shoot some hoops and play on the playground. By 9 am we were enjoying the sunshine and the very quiet atmosphere of 9 am Saturday morning at the local school. Jasmine was frantically throwing herself back and forth across the monkeybars. Asher was busy either running around the basketball court after the ball or slowly plodding throwing the pea stones of the playground, getting a kick out of the sinking sensation of each step. Sheila and I were locked in a game of 21, she is quite competitve and has a very solid shot, which leads to some close games. I have only shot the ball a few times this spring, but I can already tell that the strength I am adding is beneficial to the game of basketball. I have more spring in my step, making it easier to get off a good shot, and fatigue wasn't hitting me nearly as quickly as it usually does. During our game Jasmine came running over and took a few shots, showing off what she learned during her first basketball season. Now the outdoor hoop is higher then the one they played on, but she had no problem sinking a few shots, including 3 in a row before she ran back over to the playground. We made our way back home and we in the house by 1030, a great way to start the day. I wanted to get my workout in, as it was a scheduled shoulders and biceps day, and of course this would give me time to watch a little baseball and peruse my fantasy team. I have made a habit of taking long breaks during my workouts, but trying to avoid this, I completed my workout in around an hour with a few sports related distractions. I came upstairs, saw the carnage left over from breakfast and decided to tackle the mess. Realizing that doing the cleanup scores points with Sheila while also providing a good workout, I am beginning to change my view of these types of tasks. I even managed to garner a compliment from Sheila about how often I am helping out, something that made me feel very good. It might be my first compliment scored ever in regards to frequency of help. Yes!!! After this was completed, I headed outside to pickup the grass and branches from the front yard that I had raked the day prior, enlisting Jasmine's help. As we worked we made plans for a picnic spot under the big pine trees in the front yard. "Asher needs to stay out of the sun! It would be nice and shady for him under here Daddy!" The garbage can filled, I decided I better leave the last couple piles for another day. I went inside and showered before heading out early to go to work. I had finished my book the day before and wanted to have time to stop by the library to replenish my supply of reading material. A successful stop later I was at work. Saturday afternoon at work is our scheduled pool visit time, and as my friend soaks in the hot tub, I get a little time in the sauna and hot tub to recouperate from the days activities. I had a great week, as most of my days had been productively filled like this.
When I haven't been busy with exercise and child minding or some combination of both, I have been reading beaucoup material. I have enjoyed a few classics lately, as I read "The Catcher in the Rye" and "The Great Gatsby" in recent weeks. Yesterday, I completed "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. I had been given this book by my sister at Christmas and she had nothing but good things to say about it. The book finds itself at #5 on modernlibrary.com's list of the best novels of all-time, and this listing is anything but misplaced. One of the strengths of the novel is that it's main theme can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. I was intrigued by Huxley's development of the "ideal world". His use of the character's reactions to illustrate the different pros and cons of this ideal are well placed and thought provoking. A blind happiness is created where one is happy simply because they don't know any better could make for a very efficient society. No one would waste time looking to fulfill themselves because as far as they know they are fulfilled already. The use of drugs to maintain this happiness spoke deeply to me. For all I know Huxley's point may have been that the idea of true happiness is a foolish notion, one that simply can not be. You can't create what only exists in your mind. Happiness is a personal feeling. Creating the exact conditions that should produce happiness or at least a positive environment will not have the same effect on every person even if they have been genetically conditioned to respond in such a way. At times disturbing, this novel is a testament to a great mind and I look forward to reading more of Aldous Huxley's work.
I am busy looking forward to the coming week. I have a soccer game this afternoon, the last one of the indoor season. I plan on playing tennis with Jasmine as she has been bugging me to do so. My bike has been repaired, (thanks Ian!) and I hope to get out for a few rides. Asher has really been enjoying going for jogs in his stroller, lots of smiles and laughs from him, he seems to be over his initial fears. I started a new book yesterday, Ralph Ellison's classic work "Invisible Man" and at 570 pages it should keep me busy. Sheila has been after me to see this new Nicholas Sparks movie, and she is pretty insistent so we may be on our way to that this week. I have some more work to do to get the yard ready for spring, so that will keep me busy as well. Swimming as usual on Wednesday and perhaps Jasmine and I can get out to swing the golf clubs later in the week. Here is to a good week ahead!