Thursday, December 27, 2012

Epiphanies 2012

Instead of talking about "The Best Of" or even "My Favorites," I want to close out the year with a couple of books I read in 2012 that greatly influenced me:

☆ MyFuture Self:
Last year, I had a great conversation with another blogger about what it takes to not be unhappy. It sounds trite, but the secret is in being happy with oneself and to that end, I embarked on a self-help program called "My Future Self." The premise is relatively simple: Imagine who you want to be and then do whatever it is that you need to do to get there! While there may be be people who will help you on your way, you are the one responsible for getting there. You are responsible for your own happiness.

The first step I took was to clean up and organize my office space. I spent nine weeks on the Home Office Excavation:

The next step in My Future Self was to address my weight issue. There's no getting around it, I was fat. In fact, I was obese. I've spent the past eight months working on that and have lost, to date, over sixty pounds! Basically, I just eat less and move more! I didn't blog about my weight loss campaign, though I am considering putting up a few posts for next year, just like I did with the Home Office Excavation. Maybe it will help someone else to see what I did. Anyway, there a couple of things that were invaluable to me during this part of #MyFutureSelf. One was The Weight of the Nation, the four-part HBO documentary. If you need to lose weight, sit down and watch this documentary. It's free online ( Basically, it's good to know what you're really up against when you try to lose weight.  There is a companion book/audiobook, The Weight of the Nation (by John Hoffman and Judith Salerno, M.D., M.S. with Alexandra Moss; narrated by Bernadette Dunne) as well. It repeats a lot of the information from the documentary (which is good for reinforcement) with a slight skew towards the more individual response.  The other book is William L. Sullivan's 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon. Instead of going for a gym or box membership and/or workout DVDs, I decided to increase my overall activity levels. I go on walks with the dogs and I go hiking now. My goal is to hike 100 trails by the end of 2015. To date, I've hiked about a dozen trails; but the pace should pick up in the Spring :-)

My Future Self goals for 2013 include reaching and maintaining my ideal weight, going on more hikes and, (re-)learning German. As for that last bit, I'm having trouble finding a class locally, so I may have to resort to CDs and such. I have the Linguistics Team's The Complete Idiots Guide to German and we'll see how home-schooling for yours truly works out :-/

☆ Black History
The other thing that was influential to me in 2012 was a book that I worked on: Kevin Kenerly narrated Black Genius: Inspirational Portraits of African-American Leaders (by Dick Russell). The audiobook was produced for audible and I'm not sure when it's going to be released; but it was an amazing recording experience. I got schooled big time in Black History, that it really is about American History and, that one way to marginalize a people is to deny their history... My daughter came home from school and talked about how close and cramped it was like on the Mayflower. I realized that she would probably never be told in school about the close & cramped conditions of a slave ship or even the life threatening crossings Cubans made and continue to make to reach American shores. My eyes were opened at how, even in the 21st century, there is a terribly imbalanced take on American culture, that it is biased toward the white male Anglo perspective. February is Black History Month; but really, I shouldn't Black History (and actually other American histories as well) be incorporated into Western Civ? I had a lot of great conversations with the narrator about everything under the sun including Paul Robeson (check out The Complete EMI Sessions 1928 - 1939), jazz, Ralph Ellison (whose book, The Invisible Man is being mounted as a stage play by The Huntington Theater, January 4 - February 3, 2013), Cornel West and The Matrix movies, and Toni Morrison... For the first time ever, I'm actually really excited about  an Oprah's Book Club 2.0 pick. It's The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (by Ayana Mathis). It's a about a black family during the first Migration (in the 1920s/pre-War) when Blacks fled the South for greater opportunities in the North.

Stay Cool & Keep the Faith,
Tanya/dog eared copy