That Phrase's Location is Important

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"To celebrate, we're giving away fifty copies to anyone who enters this drawing."

Okay, so, let's look at this copy, which is encouraging me to click on a link, enter my name and email address, and possibly sign up for a newsletter or three.

I understand the goal of this exercise.

The wording, however.

No.

What that copy actually says is, "if you give us your information, we will give you 50 copies of this book." giving away fifty copies to anyone. - the "fifty copies" go to "anyone" so that's fifty copies to each person who enters the drawing.

(you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.)

Pretty sure that's not what they intended to say, and clicking through to the entry, we learn that, no, not anyone, only those in the United States, and no not fifty copies each, there are fifty copies total to be sent out.

Yet, wording is everything. One could argue false advertising with the current phrase order.

That whole "eats shoots and leaves" thing in a different format.

Close Enough

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Years and years and years ago, I was having some conversation with John Schmidt about I have no idea what but it had something to do with cars and fixing something or other. I vaguely recall he was talking about a friend he had a crush on, but I could have that part muddled with other memories.

Yeah, so we had been talking about fixing something, repairing something, and he was telling me about changing the oil in his car and how he was struggling to remove the oil filter. The filter had been tightened beyond spec, and he just COULD. NOT. TWIST. IT. OFF. The engine had been leaking, the filter had oil on it, he didn't have the right tools, the car wasn't up on a ramp, all sorts of things wrong with this situation and removing that oil filter.

Until either said crush said something, or he recalled something this crush said, or just had is own epiphany, but he realized that because he was trying to remove this filter, he didn't have to preserve it. He didn't need the filter to come off in one piece, and he wasn't going to reuse this filter. He jammed a long screwdriver into the filter, grabbed the handle, and jerked. The filter unstuck and screwed off. Voila, he could continue changing the oil in the car.

This particular story comes to mind frequently when I have things that aren't. quite. right but are really close, and I have to wonder why I wouldn't modify it to be exactly what I want or need.

Take my notebooks (journals, everyday books, those things).

I really like the size of the "large" hardback Moleskine: nominally 8" x 5", 6mm thinly lined, 192 pages.

I use about 30 pages in the front of the book each time for my goal tracking, and two pages a day minimum keeping notes, tracking my day, planning goals, generating ideas, and reviewing my day. Which is to say, those 192 pages last me less than 3 months. I love the notebook, but really want a book to last longer than three months, especially since I take about 8 hours to reset a new journal.

I keep hoping Moleskine will make a book of the same size but more pages. They pretty much don't.

Except this past year, I discovered Moleskine has an 18-month daily planner

The pages are marked with times along the side of the weekday entries for planning a day.

And I do not care.

At all.

I ignore the hour markings along the side. I scribble out the crap I don't need, which is to say, the date at the top of every page, if I don't slap a sticker over it. I ignore the holiday markings and the week tally. I use the lines, the thinly-printed, 6mm spaced lines, and rejoice.

I have a notebook that's really really close to what I want. I finally (FINALLY) have a 600 page book of the right size, with many many pages, and lasting me six months. Six. Whole. Months.

Hot damn. Yay! Close enough.

So This Is Happening

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And I am pretty excited about it!

Puuuuuuuuush Up

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Pushup?

Push-up?

Push up?

One of those.

About six weeks ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to do 50 pushups in a row before my next birthday. The timeline didn't seem sooooo off, I was giving myself about nine months or so to achieve the goal, I know that consistency is key, and I like doing challenges like these.

But, well, uh, here's the thing.

I couldn't do a single pushup when I made this goal.

Not one.

Studies have shown time and time again that telling people about your goals gives your brain the same hormonal rush as actually accomplishing the goal, which has the cascading effect of reducing motivation to complete the goal. There's also the added outside pressure of succeeding, and the worry about failing, blah blah blah. Humans. We are complicated. As such, for me, telling people I was going for this weird ability was out of the question until I started making progress.

My first milestone in my plan was one pushup by October 15th. One full-plank, chest touches the ground on the down, arms extended on the up, in four weeks.

To my delight, I could do three full pushups by October 15th. I can currently do 5 if I haven't already worked out that day.

I'm doing the bulk of my workouts from my knees, knee pushups, because I can do more than the 5 in a row, and I can maintain good form. I have built up to my current pushup workout of:

3 x 20 knee pushups
2 x 10 90° full plank pushups.

Those last ones I go from full arm extension to a 90° bend in my arms and back up. They aren't full stroke pushups, but they are full plank, so I'm hoping they help me out.

Because I need the help.

Right now, I'm maxing out on the number of pushups I can do, knees or otherwise. I seem unable to move past the three sets of 20 from the knees while maintaining good form. I think this plateau is because of my form: I'm using my pecs and my triceps and I'm pretty sure I should be using a few more muscle groups than I am. I'm also doing my big workouts every other day, with the "rest" days being one or two sets of 20 knee pushups.

I have pecs again. They are pretty great. I like them a lot.

I have triceps now. They are pretty great. And surprising.

What I don't have is the confidence I'll make it to fifty by the middle of next year. This workout is hard. Every day I do not want to do them. Every day I have to play games with myself, convince myself to do them, pull out the mat and do the pushups for that day while blasting some Queen song that I've recently become enamored of ("Ain't much I'm asking, if you want the truth" has been circling my head for the last month, and it isn't even one of their better ones). I mentioned to Jonathan that I really don't think I can do this, I don't think I will make it to fifty. How easy it would be to lay down this self-imposed burden and tell myself, "Well, I could have if I REALLY had wanted to do them, I didn't really want to do them," instead of doing the work, breaking down my muscles, watching my diet, eating more protein than I normally do, working on my form, actually committing, ignoring the odd looks from friends and coworkers and even myself and seeing if, hey, can I do 50 pushups in a row, going from zero, in nine months. I could do this all this work and still fail.

These newly grown muscles of mine are fun and beautiful. I like them a lot. The muscle soreness when I've worked out hard and well is delightful. I like it a lot. I'll keep doing these pushups, and I'll keep adding enough sets and reps to be sore. I can't cram for fitness, but I can be consistent and put in the work.

You now know what I'm up to.

Fifty.

Sheesh, what was I thinking?

This Morning's Convo

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Me: "Yeah, I'm getting near the end of my reading list."

Him: "So, then you stop reading?"

Me: "..."

Him: laughing hysterically

Me: "..."

Him: "I've read to the end!" still laughing

Content for the New Site Section

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I think I need to start a section on my blog titled, "Sure."

It'll be a series of absurd suggestions no doubt thought brilliant and accurate by The Algorithm™.

Like this one.

Sure, Amazon, when looking for women's cleats, <sarcasm>I totally want an off-the-shoulder top, especially one modelled by a vomitously anorexic blonde.</sarcasm>

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