5 things I learned in July

5 things I learned in July

Taking Emily Freeman’s lead to share a handful of things I learned this month, from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow.

1. What happens after your kid puts a baseball through your kitchen window. 

Despite having read about this in many a Beverly Cleary book, when my kid hit a baseball at high velocity through our big window I had no idea what would come next. The broken window was in our kitchen door, right next to the lock, right before we were scheduled to leave town (of course).

First of all: I was completely surprised by what an enormous, scary mess it made! Glass went everywhere.

Second, security was a problem: you could reach right into our house and unlock the door from the outside, and it turns out it takes over a week to custom-order a pane for an old house. The window specialist told us how to secure everything while we were away: put a big sheet of plywood on either side of the door, and drive seriously large bolts through. Really ugly, but really secure.

2. There’s a new audio edition of Northanger Abbey and it is fab.  

Two words: Emma Thompson.

Get yours here.

3. It was time to break up with my Fitbit.

This was more like an enforced separation: I lost it in the yard and by the time I found it three weeks later, it would turn on but not track steps. I decided that maybe it was for the best.

I’ve been wearing a fitness tracker since early 2012, so it’s no surprise that the first few days felt really weird. But after more than 4 years of always having a little gizmo tracking my activity, it’s been … nice.

4. I like my water better with extreme amounts of lemon.

I’ve been trying to drink a whole lot more water this summer. (Have you heard about the increasingly common gallon-a-day recommendation for better health? That’s not what I’m aiming for, but I’m intrigued by the suggestion.)

Water gets really boring, really fast for me. I’ve always preferred it with lemon, which makes it a little more interesting. But then I read on my can of lemon Spindrift (I’m addicted) that there’s one and a half lemons in every twelve-ounce can. That’s a lot of lemon!

So: instead of putting a wedge into my own twelve-ounce glass of plain water, I started squeezing in a whole lemon, with an actual lemon squeezer. It is sooo much better. I use the little lemons in bags from Trader Joe’s, which are just the right size (and also just the right price—not those 89-cent ones from Kroger!)

5. Bad things happen when you don’t update your bullet journal for a month.

True confessions: I stashed it in a drawer before we left for the beach earlier this month … and now haven’t updated my reading log in a month. (I couldn’t even find my journal for the first few days after we got back!)

It’s a scary situation.

This won’t be the first time I’ve gone off track with my journal, so I know what it takes to regroup. But if you have any brilliant tips, of course you know I’d love to hear them in comments!

What did YOU learn in July? 

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  1. Susan in TX says:

    Got to admit…gaps in my reading journal would be the scariest thing I just read about…worry that I left the house unsecured while on vacation is a very close second (even if I’d been told over and over again that it was plenty secure – it’s just one of my weird stressors). Have never owned a fitbit, but I can see how that would be freeing, and now off to buy lemons. Happy Monday, Anne!

  2. Emily DeArdo says:

    Same way with the lemons, right here!
    My BuJo is the same way. I just can’t keep up with it as often as I’d like. I think the problem is I keep a regular planner (My Simplified Planner), and the BuJo is more for lists and things like that, and big picture stuff. I do keep my reading journal in there, though, which is the only page that gets regularly updated. So I wonder if I should just toss it, move my reading journal to my MMD notebook (which I keep quotes and book notes in), and keep my SP as my big planner.

  3. Brandyn says:

    Water recommendations crack me up because random numbers get thrown out with no scientific basis. Crack me up is probably the wrong sentiment because it’s actually scary. It can be dangerous to drink too much water.

    How much water a person needs to stay hydrated varies wildly. Your UPS driver in July probably needs to drink a gallon. Your standard indoor office worker is probably fine with 64 oz 90% water, even meat is about 50%).

    Listen to your body. Drink water when you are thirsty. If your urine is light colored and odorless you are hydrated.

    • Tina says:

      Totally my thoughts.
      Also, please research or ask your dentist about the lemons and the water. Enamel and citric acid is a tricky combination …
      Greetings, Tina

    • Brandyn says:

      Looks like I somehow deleted a line or two of my response so it sounds a little like gibberish. Missing lines in bold.

      “How much water a person needs to stay hydrated varies wildly. Your UPS driver in July probably needs to drink a gallon. Your standard indoor office worker is probably fine with 64 oz. The Best guess where this recommendation came from is a 1950’s study that recommended about that amount for a 2000 calorie diet. The study said that about half of those oz were already coming from food (fruits are 90% water, even meat is about 50%).

  4. Jennifer N. says:

    I ignored my Bullet Journal for a month, too! And because of that I missed at least one appointment (oops!) I just restarted it with the day I was on, rather than try to back-track everything. I’ve pretty much stopped logging my books in there anyway, as I’ve found Goodreads does what I need.

    This month I have learned:
    1. Heavy Metal Concerts Make for Great People Watching – My husband got free box tickets and I am not one to turn down a free date night ever. Eventhough this is not my genre, my husband and I had a lot of fun.
    2. 30-Day Yoga Challenges are Hard – My gym started a 30-day challenge mid-month. I practice 3-4 times per week usually, so I figured this wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. It’s hard to find time for an hour-long practice every single day! I’ve missed a few, but I’m still doing more than I was.
    3. Mowing a too-high lawn in 100 degree heat is not fun, but doable – Take lots of breaks and follow the shade as much as you can. I used the clippings to edge in some planted areas, too.
    4. It’s Way Easier to Have People Over – I have two boys with an 8:00 bedtime that get bored easily, so it makes family gatherings a bit irritating. This time I invited everyone to my house and I got to actually enjoy my family rather than try to entertain my kids. Way better!

  5. Dawn says:

    I learned that going on vacation and not coming back with a gigantic plan of attack to conquer work, fitness, back to school, meals, and planning my entire life leaves me feeling far more refreshed and peaceful than having organized all that.

  6. Whitney says:

    Anne—have you ever tried using lemon essential oils (a high quality one, that’s not diluted and doesn’t have chemicals!) in your water instead of lemon? I used to put a TON of lemon in my water too, but I found it was taking a lot of time and getting kind of expensive (organic lemons aren’t cheap!). I get the same lemony enjoyment with just a couple of drops of lemon oil in my water in the morning. I know it sounds nuts, but don’t knock it till you try it!

    • Catherine says:

      Great advice! (Plus no negative affect on your teeth!) I’ve used lemon, orange, grapefruit, lavender and peppermint. I get variety and I love it.

  7. Cara says:

    I loooove drinking water (probably picked this up when I lived in Arizona. I felt like I could never get enough!). My favorite summer beverage has been infused water – I bought a pitcher with a cold brew filter and fill it with water and lime basil from my garden. Sometimes I add some green tea as well. So refreshing, and there are tons of combinations of herbs and fruits you can use!

  8. Susan V says:

    Anne, you might want to keep some True Lemon packets on hand for those times you run out of lemons. It’s just crystallized lemon, nothing added. I add True Lemon and Organic Stevia drops to my iced tea. 🙂

  9. Karrie says:

    The past few summers, I have discovered that I don’t use my bullet journal daily. I usually look at it on Sunday to see what the week ahead is like. It’s nice to have a true break from all the planning and list making. I have the urge to start again the beginning of August. Just in time for school!

  10. Pam says:

    Hey Anne – you can get those lemons in a bag at Kroger as well. I was glad I discovered those – they’re way less expensive than the individual ones.

  11. SoCalLynn says:

    I drink a lot more water if I throw in some cucumber slices, mint and/or basil leaves. It’s so refreshing!

  12. Dana says:

    I learned that I really, really love living in our new location. We officially moved in July 2, going from a dense urban area to basically in the middle of nowhere. We are living in the NC Mountains in a log cabin with panoramic views of mountains and cows and the river. Along with that I learned that I have not missed any of the things I purged when we downs-sized. We went from 2400 square feet to 850 and got rid of so much stuff. ( lots of furniture, clothes, knick-knacks, but NOT books!). Additionally I have learned that any piece of furniture we buy now must have storage capacity! The life here is so peaceful, quiet and laid back. And it is so much cooler than the city.

  13. Laurel Bandi says:

    For several weeks in July I subbed at our little town library (a double wide trailer basically). I loved talking “books” with the patrons! Since I’ve been part of the MMD club, I’m much more up to date on new books and authors. While I loved the library work, I didn’t like the hours. I’ve always worked school hours. Working 2-7pm was hard for me. I never knew that about myself!

  14. Hayley says:

    I slice up lemons I have managed to buy cheaply and freeze them then add them to a glass of soda water instead of ice.

  15. Jamie says:

    When I was a kid, I spent an evening entertaining myself by tossing pebbles in the air and then trying to hit them with a big, fat, red Wiffle bat. Well…I connected and the next thing I knew one of the windows on the front of our house shattered. I honestly did not connect my swinging with the window shattering! The most embarrassing part of it was that my parents were having an open house and had TONS of people over that night. So not only did my parents have to deal with a broken window with a house full of guests, I was embarrassed in front of so many of my friends. I hid in my room for a good portion of the rest of the night. 🙁

  16. Liza says:

    I probably should break up with my Fitbit, too. It doesn’t motivate me to move more and is most useful to me as a sleep tracker- to see what times I go to bed and wake up. It’s helpful to identify when I’m not getting enough sleep and then make changes to go to bed earlier. But I could do that just as easy with a paper journal or an app on my phone.

    I learned a few years ago that the more water I drink, the more I want to drink water. But I have to have it plain and with lots of ice. Otherwise, I feel thirstier than I was.

    In July, I learned that having no schedule is as bad as over-scheduling.

  17. Amanda says:

    Hi Anne, To your #4, I can share what I use for lemon. https://www.truelemon.com/ I was introduced to these gems to me a few years ago, and they are awesome. I drink hot water with lemon every morning, and prefer these packets to squeezing a lemon. It tastes real, there’s no funky aftertaste or seeds to deal with, and I can travel with them.

  18. S says:

    Drinking water out of my Yet I was life changing….a few years ago I found myself adding flavor to my water and was trying to break the habit…I had heard outrage about Yeti cups but spending that much on a drinking cup seemed ridiculous to me. Even so, I asked my husband to buy me one for my birthday and although he had a difficult time paying $30 for a CUP, he knew I rarely asked for much and indulged me. I love it – it keeps my water ice cold for hours and it tastes great. Well worth it – I drink much more water, with no flavoring added at all, than I used to!

  19. Nicole H. says:

    I like my lemon water through a straw to protect my teeth.
    As a lover of lemon water have you ever tried any of the True Lemon products? It is dehydrated lemon or lime etc. that tastes amazingly close to fresh squeezed in water or a recipe even. This brand is life changing for me. Amazon carries a lot of the varieties. Walmart used to have one or two. They also have healthier drink mixes…

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