Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 154 of 365 - January in Review

Progress against my goals in January was excellent.  With very few unexpected demands on my time, I was able to grind away.

1. Lifting - I continue on 5 3 1, just finishing my second cycle. I am making all my reps and hitting all my workouts. I am getting stronger and feel positive. I signed up for a grip contest at the end of April, which should keep me on track for 3 more cycles of 5 3 1. Bench press is finally fitting into my workouts after years of shoulder problems, and I am even managing to overhead squat, with weight. The regular mobility work has my body working much better than I imagined it could. I may need to back off on increasing the intensity of my warm ups. I'll hold at level 14 on the elliptical for Feb. My program does lack specificity for some of my goals, but I think with strength in the tank, that won't matter.

2. Eat on $4 a day - My spending was out of control. I have been doing the grocery shopping for the house every week, and I am horrible about making impulse purchases. If I see something new or delicious, it goes in the cart. Doing most of my grocery shopping at Aldi did help limit the financial damage some. However, I got into Scotch and now have 5 mid-range bottles, which set me back a couple hundred bucks. I did prepare my first ever avocado, which cuts the cost of having guacamole in about half, and makes it something I can get at Aldi. I also learned to prepare a mango and a kiwi, which increases my flexibility when buying fruit. My food expenses were waaay too high for January though, so I am going to limit my personal food budget to $35 a week in Feb. Given the food stockpile my impulse purchases have already created, this should be trivial.

3. Become competitive pool - The pool table remains covered. My intention for this goal was to be more social. I am finding it better to invest time with the people I already know, rather than trying to build relationships with complete strangers, that likely share only one of my lesser interests.

4. Maintain my home - Great progress here. We closed on the refinance, got the fireplace setup, finished cleaning out our unused stuff, and my wife even made a new painting for the master bathroom. The next step is to get our attic inspected and start building a relationship with a handyman. The fact is, I will not do the home maintenance myself. Even calling someone to talk about it seems like a dreadful task.

5. Excel as a quality engineer - I am keeping up with the additional developer. I got buy in on some operational changes, that once complete, will free up at least a day a month for me. The team agrees we need a build server, which is key to getting traction with test automation in a value added way. I suspect the fast feedback it provides will also support automated monitoring of unhandled system exceptions. I am almost done with the Agile Testing book. I might have one more work related book to read, about personal kanban, but then it will be nothing but heads down implementation. The security scanner is being a little cranky, but hopefully we'll make up by the end of Feb.

Overall life is going very well. I know peaks are usually followed by valleys, but I hope it stays this good for a while!