Archive for January, 2012
Last year I put 11 items on my yearly “to do” list (I hate calling them resolutions) because it was 2011 and 11 seemed like a good number. (And the year before I had 10 items for 2010.) So, to continue that numbering theme, my 2012 list will have 12 items on it.
12 still seems like a reasonable number to me. Eventually, probably soon, probably next year in fact, I will hit a point where I just cannot keep correlating the number of items on my list to the year number, and when that time comes I will have to come up with a different system.
- Keep on with the exercising, but mix it up a little more
I have got a pretty solid thing going with the elliptical and stationary bike for cardio and the yoga for stretching and flexibility and the fencing for fun. I just need to focus on working in some weight training.
- Garden 4.0
We hit the limit on how much we can reasonably expand the size of the garden, so it will be the same size as last year. We have also pretty much figured out what plants grow well and get eaten, so we won’t change that up too much, though I would like to try growing either snow peas or sugar snap peas this year. If so we might have to start flats of seeds for those in the early spring since we probably won’t be able to buy seedlings at any of the local garden stores. I also want to give the zucchini another shot, to try and fine tune what we need to do to keep those plants safe from the root-borers. Meanwhile, the zucchini are going to be planted in large pots on the deck this year. That way if they do die, that way we won’t be “wasting” a large corner of the garden that could have otherwise been taken up with something more reliable, like tomatoes or jalapeno peppers.
- Weed the library
We have a dedicated library as well as bookshelves and stacks of books in every room of the house, except for the bathrooms. A lot of those books are trade paperbacks, or books that we will probably never re-read. We would like to cut down the library size by at least half.
- Crock pot cooking
John and I both really like to cook, regard it as relaxing, and make most of our meals from scratch. But it can be kind of a drag to get home after a long, busy day at work and then have to jump right into dinner prep work with no time for de-stressing. Hence the crock pot concept. Can we work out and work in a couple of delicious and low time commitment meals a week?
- Improve my communication
I can be very bad at staying in touch with people, and I know it. I am no longer going to let emails linger unanswered, and I am going to call my folks every week. (I know that this one will make you happy, Mom!)
- I am not very crafty, and I often admire John his ability to just make things. So I am going to work on just making things also… maybe I will give knitting a try again, maybe I will get back to making Ukranian eggs. At the very least I will finish that embroidery project that I started at the beginning of last summer!
- Update this site
Always on the list. I have a few things in mind…
- Photograph, identify, and catalog all of the china and glassware in my collection
I am not planning on selling anything… this is just for my own personal interest and use. Really, I should have been more attentive when I was building the collection, but better late than never. At least I have all of those books on china and glass patterns that Grandma gave me that I can use.
- Kick up my photography a notch in general
I would like to do more with my photography… can I figure out any way to transform it into an income-producing hobby? Also, I would like to take better advantage of all of the photography and Photoshop classes and tutorials that are available out there.
- Get authorized for (heavy weapons) combat archery
Between that and the fencing, I figure that I will be able to ironman (i.e. participate in all point battles that I am eligible for) at Pennsic this summer.
- Work on German longsword techniques outside of official fencing practices
Once it gets warmer outside, of course. I would like to work up to the level where I feel comfortable working up and teaching a class.
- Mobile design and development
Learn more about mobile design and coding and the responsive web. Then I need to apply what I learn. Starting with this site right here.
I have already gotten started with a couple them… last night John and I had our first crock pot meal. It was a very traditional beef roast with root vegetables, and it was veeeery tasty. And it was just as quick and easy as hoped for. John did all of the prep work the evening before, put the assembled dish in the fridge over night, and then plugged in and turned on the crock pot in the morning. Now I must find a lot of other crock pot and slow cooker recipes to try.
My friend Sarah has also (at my request) started to (re) teach me how to knit. I started trying to teach myself years ago when I still lived in Ann Arbor, but gave up pretty quickly in frustration. She was going to start me out on a fairly simple shawl pattern (because starting out on a scarf is boring… just endless rows of knits and purls) and then discovered that I needed more than a bit of remedial help. So she taught me how to cast on, knit front and back, purl front and back, pointed me toward some online tutorials, and told me to practice the very basics for a little while before tackling the shawl.
I put a whole bunch of things on my 2011 to-do list didn’t I? Lets take a look at that list and see how I did!
- Keep going with the regular workouts. Weights/elliptical/stationary bike during the week, and yoga on the weekend.
Yup. Been keeping up with this one just fine. Well, been keeping up with most of it anyway… I get plenty of cardio with the elliptical/stationary bike, and plenty of stretching with the yoga, but I wasn’t able to work weights into my workouts very consistently.
- Garden 3.0! We should be able to get raspberries and blackberries this summer, since the bushes will have had a year to establish themselves. Also, I would like some squash.
All of the blackberries and raspberries (the ones that the birds left us) got eaten straight off of the vine rather then saved for a pie or some jam. We didn’t plant any squash either… after careful consideration, we decided that we didn’t want to devote that much space (squash spreads) to squash. We did enlarge the garden again, and we planted pretty much the same things that we planted last year, only in greater quantities. The jalapeno peppers were the surprise standouts of the growing season, and we had many many meals of poppers out of them. The zucchini once again succumbed to the scourge of the root borers. The tomatoes did not do as well as last year either. We had a very hot summer, with a record number of days above 90 degrees, and it turns out that tomato pollen dies when the temperature goes over 90, so there went our tomato crop.
- I want to be able to actually catch stuff when I go fishing.
I did catch fish! And l cleaned those fish and ate them as well. (They were very tasty.) One time we went out I caught three good-sized fish! Catching fish is, however, mostly luck, so I wasn’t able to catch fish every single time that we went out, though I was luckier at fishing last summer then I was the year before.
- Finish the boat and learn how to sail.
Yes. Oh yes. We finished the boat. It sails like a dream. Once we finally finished it, we spent most weekends out on the lake.
- Strip and re-seal the bamboo flooring in the living room. ( Maybe this year will be the year we actually knock this one off. Maybe? Here’s hoping.)
Yes! Done! Finally! It took the better part of a week from start to finish, but we got it done. And it looks great. I wish that we had done it long ago.
- Train to go back-country backpacking with my folks. (Trip tentatively planned for September)
We went to Yellowstone with them in early September, and then we went to Grand Teton National Park and hiked around (literally, we hiked around a mountain) it. We covered over 50 miles in five days, most of it uphill. I don’t think that I will ever do something quite so extreme again, but as my Mom put it, I “did something that most people won’t ever do” and now I have “bragging rights”.
- Start to weed down my part of the library. Do I really need all of those textbooks from college and grad school still? I think not.
Kind of, but not really. I weeded out the books in my office… but the books that are taking over the rest of the house remained untouched. It is really, really, really hard for me to get rid of books.
- Clean and organize my home office. And keep it that way. (Keeping it that way will be the hardest.)
Yes, I did clean and reorganize my office. And I have (mostly) been able to keep it that way… I do occasionally start to backslide into clutter again, but I try to keep that under control as much as possible.
- Mix up my wardrobe a little bit more. I don’t think that I will magically turn into a fashion plate, and I don’t really want to, but I do need to broaden my go-to clothing beyond jeans and a t-shirt all of the time. Also, maybe I should add color to my wardrobe beyond black, grey, and blue.
I definitely did this with my summer wardrobe. I think that I wore dresses and skirts most of the summer. I am still trying to beef up my winter wardrobe a bit. I am also getting more comfortable with the concept of layering, and how leggings and sweaters can take a lot of stuff from summer wear through the cooler fall and early winter days. However, I learned that I am essentially lazy when it comes to my wardrobe, and I tend to do what is easiest. So if dresses and skirts are easiest, then I will wear dresses and skirts. If jeans and t-shirts are easiest, then I will wear jeans and t-shirts. I also learned that I do not have a lot of patience with clothes that require special care. If an item of clothing is not hardy enough to at least go through the wash on the “delicate” cycle and then go on a rack to dry, the I probably shouldn’t bother with it.
- Learn how to do my hair. I have great, short, easy-to-take-care-of hair, and all I really do with it is wash and comb it.
Kind of. I figured out what product is best to use when I want to blow-dry my hair straight, and I figured out what product is best to scrunch through my hair when I want it to be really curly, and I figured out some things to do with hairclips and headbands, and I figured out how to flat-iron my hair, but mostly I figured out that I am essentially lazy. I can do a lot of things with my hair, and now I am better at doing them, but I just don’t really want to take the time. So mostly I use the product to make my hair curlier (and a lot of time I also use the product that I figured out is best to keep down the static) and leave it at that. I am pretty much just a wash-and-go kinda girl.
- Do regular training on longsword techniques outside of the group fencing practice.
Eh… this one kind of fell by the wayside. John and I were pretty busy last year. So some of the extracurricular activities, like this one, just went undone.
Well. That’s it for 2011. I think that I did pretty well, overall.
Now I need to come up with a plan for 2012.
I just finished taking our Christmas lights and decorations down. They are back in the basement, in storage boxes, waiting until next mid-December, when they will once again be brought out and put up.
Last year John and I did nothing for the end-of-year holidays.
Which is to say that we just stayed home and had our own little cozy celebration. I was in the middle of a year long bout with oral surgery, and wasn’t feeling up to even faking like acting social. So we stayed home. We put up a tree, and had a holiday dinner, and watched “The Thin Man” and “A Christmas Story” (two of the best Christmas movies out there, in my opinion), and exchanged presents, and lounged around, and relaxed.
This year, to make up for last year, we went everywhere. We went to Michigan to spend Christmas with his folks, and we went to Cleveland to spend New Years with my folks. And in between we did holiday-oriented baking and replaced the garage door. (The torsion spring on our old, original to the house, garage door snapped, so we replaced it with new springs. Which turned out to be insufficient to life the heavy, solid wood door. And since it turned out that the old, solid wood, door was falling apart anyway, we ended up just ordering a new garage door.)
We ate entirely too many cookies and cake and chocolate nibbles and holiday breads and rich delicious food.
While we were in Michigan with John’s family we lit the menorah and went to see “Tin Tin” on Christmas Day. We also ate a lot of very delicious food and played a lot of card games.
While we were in Cleveland we went to see my Grandmothers. I seem to have the good luck of always catching both of them on relatively “good” days. We played pool (I lost badly) and Scrabble (I won!). We dressed up (how often do I really get a chance to wear my 1940s blue mink jacket? Not often enough) and went to see the Cleveland Pops for New Years. (It was an amazing show. I had a great time.) And we ate a lot of very delicious food.
A lot of very delicious food was pretty much the theme for the holidays. We are both paying for that now.
Anyway, now the the decorations are put away for another year, the holidays are officially over.
Time to get back to normal.
Just before the Christmas holidays I had an appointment with my eye doctor. I had realized that it had been a while (almost 3 years) since my last appointment, and I had also noticed that I was starting to squint a little when watching subtitled movies (and it is not very far from the couch to the TV in my house). So off I went.
Turned out that it was not all in my head… my prescription needed to be just a touch stronger.
I also picked out a new pair of frames.
I like glasses much better now then I did when I was younger. Maybe the frames themselves are better, maybe I just have a better idea of what is stylish and what actually looks good on my face. Either way, I liked my old frames quite a bit, and I am very happy with the new ones as well.
The new frames have a very vintage, almost Art Deco look to them.
it seems kind of silly how happy picking them up and wearing them for the first time made me, but there you go. New glasses. Such a simple pleasure.