Goals: Week 3

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
    • Not yet, but it’s on the calendar

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Second session coming up in February
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • Not yet; we are working on the large garage where this will be and it’s a process…however, I’m happy making progress in my ceramics class and hope to start a few coil or pinch pots here at home soon, just to keep in practice and fire up the kiln. I do need some pots for herbs…
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
    • I got out the bird drawing book I want to use; haven’t started a drawing but I did do some more painting on my illumination: see below. I may change this goal to “creative practice” rather than just drawing, since I find that I am feeling pretty good with all my various efforts, no need to add guilt if I’m not doing one certain arbitrary category.
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
    • I practiced 3x last week — ramping up! It is fun.
  • 3 “other” art classes
    • One more illumination class to go, plus maybe a make-up class. I’ve been painting on mine at home and really enjoying it.

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • My form still needs work (core muscles!) but I am able to push myself up from flat on the floor pretty well now, and can do 3-4 more if I don’t go down all the way. I would like to be able to go down to a few inches from the floor and back up but I’m not there yet. I did notice that I felt stronger yesterday when I was doing tons of pretty physical yard work, so that’s a plus.
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • Not yet; haven’t gotten around to putting up the bar yet. Hopefully this week!
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I did stretching and a bit of yoga most days. I think this is totally necessary for me; such a difference when I do it.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • I went for three walks I think? I am bad at recording stuff. I subscribed to Scribld and I find that having a book to listen to is very motivating!

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (5/52, 2/5)
    • I finished one or two (see: bad at recording stuff) but one was something I owned. I’m reading another from the TBR stack; I would really like to get through a bunch of these novels I have stacked by the bed.
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • Nope, nothing yet, although I did work in the yard for 4 hours yesterday and found that very meditative. I am practicing self-care in allowing myself to integrate all of these goals slowly, rather than all at once.
  • Visit Quakers
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • Visit UU service
    • Nope, nothing yet
  • Read 3 Buddhist books
    • Nope, nothing yet

House projects:

  • Finish painting 4 remaining rooms in house.
    • Not yet, but I think we have a white paint chosen for the bedroom and I believe we have chosen the paint for Keith’s office. Not sure when we’ll do these.
  • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom.
    • Nope
  • Learn to do a drywall patch, repair/patch 4 heater grates.
    • Nope
  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
    • Nope
  • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds.
    • Not complete, but I did move a bunch of rocks and one of the garden beds is now halfway edged.
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
    • Nope
  • Install a dishwasher, hook up fridge to water for ice maker
    • Nope, and we are still undecided on the dishwasher.
  • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
    • Nope
  • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going.
    • Nope

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
    • No, but we did plan out some more training hikes and put some possible days in the calendar!
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
    • I am using these — I can use them at any grocery store and have been.
  • Find alternative for plastic bags for the bulk bins at the big grocery store
    • Outside containers are not allowed at the big grocery store we go to; I will try to get my bulk foods from the co-op and use our re-useable containers.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yes! I am continuing to do this. I bought two more cookbooks from a line I am enjoying at the thrift store and used a few recipes from those.
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Goals: Week 2

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
    • Not yet, but it’s on the calendar

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • First session down; online intro session
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • No, but I did start my other ceramics class again and am going to be working on mugs this term (along with some other projects). I do have a couple of easy things I want to make here at home too.
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
    • No, but I will start this today.
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
    • No, but this is ready to go! Starting this week!
  • 3 “other” art classes
    • Two illumination classes down; the 3rd is today. I thought there were only 3 but I think there are six (mistake in the catalog) so I will have to miss one, apparently I won’t be the only one so it should be fine. It is really fun. So far we have done our drawings/tracings, added gold leaf, and today we start painting.

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • I did my exercises every day and am still at around 1.5 pushups, but I can do three if I don’t go down all the way. Very hard!
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • No, but I did bring the pullup bar inside and we’ll install it this week.
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I did stretching and a bit of yoga most days. I really notice a difference when I do this.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • I went for two walks, I think. This week will try to get 3 in.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (3/52, 1/5)
    • I read one book last week (I think)
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • Visit Quakers
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • Visit UU service
    • Nope, nothing yet
  • Read 3 Buddhist books
    • Nope, nothing yet

House projects:

  • Finish painting 4 remaining rooms in house.
    • Nope, although we are making plans for Keith’s office and trying to choose the white paint for the bedroom.
  • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom.
    • Nope
  • Learn to do a drywall patch, repair/patch 4 heater grates.
    • Nope
  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
    • Nope
  • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds.
    • Nope
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
    • Nope
  • Install a dishwasher, hook up fridge to water for ice maker
    • Nope, and we are still undecided on the dishwasher.
  • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
    • Nope
  • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going.
    • Nope

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
    • No, but we did plan out some more training hikes and put some possible days in the calendar!
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
    • I am using these — I can use them at any grocery store and have been.
  • Find alternative for plastic bags for the bulk bins at the big grocery store
    • Outside containers are not allowed at the big grocery store we go to; I will try to get my bulk foods from the co-op and use our re-useable containers.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yes! I made a couple of new recipes this week and both were excellent.

Things I Love

In this edition: my newest cutting board.

I love it not only because it’s beautiful and functional, but because my dear best friend Erin MADE IT. She made this. Did I mention that she’s only taken woodworking classes since September? She made a few of these for lucky recipients, and I treasure it. I especially love the purple heart wood.

It’s also so functional; these non-slip grips are awesome. Why don’t all cutting boards have these?

Anyway, just had to brag and share. I was cutting up a gorgeous red kuri squash today and the whole visual experience was pretty great.

(Squash was yummy, too. Made this for lunch with a different miso dressing. It was really good)

2019 Goals: Week 1

Relationships/Family:

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
    • Nothing here yet, although we had a really fun night last night in the hot tub until the storm came in, and then we played dominoes until 11:30 pm. Good times!

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Nothing here yet, although I amended our March travel plans to accommodate the training schedule
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • Nothing, but we are heading out to start cleaning up the big garage today and I hope to work a ceramics area into our plans for the space
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
    • Nothing: starting this next week. I will work through some of my drawing book exercises to get started.
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
    • Nothing, although I got my piano set up and found my sheet music, so I’m ready to start next week.
  • 3 “other” art classes
    • I take the first Book Illumination class tomorrow!

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • I did my exercises every day and am now all the way up to 1.5 pushups, but my form needs work.
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • Nothing; need to install the pull up bar this week
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I did stretching and a bit of yoga every day. Definitely felt a difference.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • Nope, but we were recovering from colds and I spent part of every day in bed, so I gave myself a pass.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (2/52, 1/5)
    • I read two books this week, one of which I already owned on Kindle
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • Visit Quakers
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • Visit UU service
    • Nope, nothing yet
  • Read 3 Buddhist books
    • Nope, nothing yet

House projects:

  • Finish painting 4 remaining rooms in house.
    • Nope, although we are making plans for Keith’s office
  • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom.
    • Nope
  • Learn to do a drywall patch, repair/patch 4 heater grates.
    • Nope
  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
    • Nope
  • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds.
    • Nope
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
    • Nope
  • Install a dishwasher, hook up fridge to water for ice maker
    • Nope, and we are still undecided on the dishwasher.
  • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
    • Nope
  • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going.
    • Nope

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
    • Nope. Need to plan our next training trip!
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
    • I bought some! Using next time we go shopping.
  • Find alternative for plastic bags for the bulk bins at the big grocery store
    • Next time we go to our main grocery store I will ask what is allowed.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yes! I made meringue cookies from a Cooks Illustrated cookbook I have; they were great, if a little deflated (wet, rainy day probably not the best for these)

Observations from bed

Felled by a lingering cold and vigorous cough, I am back in bed this afternoon trying to rest and get well. I finished my book and was laying here watching the birds out the window, when suddenly they all took flight, all in a burst. A second later, the resident hawk who frequents our yard swooped down and settled into the fig bush that stands behind the bird feeder.

She (he?) is beautiful, small and brown and striped, and blends in perfectly with the fig bush. She hopped around a little, settled down into the roots of the bush, I thought maybe hiding herself to wait for prey. But no, soon she flew off again, landing in the tree on the edge of the garden, and then away again, I couldn’t see where.

From the bed I have a lovely view out some large windows to our bird feeder, a large stand of trees, our small meadow. Thomas sits in his kitty window, in his “hot tub”, and watches the world outside. This large window puzzles me; there are spotlights mounted in the alcove, but I’m not sure what they are supposed to illuminate. It’s not really meant for a reading nook, although I suppose it could be, but other than that, why the spotlights? This funny house is full of mysteries. I love it.

The narrow window is just to my right, looking out at the bird feeder and makeshift bird bath and the trees and the meadow. The birds are just now staying away because of the recently-departed hawk, but usually this small area is lively with sparrows and dark-eyed juncos and towhees and doves. I absolutely love our little birds, and I am torn about the hawk. She needs to eat, of course, and while I suppose she’ll find her meals whether there’s a bird feeder there or not, I wonder if I’m leading innocents to the slaughter. There is sometimes a rat or mouse under the bird feeder and I think it lives in the roots of the fig bush; I don’t mind it living there, as long as it stays out of our house, but I did think (rather unkindly) that the hawk could have that rat for a meal instead of one of our sweet birds.

It is gray and chill outside, and I am light-headed and weak and sore from coughing, so sitting in bed watching the birds is just the right thing for a day like this.

That’s all for today.

2019 Goals: Setting Up Structure

I am committing to updating these weekly. This is basically a repeat of the previous post, but I added and deleted a few to make it more manageable. These are the ones I want to actually track.

Relationships/Family:

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
  • I am finding this hard to measure; I’ll just stick with the one goal here.

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
  • 3 “other” art classes

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
  • 5 real pull-ups
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
  • Visit Quakers
  • Visit UU service
  • Read 3 Buddhist books

House projects:

  • Finish painting 4 remaining rooms in house.
  • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom.
  • Learn to do a drywall patch, repair/patch 4 heater grates.
  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
  • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds.
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
  • Install a dishwasher.
  • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
  • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going.

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
  • Find alternative for plastic bags for the bulk bins at the big grocery store
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own

 

Reading Challenge/Goal 2019

This year my goal is to read 52 books. I nearly made it last year, ending the year with 49, which is good but I’m still disappointed even though it matters not at all. I can’t remember what my all-time reading high was but it was over 80. My life circumstances were very different then and I wouldn’t go back to that, but still it seems that a book a week isn’t so much to accomplish. I’m a fast reader and I love reading. So what stands in my way?

  • Doing other things than reading. Well, duh! But this includes mindlessly looking at the internet, which I am trying to curb. It also includes anxiously fussing around the house when I could be resting and reading. I will try to amend this by physically bringing my book with me around the house, rather than leaving it by the bed all the time.
  • Podcasts. I don’t actually listen to podcasts that often but I do when I’m driving long distances or doing something like painting a room, which I’ve been doing more often lately. I could just as easily be listening to a book. I think the problem there is that I may not have time to finish the book in the time allotted and it could be awhile before I get back to it. But I could probably find a way around that by listening while doing my cross-stitch or while making dinner or exercising. I’d probably enjoy that more than music, which is what I currently listen to while on my walks or on the elliptical.
  • Being out of the habit. This is probably the biggest thing. I should have my book with me at all times, so I can read in line, while waiting at other times, or when the urge strikes me.

Right now my reading time is pretty much limited to bedtime, and frankly I am often too sleepy to read much before bed. Keith works different hours than I do and we don’t often eat dinner before at least 7 or 7:30, and while I am usually busy during that time doing house stuff or my own projects, I could sneak in a little reading or listening to an audiobook too. After dinner we sometimes watch an hour of a show but we’d both like to get out of that habit.

So there’s lots of opportunities. I think my goal is achievable. Monitoring my progress on Goodreads is helpful to keep me on track. I noticed I was falling behind toward the end of this last year and crammed in a few shorter books. That’s the other thing — I tend to choose long books so naturally I can’t read as many, so there’s that. I don’t want to read short books just to up my book count, but I could sneak in a few shorter ones here and there. I have been wanting to revisit some old YA favorites so maybe I’ll include this this year. My new book club wants to read higher-quality book this year, award-winners and such, so hopefully even if my pace remains the same, the quality of my books will be elevated.

Silly thing to focus on but reading is important to me, and these challenges keep me focused.

Exit 2018, Enter 2019

Such a cliche, but wow… 2019. Welp, here we go.

I eschewed New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago but for some reason this year I feel inspired to set a few goals & guidelines. Well, maybe more than a few. Oh well, it doesn’t matter if I get them all done, these are just guidelines to shape the year.

Keith has a life-organizing theory/structure he calls The Big Five: Relationships/Family, Career, Creativity, Physical/Health, Metaphysical/Spiritual. The idea is when he’s actively engaged and working on all these areas, he’s doing pretty good. Using this as a structure, here goes:

Relationships/Family:

  • I am blessed with many true, lifelong friends. I want to move deeper into these relationships this year, learning more about my friends and sharing more about myself. Even old friendships need nurturing. No specific goals, just keeping this in mind.
  • Keith and I plan to spend at least one “offline” day per month — no internet, no phone, just the two of us doing something that feeds our souls and relationship. This could look like any number of things, but the key is that we limit outside interruptions that day, especially digital.
  • I also have a goal of making one new friend this year, or at least strengthening at least one of the new connections we’ve made in the last 2 years.
  • Meet my mom in Portland or elsewhere to spend time together, maybe every other month or so? Or, as ideas come up. Plus our usual every-so-often multi-day visits as they come up.
  • Dinner with my dad and his wife every 6 weeks or so. They just live 3 miles away but it’s hard to find time. We like “dinner and a movie” nights — we’ll watch a few episodes of a TV show or a movie we all like.
  • Of course visiting the nephews (and their parents) as often as I can. This goes without saying.

Career:

  • Oh, career. I don’t even know.
    • I did get accepted into the Emerging Leaders program at work, so I will complete that. It’s a 10-month leadership training thing. That’s about all I know about it. So there’s one thing.
    • I would also like to actually achieve my official work goals this year. Every year, we make them, and every year, I fall short because of competing priorities. However, this year they are structured differently so hopefully they are achievable.
    • I’d also like to pick up my inquiry into mediation training. The program I was going to take got cancelled, but I’m going to see if it’s picking up again, or if I should look into other avenues. This is a long-term investigation to see if it’s something I could gradually transition into as I think about retirement (I said it was long-term…)

Creativity:

  • Get to know my kiln! No specific goals, just working with it and making some stuff at home. I have lots of ideas.
  • Get better at throwing pots. I’ll do this in class. Maybe with a goal in mind of making some planter pots for home and friends.
  • I would really like to do a drawing a day but I know I will not do this. However, maybe one a week — working on it a little each day.
  • I’d also like to work on my piano. 10 minutes a day is a good goal, but let’s go with 4x weekly, with the goal of being able to play again the old pieces I used to be able to play. Maybe if I really like it I can find a piano teacher after this year.
  • Take 3 “other” art classes. I’m already enrolled in one for January: a book illumination class. There’s a pysanky egg class I’m interested in also, and maybe a drawing class in the fall.

Physical/Health:

  • I have some specific goals around this. I’m turning 45 this year and I feel pretty fine about it, but my back is giving me consistent aches and I’ve noticed that I could definitely be stronger. I feel inspired, so might as well be ambitious:
    • My ambitious goal is to be able to do 100 pushups (the real kind) by the end of the year. However, I’d take 25. I can currently do ONE (badly), with a lot of effort. Sad.
    • I’d also like to be able to do 5 pull-ups. I can also currently do ONE (sort of). I can’t do it from dead hang, but I’ve got a start.
    • 10 minutes of yoga or stretching in the morning: it doesn’t matter what kind, as long as I start the day with some kind of gentle movement to get my back moving.
    • Exercise 3x weekly: this could be a walk, 20 minutes on the elliptical, active gardening, hiking, whatever. I’m not going to be prescriptive on this, just getting out and moving 3x weekly (or more).
    • Eat mostly real food. I already do this, but it’s a good goal to keep up.
    • Minimize dairy. My stomach will appreciate this.
    • Complete a 2-3 night backpacking trip with Erin!

Metaphysical/Spiritual:

  • 5 minutes meditation 4x weekly. I’d like do do it every day but I’ll start here.
  • Visit the local Quaker meeting house. I just want to investigate.
  • Visit the local Unitarian-Universalist church. Ditto.
  • Read 3 books on Buddhism. We have a bunch here, I’ll choose from what we have.
  • Spend some time getting to know our land. I feel a definite connection to our piece of property; it feels like it has a personality. I want to get to know it better and just spend time outside at home.
  • I’ll add my reading goal here since it helps me emotionally: I’d like to read 52 books this year. I tried to reach that goal this year but only got to 49 — if I speed-read, I might could squeeze in another one today for 50. Oh well.

I’ll also add: House/Home

  • So many projects… but a few that I definitely want to get done this year:
    • Finish painting all the rooms in our house. 4 to go! One of those is our bedroom/bathroom which is really huge but I’m still counting it as a single room. That one is a biggie, but the others are more manageable.
    • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom. It needs a lot of help but for this round I’d like to paint the walls/ceiling, paint the vanity, maybe a new sink/counter, and do something about the floor, maybe just stick-on linoleum tiles for now.
    • Learn to do a drywall patch. We have a ton of old non-functional wall heater grates that need to come out, but I need to learn how to do the patch.
    • Order and spread gravel on the walkways; mud is coming through in places, just needs some touch up.
    • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds. Probably rock edging.
    • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be. It’s packed dirt and gravel (driveway) so that might be containers.
    • Possibly install a dishwasher. Still not 100% on this because we’ll lose some cabinets, but probably.
    • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
    • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going. This will require some heat-shielding and other fixes, so it’s a project.
    • Lots more but those are the major ones for the year ahead.

Uh, yeah. So… that’s a lot, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve seen some blogs where people report on these weekly so I’ll try to do that too. That will help with the blogging as well!

Here’s to a happier and healthier 2019!

2018 Recap

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Declared “This is the last time we move, ever!” We’re settled!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I stopped making resolutions a few years ago because they had become a litany of self-improvement to-dos that only made me feel bad, but I still make “guidelines and goals” with the understanding that I am not a failure if I don’t achieve them! I didn’t do very well on them, my year went totally off-rails with the unexpected move.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! welcome to the world little Samuel Fields Phillips! Mmmm, chubby baby snuggles!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, not for me personally.

5. Where did you travel?

We went to Belize in February with Erin, that was so much fun. We also went to Pensacola in the summer; not so much fun. I went to Washington D.C. in May, also wonderful. Lots of other boring work travel.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018? 

A peaceful year with no major upheavals and lots of free time.

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

May 25th: move-in day to our new house, the last move ever! (well, at least for a VERY LONG TIME)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Selling our old (new) house quickly and getting the two major projects (new roof, garage conversion) done on our new (new) house before the end of the year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I guess just that the year felt cram-packed again, even though we’d carefully planned a more relaxing year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our house! (I’m noticing a theme).

12. Where did most of your money go? 

Our house! (definitely a theme)

13. What did you get really excited about? 

Our house! (yup)

Also the ancient hot tub at our new house — it doesn’t matter that it is ancient, it works and it is wonderful. We sit outside at night sipping tea or whiskey, looking at the stars, listening to the owls.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? happier

– thinner or fatter? About the same.

– richer or poorer? Hmm. About the same (thanks, crazy Corvallis house market)

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Creative work. I stayed in ceramics but didn’t make much progress. I did almost no drawing. I did make a baby blanket and did lots of cooking and gardening, I think that counts, but I’d like to do more art this year.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Reading the news.

18. How did you spend Christmas? 

Christmas Eve with my mom and extended family, then Christmas Day at my brother’s house. Boxing day at Matt’s too, with Dad and Yvonne. It was great. We’re hoping to make next year’s holiday feel a bit more relaxed but it is so fun to see everyone!

19. What was your favorite TV program? 

Hmm. We are loving The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and we also loved The Good Place.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

My Absolute Darling, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Moor (Russell & Holmes), The Hare with Amber Eyes, The Plague of Doves

21. What was your favorite music this year?

We are in love with Aki Kumar!

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I can’t remember if The Shape of Water was this year or last year, but I watched it again with Stan and Lib in New Hampshire and we all loved it. Keith and I enjoyed Fright Night around Halloween time. I can’t remember anything else. We’re going to watch the Mister Rogers movie on New Year’s Eve, I’m sure we’ll love that.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 44 this year and spent the day with Lib and Stan at the farm, reading and making a huge hydrangea bouquet, eating wacky hors d’ourves at Cousin Grace’s house, watching massive fireworks with Stan in the evening. Pretty terrific.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

The end of this fucking presidency. Also, about half of our plans being cancelled.

25. What was the political issue you that stirred you?

EVERYTHING. So many things, I can’t even remember. What a year.

26. What kept you sane?

Books. The hot tub. Wine on the back porch. Learning the yard.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Sometimes it is better to NOT be well-informed.

holiday regrets

Not really about the holidays, but about my decision to work Thursday and Friday this week. I usually take the entire week between Xmas and New Year’s off but this year I figured there wasn’t really a need, plus I had work I needed to do, plus I thought I’d give the opportunity for other people in my department to take those days off. Well, all that is still true, but it just felt wrong to be working today!

Aside from that, we had a nice holiday with my family. This year we tried to scale things back but there was still an abundance of food, presents and family time — all good stuff, but by Day Three (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day) we were pretty tired, plus Keith had a migraine on Christmas and then came home with a bit of a head cold. Maybe next year we can do something really simple — Keith and I (and my family, in years past) have loved going skiing on Christmas — maybe we can reinstate that next year. Although, now that I think about it, I actually did get to go skiing this Christmas, just an hour of cross-country skiing, but it was still pretty great. Probably wouldn’t be too difficult to bring that tradition back around in some form, especially now that my brother lives so close to excellent ski country. I think we can scale gifts back even further next year too. Once we finished doing stockings, I was happy and didn’t feel like I needed or wanted anything else. We’ll assess next year. Keith and I did “Thriftmas” gifts for each other (thrift shop gifts under a certain $ limit) and we enjoyed that — we’ll probably keep that tradition; the treasure-hunting is fun.

The nephews of course were the stars of the holiday, and I loved all the time with them and the rest of my family — both related and chosen. Still, it’s good to be home and as usual, I am now ready to take down all the decorations. I love having them up, and then I love putting them away and putting the house back in order.

Speaking of, I’m spending Saturday painting my office — and then THAT room can be put in order and then the house will be mostly “put away” and we can start the year fresh. We do an annual ‘purge’ of the entire house and garage and since we still have quite a few mystery boxes from the move, we’re looking forward to to clearing stuff out and getting everything in order.

Well, another day of work and then another four days off — looking forward to starting the year fresh with some new goals & exciting projects, a tidy house, and some good rest. We aren’t doing anything special for New Year’s and I can’t wait!