January

A bunch of mostly small things have happened in my world this month, and that is my excuse for why it is January 31 and I have yet to talk about my aspirations for the year, much less anything else. We were all ferociously sick for a few days, and then it was so cold that the kid was literally climbing the walls, and then I accidentally bought sickly-sweet strawberry fizzy water at the Polish grocery store because I was overwhelmed. I turned 38 and failed to obtain timely birthday ramen but did have this completely absurd taste adventure:

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We started rewatching Battlestar Galactica, and I’m afraid to say that all of the new TV we’ve tried pales in comparison. I finished a book and two podcast series that challenged me in pretty significant ways (that I hope to talk about here). Two important cats died (not ours – she’s as fat and funny as ever). A faculty member at my institution thought it was a good idea to invite a noted white nationalist to campus, so I attended my first organizing meeting. I made Ottolenghi’s sabih and read a lot of Frog and Toad. I got a standing desk.

I’ve made a tradition of sharing my resolutions in this space, and of posting semi-regular updates measuring my progress toward and/or commitment to these goals. This year it took quite a big longer than normal to settle on my hopes for the next year, in part due to moving pieces that hadn’t quite sorted themselves out. Many of the things on my list look more like intentions than easily measurable goals.

So, for me: acceptance and mindfulness. Reading more books.
For my family: focusing on connection and patience. Reducing consumption.
For my relationship: encouraging and listening. Making time for us.
For my loved ones: expressing pride and gratitude. Connecting with family, especially my  99 year old grandma.
For my work: reasonable expectations. Saying no.
For the world: center marginalized voices. Find sustainable ways to take action.

This week, here and there:

  • The Parents’ Guide to Affairs with Esther Perel – The Longest Shortest Time – holy cow, all the feels throughout this incredibly insightful and compassionate conversation about infidelity and the importance of choosing and defining the relationship you want, not just making the best of the relationship you find yourself in. (Despite the headline, this episode is not in favor of infidelity. I also think it could have been improved by eliminating the section on non-monogamy, but that’s a whole other topic.)
  • What Does it Mean to Die – The New Yorker – a fascinating and devastating article about one family’s struggle to challenge their daughter’s diagnosis as legally dead, and a deeper dive into how ‘death’ is and has been defined (and by whom).
  • How Carob Traumatized a Generation – The New Yorker – we were literally just talking about carob after a bulk foods PLU mix-up. Now I’m worried that we might traumatize our kid with our food choices.
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2017 Resolutions In Review

1. Eliminate credit card debt.
Done. With a balance transfer about to start accruing interest, we decided the best thing we could do was use some of our savings to pay off the remaining debt.

2. Take action every week.
I kept this up for a couple of months, but like many, I lost steam.

3. Finish Brain Pickings book club list.
Good enough! We didn’t finish the list, but we kept the book club going all year, so I’m going to treat this one as a success.

4. Incorporate professional development into my schedule.
I managed the conferences, but didn’t manage much else. I have a couple of things that I want to work on this year, so maybe I’ll rededicate myself to this one in 2018.

5. Finish weaning.
Despite my sad post a couple of months ago, we’re still nursing pretty regularly. I broke out the pump last night, and that made me feel like I was ready to be DONE all over again.

6. PR at any distance.
DONE. I blew away my 5K time in Champaign in April. I had hoped to PR in the half, but considering how hard I’d run the night before, I was totally fine with just finishing.

7. More regular visits with family.
Done. The kid absolutely will not nap when we’re out in Rockford, so since he’s doing better with car naps (and in the car generally), we were able to make more day trips happen.

8. At least two blog posts/month.
Technically done. By the numbers, this was a success, though posting dropped off pretty significantly after the beginning of the year.

9. Try at least four new recipes/month.
Done, for sure.  The My New Roots cookbooks were my go-to source.

10. Make time for monthly dates.
Monthly dates didn’t happen, but we did manage some child-free time about every other month. In 2018, I would love for us to GET AWAY! OVERNIGHT! WITH NO CHILD! but that continues to be a tall order.