2017 Resolutions

1. Eliminate credit card debt.

Debt elimination has been a rolling goal for the last few years. I keep saying that this feels realistic, and then it keeps not happening. Last year I knocked out my student loan. This year the credit card debt has got to go.

2. Take action every week.

We all need to do all of the small and large things we can do to keep our country (or state or city or neighborhood) moving forward. I was stuck in terrible gridlock this morning (20 minutes to travel 20 miles), so I used the time to make (hands’ free!) calls to elected officials about House Republicans’ attempts to hobble the Office of Congressional Ethics.

3. Finish Brain Pickings book club list.

Along with a couple of friends, I’m making a book club out of the 2016 favorites list from Brain Pickings. First up: Hidden Figures.

4. Incorporate professional development into my schedule.

Attending a couple of conferences each year isn’t enough. I need to find ways to stretch and grow professionally every week.

5. Finish weaning.

I’m not in a hurry to do this – I’ve always said that I’ll be guided by the toddler’s needs and development – but it’s time to start the process.

6. PR at any distance.

I came really close to knocking out both a 5K and half PR in last year’s Illinois races. If I can make strength training and speedwork happen, I think this is feasible.

7. More regular visits with family.

It did my heart good to see the toddler interacting with his grandparents and cousins over the holidays and during our visit to Belgium in the fall. While we don’t expect to get to Belgium this year, we can get out to Rockford (and Michigan and Iowa) more often.

8. At least two blog posts/month.

This seems pretty straight forward.

9. Try at least four new recipes/month.

This should be relatively easy as well.

10. Make time for monthly dates.

This is hard but important, especially with a toddler! But we need to make it happen.

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2015 in Meme

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Discovered exactly how little sleep is necessary to function, watched the Hawkeyes go undefeated in normal season play, visited a Baha’i House of Worship, washed cloth diapers at home, drummed up excitement about an intranet, biked 1500 miles, roasted a zucchini inside an eggplant inside a butternut squash, served on a task force that shaped a survey administered by the federal government, mourned the closing of a bar.

Last Night at Neo//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 50/50. Not bad. 3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Still more babies everywhere, though nothing like last year. A dear friend had her second son in June, Nicolas’s sister had a baby in October, and another dear friend had her daughter just a few days ago. Saying goodbye to our old lady this afternoon.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
4. Did anyone close to you die?
We lost Pandora in September, not long before my sister lost her Spock and my parents lost their Sasha. And my friend Mark died in January. We were never close, but I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve missed him.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
No international travel this year, though we did spend a great week in San Francisco and an overnight in Michigan. Travel with a baby is harrrrrd. Instead, Nicolas’s mom came to us!

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
More dates with my partner. More time with friends. More sleep.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My baby’s first birthday was pretty damned special.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Keeping a small human alive with my body and not losing my mind through months and months of severe sleep deprivation.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I’m sure there are aspects of early parenting that we’ll regret. I wish I were more patient, and that I did a better job of communicating at times.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I threw out my back biking in May, and got a nice bit of road rash in June. The entire family was sick in November and then again in December. Nothing serious, thankfully.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Witch hazel and essential oils for me, stacking cups and a wooden kazoo for the baby.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I am always proud of my sister, but this year she really knocked it out of the park.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Chicago Police

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and drink and rent. The usual stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Riding my big.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Jammin’

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Much happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner than last year, and closing in on my pre-pregnancy weight and shape.

iii. richer or poorer?
Richer both financially and personally.

Family biking is the best.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Riding my bike with my baby. Sleeping. Watching movies. Reading books. Spending quality time with friends and family. Drinking.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Driving. Always.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We drove out to Rockford on Christmas Eve and had dinner with my family, then did brunch and packages the next morning before driving back to the city. I was sad to not spend more time with everyone, but also relieved to be home early and with an entire weekend ahead of us.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
With my baby boy and my bike commute and speculaas cookies

22. How many one-night stands?
Zero

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones and Mr Robot

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year
Nope.

25. What was the best book you read?
While I read other books that were more important, I was completely absorbed by Wolf Hall.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
My child is a kazoo prodigy.

Medal as big as my face//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
27. What did you want and get?
My running form back. Professional opportunities and new work friends.

28. What did you want and not get?
My athletic body back. The opportunity to run a marathon.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I literally only watched 3 movies this year, all of which were in the last month.

35 years/17 weeks//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. We waited around for a good part of the morning hoping the baby would poop (he didn’t) before heading out to Eataly for a late lunch, and then to the zoo for our annual visit to the small mammal house. We had made dinner reservations at Nightwood (RIP) and arranged for a babysitter, but decided that the baby wasn’t ready (we weren’t ready), so the three of us had dinner at deColores instead. Later in the weekend, I went to King Spa with a group of friends. My mom was supposed to come in for a weekend in the city later in the month, but the baby had hit the four month sleep regression, so those plans ended up being cancelled.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I sound like a broken record: SLEEP.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Easy access for breastfeeding

33. What kept you sane?
Riding my bike, the friends in my phone.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No one in particular.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I feel like I’ve learned more about race and privilege in the last year than the whole rest of my life.

36. Who did you miss?
My sister. Our much more flexible life pre-baby.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I’m thankful for new work/professional/mom friends.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:
Ask for help before you need it. Don’t underestimate the detrimental effects of severe sleep deprivation. Everything is a phase. Everything is a season. The only constant is change.

2013 Resolutions in Review

Now that it’s firmly 2014, let’s look back on last year’s resolutions:

1. No pants in public.
DONE. For a while, I took daily photos of my tights to prove that I was toughing it out through the Chicago winter. Then I got bored with that, and then the weather got nice, and not wearing pants didn’t seem like that much of a challenge. Then it got effing cold again, and I resumed the countdown to the end of the #yearofnopants. There were days when I desperately just wanted to throw on jeans, and there was at least one occasion of layering yoga pants over tights under a dress because I was freezing and didn’t have any other clothes available to me (thanks, unseasonably cold and rainy May weather), and there were several times when I ran errands immediately after a workout and so didn’t change out of my running kit, but I made it from Jan 1 – Jan 1 without leaving the house in pants of any non-workout type. I suspect that I will wear pants every day for the next week, and then I’ll go back to wearing skirts most of the time.

2. One really big race: either the Chicago Marathon or a triathlon.
NOPE. But I did do 7 half marathons and a 5K, and destroyed my PR at both distances, and did my first true destination race. I also plateaued halfway through the year, making each subsequent race an exercise in discomfort and frustration. I wish I’d done better, but have accepted that I didn’t.

3. Ride a goddamned motorcycle.
NOPE. No matter how often I ask the internet, no one wants to give me a motorcycle ride. Maybe this year I’ll just man up and take my colleague’s motorcycle class.

4. Get out of debt.
NOPE. But I did make progress, and committed to monthly financial accountability, and feel good about the progress that I’ve made.

5. Leave the country at least once.
DONE. Karen and I went to the Bahamas in February, and Nicolas and I went to Canada for the afternoon in May.

6. Run 1,000 miles and bike 2,000 miles.
NOPE. I ran 783.66 miles and biked 1030.84 miles. The running distance wasn’t unreasonable considering the number of races I did, but between sickness and injury, I had to cut way back in the last 3 months of the year. Had I biked as much all year as I did in the last 3 months of the year, I would have made the distance in spades, but I didn’t, and so am happy with the distances I did log. In 2014, I’d like to do more of both, but I’ll be happy with whatever ‘more’ ends up meaning.

7. Figure out this career stuff.
DONE. Well, sort of. I spent a lot of the year wracked with work/life balance angst, a lot of which resulted from a loathsome commute. I made and continue to make my peace with it, and am resolved to stay where I am for at least another year or two – which is further out than I’ve ever felt like I’ve been ready to commit to any job in a while.

8. Keep living with my heart wide open.
ONGOING. Much of the year required trusting my gut and doing my best to say yes to whatever the universe decided to send my way. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the work.

9. Be more like Leslie. Always.
ONGOING. Forever.

2012 in meme

#newyears pantsuit #vintage
Kissing 2012 goodbye in style at Karen and Annette’s, 31 December 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Ran 750+ miles (just barely), moved to Chicago, ate at several Michelin starred restaurants, almost walked to Mexico.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
9 out of 12 ain’t bad. More on this later.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I have a new niece! She is a chublet and I adore her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My uncle passed unexpectedly in January, but we weren’t close.

5. What countries (or new places) did you visit?
No new countries or cities as far as I recall. I spent far too much time on the 405.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A better budget, and the dedication to stick to it.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Shane and I decided to separate on February 25.
I left Ann Arbor on March 27.
I broke my arm on July 4.
Those are the defining features of this year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Keeping my head above water and in doing so, finding a life for myself that is impossibly richer than I ever imagined possible.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sobriety, weight loss, protecting my skin, protecting my heart, being financially responsible. My body also said FUCK NO to an IUD twice.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I spent half the summer in a cast.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a lot of fantastic vintage clothes this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I am constantly amazed by the people on the lakefront path. Every time I run or bike there, I spend part of my workout composing a post about how motivating and inspirational they all are.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A close friend is going though something appalling and inexcusable.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food and drink and dresses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Nicolas Jaar

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same, unfortunately.

iii. richer or poorer?
Financially poorer, but richer in nearly every way.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More running. More time at the beach. More naps. More coffee dates. More reading. More sex. More live music. More miles on Orange. More travel.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family in Rockford

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I fell balls deep in love with Chicago, and was pretty dang smitten as well.

22. How many one-night stands?
A lady never tells.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I didn’t watch much TV this year, honestly. I’m rewatching Fringe.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Yes.

25. What was the best book you read?
The Wild Palms and Bluets

26. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
Nicolas Jaar

27. What did you want and get?
A whole new life.

28. What did you want and not get?
Love.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I saw Skyfall in the theaters three times, but The Fall was the best new-to-me film of 2012.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Drank way too much in Carlsbad the night before, slept it off in the car, waited an inordinate amount of time at Port Pizza with Pop, tried to walk to Mexico with Michael, fell in the Tijuana Estuary, watched The Fall, went to bed early.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing. I can think of lots of things that would have made this year easier, but nothing that would make it more satisfying.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Vintage-inspired.

33. What kept you sane?
My girls.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The entire cast of Skyfall, please and thank you.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I’ll be honest and remorseful when I say that I didn’t have the energy for politics this year.

36. Who did you miss?
Shane.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Karen, and all the great people I’ve met through her.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
As I wrote in July after breaking my arm, “love isn’t binary, that family isn’t defined by blood, that community isn’t bounded by physical space, and that what you put out into the world will be repaid tenfold if only you’re brave enough to let it.”

See also: 2011

2013 Resolutions

  1. No pants in public. Jenny asked how this counts as a resolution since I’m not inclined to wear pants in general. I said it’s like a social smoker quitting smoking for real. No pants in public except those required for specific fitness activities (yoga, running, biking, etc).*
  2. One really big race: either the Chicago Marathon or a triathlon. Despite the adrenaline of finishing the former with Annette, I’m still unconvinced that I need to do it myself. The latter sounds hard but fun. Or “fun”. So maybe I do an Olympic/international tri, and then run Nat in from mile 18. All the adrenaline, none of the missing toenails.
  3. Ride a goddamned motorcycle. This was on my list of things to do in my 25th year. I’m almost 33.
  4. Get out of debt. I also want to build up my savings, but interest rates are higher on credit than on savings, so debt reduction it is.
  5. Leave the country at least once.
  6. Run 1,000 miles and bike 2,000 miles.**
  7. Figure out this career stuff. I can’t be more specific at the moment, but I want to make this happen.
  8. Keep living with my heart wide open.
  9. Be more like Leslie. Always.

*I enjoy that I will not be wearing pants in public, while Jenny generally doesn’t wear pants in private. Opposite/same!
** Special dispensation will be given for this resolutions in case of injury.

Times I Have Cried: A Midweek Report

1.
Sunday night around 6pm. 1-4 sizable tears barely contained as I turned the key in the ignition and turned my car toward home.

2.
Tuesday early evening on Pershing between the lake and MLK. Tears provoked by a day of exceptional honesty, but brought to fruition by yet another commute straight into the wind on pockmarked roads.

3.
Wednesday morning, 8am. For while one may repeatedly insist that all one wants is to be satisfied and happy, the truth is that one can often find oneself clinging to samsara with a vengeance. This is especially so when one starts to get the sense – however dim – that there might in fact be a way to unloose oneself from the wheel. And the last two minutes of this song in the mist as I walked through Washington Park in the rain.