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.

2011 Resolutions

I usually like to give myself until my birthday to make resolutions and to report in on those from the previous year. This year, however, I’m pretty set on my list, and if I post it today, that gives me almost 13 months to complete the following:

  1. Expand my bread repertoire by baking 2 new types per month.  I can make a solid sandwich loaf, but there are many more loaves to try!
  2. Knit socks.  I’m there.  I can do this.
  3. Run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  If my knee, winter training, or finances prevent this, run at least one 10K.
  4. Continue saving aggressively for a down-payment on a house.  We’re hoping to buy this summer, but it might be advantageous to wait another year, which is why this resolution is ‘save’ not ‘buy’.
  5. Complete the 25 Recipes challenge, in which we attempt to master 25 recipes that we’ve been intending to try.
  6. Learn to accessorize.  I love the look of scarves, jewelry, and all of that, but haven’t spent much time figuring out how to work those things into my wardrobe.
  7. Make a decision about grad school.  Do I need/want more of it? In what field? This decision will largely be influenced on my job situation.
  8. Sock away 3 months’ worth of my half of the household budget (approx $4500).  I worked on this in 2009, was un/underemployed for a few months, and then got a job that pays $15,000 less than I was making when we established our budgets. I’ll be posting about this and other financial goals on How I Am Not Spending Money.  Hopefully extra income from teaching will help with this.
  9. Survive my first semester of teaching.  Can I tell you how intimidated I am about this?  It’s a little paralyzing.
  10. Take a solo trip and a vacation with SB.  We’re thinking Portland or San Francisco, and I’m thinking that my reward for #9 should be a trip to NYC.

What do you want to do in the new year?

25 September 2008

The weather turned cool and rainy today, and SB and I had difficulty getting out of bed as a result.  The last few mornings have been deliciously cool – not so cold that you need a jacket, but cool enough that staying under the thin blankets curled up together seems like a good idea.  We had warm homemade cereal with chopped up bites of apple for breakfast.

I spent pretty close to all day in my office, making progress on assorted things.  This week I’ve had a lot of self-directed time which is a nice change from endless meetings – but also means that I struggle at times to keep motivated or focused or – something.  What’s the word I’m going for?  Yesterday I purged my desk of clutter and made piles organized by project = focus!  In case you’re curious, a few things that I’m working on currently:

  1. An evaluation of statistics tools and processes with the hopeful end result of implementing a consistent (and systematic) workflow in all the public service points.
  2. Transitioning to a different staffing model for our IM service, for which I have basically sole responsibility, having disbanded my committee last week.
  3. Working with other campus units to create library content for the modular University portal site (well, trying to do so).

I battled a throbbing headache all day, then came home a little early and sat with a cup of French press coffee for a bit.  Dinner was perfect for the weather – a sort of cassoulet with from-scratch tomato sauce and tarragon pork sausage.  Rich, flavorful, and filling, though we were snackish later on.  Next time we’ll have some crusty bread and it will be exactly right.

Cookery

I’ve spontaneously made really fantastic meals the last two nights out of things we just had lying around. Last night was chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and seasoned with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a LOT of chives, then baked on parchment paper until awesome, along with a take-and-bake baguette, which is pretty much the best thing ever. Tonight, while waiting for SB to get back from the gym and my LEEP class to start, I poached chicken breasts in leftover spaghetti sauce, seasoned with fresh sage and thyme and enriched with more goat cheese, which we ate with the rest of the bread from last night. About 90% of evenings I just want to order a pizza (tonight included), so making easy but fantastic meals has been a nice change.

I’m currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which I’m really enjoying. It’s less preachy than The Omnivore’s Dilemma, though still pretty self-righteous. The idea of living off the land and/or only eating local is incredibly appealing to me – on the other hand, I just sung the praises of take-and-bake bread from Trader Joe’s. Mainly this book has me craving consistently warm weather so that I can plant pots of things on our balcony (or perhaps in a community garden if we can get a share) and resume our weekend trips to the farmers’ market. Springtime can’t come soon enough.

What have I been up to?

  • Finished up the semester on the 10th, making me a Master of Science. I have one paper to finish for my doc sem, which I haven’t touched since the beginning of the month. Don’t tell Boyd.
  • Spent a week and a half testing, tweaking, and training on our new CMS, which, after two semesters of piloting, goes live for all classes in t-minus 17 days. I’m anxious about the training issues, but cautiously optimistic.
  • Drank a bunch of barium and saw my insides (looking for an ulcer), but haven’t heard anything back yet. The whole procedure was more miserable than any pelvic exam I’ve ever had in terms of the uncaring touches, the lack of explanation for what was going on, the discomfort, and being left uncomfortable, cold, and alone on a weird table for an extended period of time.
  • SB went to Ohio for almost a week to visit his family. Solo time was nice but unproductive, and I was very glad to have him home.
  • Sid continues to be sick. She’s been on antibiotics for 10 days, but they don’t seem to have done much. Baby kittens with their crazy bugs!
  • Went to Rockford for Christmas, spending most of the weekend chilling with my family. I came home with a pile of cookbooks and a new food processor = yay! Photoset here
  • Received a beautiful necklace and perfect stationery, among other fun gifts, from SB. I gave him a Slimmy, a couple of books, and a few other things.
  • Carrie was here for a few days/ It’s always nice to have her around, even though we mainly just veg out. We went to yoga on Wednesday, and I was pleased with my flexibility, though I’m wildly out of shape. She left yesterday afternoon, and now I owe her a visit. She lives in Brooklyn, which I’m sure is wildly more interesting than Champaign.
  • SB and I rode in our first Critical Mass last night. Only six people (including us) came out, but it was nice to start small and be able to ride at a normal pace rather than going v slow with lots of people.
  • SB and I have been taking advantage of a quiet break to do a lot of cooking – some from new cookbooks, others from books we had lying around. In the last two weeks, we’ve made:
      Bourbon Cranberry Sauce for a vegan Hanukkah. We ate this over soy ice cream, but I’m sure it would be equally good over turkey or regular ice cream.
      – Plantain and Corn Soup and Lamb Tagine with Sweet Potatoes from The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook. My first experience working with lamb, though SB did most (OK, almost all) the work. The tagine was incredibly tender and flavorful. The plantain soup took almost no time to make, and was even better the second day.
      Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches and Zucchini Pancakes from The Barefoot Contessa at Home. I added the Barefoot Contessa cookbook to my Amazon wish list primarily so I could remember to buy it for Mom. Instead, she bought it for me, and I’m really glad she did. Roasting the peppers was time consuming but easy, and the payoff (in sandwich form) was awesome. I made the zucchini pancakes for brunch yesterday, and they only reinforced my new love for zucchini – simple, relatively low in fat (a total of 1 T butter and 1 T oil used for the whole recipe, which made 12 pancakes), and very tasty. I’ve marked about half the recipes in the book for later cooking. 🙂
  • I start a work-study at the yoga studio next week. One hour of cleaning per week in exchange for one free class per week. I’m hoping to take two classes this winter/spring, so that will help me save some money!
  • Still not sure our exact plans for New Years, but I’m hoping they’ll involve a few parties and lots of friends

thursday this ‘n’ that

I just rode my bike to school. It is lovely here – 61 and sunny, with a little bit of a breeze. I’m sitting at my desk with a thermos full of lemon ginger tea – my attempt at staving off the bug that is going around. I can’t get sick now – I just don’t have time.

Speaking of bugs – there are bugs in my apartment, and it’s making my skin crawl. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the neatest housekeeper – but I’ve lived in far worse places, and have never had the kind of problems I’m having now. I have tiny ants in my cupboards – apparently a recurring problem – and ickier bugs elsewhere. As much as I like this apartment, I never would have signed a lease had I known this was a problem. I have traps lining my cupboards and floorboards, and I hope that will take care of things.

Bugs and ickiness notwithstanding, last night I made hummus and tabbouleh in my little kitchen from things I had lying around. Shane came over, and we ate everything out of glass bowls with cucumbers, olive oil, and warmed pita. I have a lot of tabbouleh chilling in my fridge, and I’m looking forward to eating more of it tonight.

This has been an exceptionally difficult week for me for a variety of reasons that I’m not going to go into – here, or anywhere else – so please don’t ask. I have a lot on my mind and heart right now as I wrap up a long semester and prepare for a trip that is going to be exhausting and challenging physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The other day my friend Leslie posted a list of songs she’s calling “Hoppity Hop Songs” – songs that evoke some kind of powerful emotion – happiness, sadness, anger, love, frustration – even if they have no logical association with anything that’s happened in her life. They are called “Hoppity Hop Songs” because of her exhilarating memories of her Hoppity Hop toy which she continued to play with long after she’d outgrown it, and which was cruelly taken from her by her parents. Here is one of mine:

Jem- Falling For You (right/command click, save as)