Monday.

I haven’t kept up with the things I’ve been meaning to keep up with here. For example:

  • The new recipes we tried in May and June through the haze and hubbub of downsizing, moving, unpacking, and conference travel.
  • The races I ran back in April
  • The toddler’s latest obsessions
  • The books I’ve been reading (because I’ve actually been reading!)

I don’t have time or head/heart-space to do most of this justice right now, but I can do a quick mid-year check in on my 2017 resolutions:

  1. Eliminate credit card debt.
    Done. We hit our savings back in February to make this happen, and have been paying off balances each month. We’re still using our cards more than I would like, and are repaying our savings more slowly as a result, but we’re making it happen (and earning some travel points along the way).
  2. Take action every week.
    No, and I feel terribly guilty about that. At some point the many-times-daily asks for money overwhelmed me, and lacking an immediate way to prioritize, I shut down. I’m trying to get back in the swing of things.
  3. Finish Brain Pickings book club list.
    This has been so much fun so far! I don’t expect that we’ll read all 16 books, but that’s just fine with me.
  4. Incorporate professional development into my schedule.
    I’ve gone to conferences, but that’s about it.
  5. Finish weaning.
    We’re in the final throes of night weaning right now. We had planned to do this months ago, but it didn’t happen, and then we were moving and didn’t push it, and then it sort of organically happened around my work trip. Progress!
  6. PR at any distance.
    destroyed my 5K PR back in April, then ran a painful half marathon the next morning. A PR at both distances was within reach, but I have no regrets about letting the second one go because the first one was so huge for me!
  7. More regular visits with family.
    This one is happening! We’ve seen my family about once/month, including a trip to Iowa for my grandma’s 99th birthday in May.
  8. At least two blog posts/month.
    I managed to keep up with this until last month. Not bad!
  9. Try at least four new recipes/month.
    We’re still doing relatively well at this one. My parents gifted us with a Blue Apron gift certificate to help take some hassle out of moving meals, so that’s been a nice infusion of ideas. (We have free meal codes if anyone wants to try the service.)
  10. Make time for monthly dates.
    Thanks to the extreme generosity of our friends and my mom, we’ve been able to go out a few times, though definitely not every month. It’s progress!
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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.

2016 Resolution Reckoning

I only managed one quarterly check-in this year. Let’s see how I did with the rest:

1. More letters. I’m aiming for a letter each week.

I finished the year averaging just over one/week. Many of those were thank you notes, but they were hand written and went out on nice stationery with a stamp, so there.

2. More books. 16 sounds like a nice round number.

Not so much. I finished 5.

3. More miles. Barring injury, I’m aiming for 750 running and 2000 biking. I also really want this to be my marathon year, but I’ve said that before…

I didn’t come close to my biking goal, but I blew my running goal out of the water: 1000 miles for the year and my first marathon.

4. More movies. We saw a grand total of 6 last year. 12 seems possible.

Hilarious. I finished 3, maybe 4 movies the entire year.

5. Less meat. I’m not ready (or interested, really) in going back to being vegetarian, but I am interested in expanding my repertoire of meat-free meals, particularly since Nicolas has been pescatarian for nearly a year.

This definitely happened. Nicolas still eats fish but generally avoids all other animal products these days, so our diet is dramatically different than it used to be. In November, I fell in love with the My New Roots cookbook, which has been a game changer. I’m looking forward to more vegan-mostly cooking adventures in the new year.

6. Less debt. We’re on track to pay off all of my debt by the end of the year. I really want to make that happen.

Oh ho ho. Instead of eliminating debt, we bought a new car! My student loans are gone, so that’s something.

7. Less complaining.

8. Less guilt and regret.

A work in progress. For the rest of my life.

Q1 Resolutions in Review

A new post in a new location! I moved my blog from my own domain to WordPress about a month ago, but this is the first actual post over here. Please update your feed readers, assuming you still use such a thing!

1. More letters.
I’m keeping up with my goal of one letter/week, but they’ve mostly been thank you notes. (I need to write more thank you notes as well.)

2. More books.
1/16 completed. Not great, but not too far behind.

3. More miles.
Running: 161/750 completed. I entered the Chicago marathon lottery in March, and am running the Illinois Half I-Challenge at the end of April. Running is feeling really good. I like my current training program, and my current running routes. I need to be more consistent about long runs, but the combination of winter and sickness has made this difficult.
Biking: 94/2000 completed. I just haven’t felt like riding lately. I’m not sure why that is.

4. More movies.
1/12 watched, but it was a big one! We took the baby to see Star Wars in the theater. He was unphased by the noise or explosions, but he definitely didn’t like the non-human creatures.

5. Less meat.
N is working on perfecting briami and the eggplant sauce from a favorite Italian restaurant. I’m playing with Persian food and crusty rice for bi bim bap. I don’t know that I’m eating less meat, but I am enjoying exploring vegetarian cooking.

6. Less debt.
We have a substantial amount of travel coming up in the next six months, including an extended trip to Belgium, so I don’t think that we’ll pay off all of my debt, but we’re making steady progress, which feels good.

7. Less complaining.
8. Less guilt and regret.
Works in progress, always.

2016 Resolutions

1. More letters. I’m aiming for a letter each week.

2. More books. 16 sounds like a nice round number. I’m on track to finish my first this weekend.

3. More miles. Barring injury, I’m aiming for 750 running and 2000 biking. I also really want this to be my marathon year, but I’ve said that before…

4. More movies. We saw a grand total of 6 last year. 12 seems possible.

5. Less meat. I’m not ready (or interested, really) in going back to being vegetarian, but I am interested in expanding my repertoire of meat-free meals, particularly since Nicolas has been pescatarian for nearly a year.

6. Less debt. We’re on track to pay off all of my debt by the end of the year. I really want to make that happen.

7. Less complaining. This might be the hardest resolution on this list.

8. Less guilt and regret. This one is hardest to quantify, but I’m pretty over beating myself up about things I can’t control, or things that aren’t mine to begin with.

2015 Resolutions in Review

While I didn’t knock any of these out of the park, I made diligent progress on six out of eight, and made responsible decisions to postpone the remaining two. Hooray for adulting!

The fun:
1. Run a marathon.
I struggled with letting this one go for a couple of months, but it just wasn’t feasible for me or my family this year.
2. Read 12 non-parenting books.
Once I gave in and started reading exclusively on my phone, I found that I was actually able to read more – a few pages here and there while waiting in line, pumping, on the train, putting the baby to bed. I finished 9 books – short of my goal, but a very good showing, particularly since at least 3 of those were monsters.
3. Complete 12 more items on my Chicago Bucket List.
I managed 3: Calumet Fisheries, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and a new street fair (Fiesta del Sol). Not bad.
4. Keep a journal.
I kept up with a daily journal through the end of August, then made the fairly deliberate choice to quit during a very bleak period of sleep deprivation and other challenges that I frankly didn’t want to remember. I’m glad that I kept up a journal as long as I did, and am also very OK with quitting.

The practical:
5. Rebuild my savings.
We decided to prioritize debt reduction this year. It was more than a little scary to let go of my personal safety net and trust Nicolas’s, but it was the right choice for us right now.
6. Reduce debt.
Thanks to an error in my deductions that went unnoticed for 10 months, I had a huge financial windfall towards the end of the year that helped knock a big chunk off of my debt. We’re now on track to paying off all of my debt by the end of 2016, if not earlier.
7. Take better care of my skin.
I have been diligent about cleansing and moisturizing, though less so about sunscreen. Baby steps.
8. Start flossing.
While I can’t say that flossing has become a daily habit, I’m flossing much more regularly than before, to the delight of the dentist and the hygienist.

2015 Q2 Report

It’s July 3, which means it’s time to revisit my specific and measurable resolutions for 2015. And good god, I haven’t posted in 3 months.

As we enter the second half of the year, I want to renew my focus on taking care of my body. Between family responsibilities, work, vacation, and other scheduling things, it’s been very hard to get workouts in, and very easy to stick to comfort foods. This is less specific and measurable than I’d like, but it’s a start.

Read 12 non-parenting books: Around mid-May, I realized I could read on my phone while nursing or holding the baby. Amazing! Since then, I’ve finished three books: After Birth (Elisa Albert), So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Jon Ronson), and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo). I liked the first, loved the second, and was somewhat transformed by the third.

Complete 12 more items on my Chicago Bucket List. A couple of months ago, I piled in a car with a couple of friends and their colleagues and trekked down to Calumet Fisheries for lunch. On the way back to the office, the car reeking of fried things, I remembered it was on my bucket list!

Keep a journal. Still going strong. I’m behind, but I’m keeping on it.

Reduce debt. We’re just back from vacation, so it’s not the best time to talk about debt. Slow but steady downward motion.

Take better care of my skin. Moisturizing has more or less gone out the window with the arrival of summer. I can’t bear the thought (or feeling) of anything on my skin when it’s so hot and sweaty. I had been doing pretty well at moisturizing at night. I should get back to that. And let’s not talk about the sunburn I got in San Francisco over the weekend.

Start flossing. Success! The dental assistant said that flossing is making a HUGE difference, that it’s really noticeable. Hooray for adulting!