November 1, 2013. Two months left in the year – sixty-one days. The good(?) thing about having a blog is that it can hold the writer accountable. In January, I posted my “rulin’s” for the year, just as Woody Guthrie once did. We are getting close to a point where a pass/fail can be declared, but two months offers opportunity to at least pay attention to some of these things and perhaps sprint towards success. So today, I am looking back at my intentions, recognizing those successes, and looking forward to what I might be able to salvage.
Here were my 33 optimistic rulin’s followed by where I stand with each:
1. Finish writing my book. This is going to be the year.
Oh, what a sweet, optimistic thing I was back in January! Nope, not going to happen. But, I am really pleased with some of the progress that I made, advice I have been given, and even some new connections that I have made. I am hopeful that I am on a roll and that I will use my wonderful pool of advocates to maintain the push on me to get this done.
2. I am going to drink more water. There, I said it.
I kind of think that I have done pretty well on this. I bought a new water bottle for work that I drain once a day. If not always successful, I am certainly more consistent.
3. My gym membership will be used more. I actually had some great momentum going at one time last year. I need to figure out how to gain that back.
Bad news on this one. I had the classic great run at the beginning of the year, but I have petered out terribly. Good news, I found my way back to the gym this week.
4. I will watch less television. Dan and I discussed last night that we would do at least one night a week television free.
We have not had a regular television free night, but it does happen. What I will say on this is that I have refused to pick up new television shows this year. I have my shows that get recorded and that we stay current on. What I tend to do, however, is turn on the television at night, just because. I am pretty sure that I can do better at this!
5. I am going to learn how to dance – my Christmas present from Dan.
We did this! We took our dance lessons and had fun doing it. Dancing – with any kind of expertise – takes practice. We have not done a good job at that, but there are still sixty-one days to make that better!
6. I am going to fit into some of those clothes that I refuse to move out of my closet.
There are still sixty-one days to make this better…
7. I am going to spend time each morning at work, planning my day.
When I do this, I am so grateful. I have tried different versions of planning tools this year. I found these wonderful composition books that I keep as a runner. One is for work, and one is for outside work. My work book has a weekly to-do list that I add to during the week and then transfer undone things to the new week. This has worked pretty well, as has using Wunderlist for master list keeping. I can definitely step up my game on this, but I judge this a partial success.
8. I am going to clean my office at work and keep it organized and inviting.
Again, partial success. It looks like 2014 will see the opportunity to finally move out of our temporary trailer home and into a real building with most of the rest of our department. I am so eager for that to happen. In the meantime, my office continues to be a pretty nice location. I have a great view of the city skyline and I have embellished by walls with fun and colorful posters. Most recently, I strung ribbon near the ceiling and hung pretty postcards from the ribbon using fancy paperclips. Just walking into my office and seeing some of those images makes for a better experience. I am kind of psyched to decorate a new place!
9. I am going to re-up my Mug Club membership because going to lunch at 75th Street every Sunday with Dan is one of the things that makes me happiest.
Perhaps the easiest thing on my list. Done.
10. I am going to learn how to draw Ali’s dog Banjo better so I can write stories about her.
I’ve worked on this, but I need to get back at it. I haven’t nailed her cuteness yet.
11. I am going to send fan mail (real postage stamped mail) once a week to someone I admire. I did this a couple years ago where I sent notes to authors of books I read. It was heartwarming how many wrote back and told me how much my note meant.
I am doing this somewhat. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden got mail from Missouri, as did some authors. This is fun and I want to do better on. And I have some great postcards!
12. I will do what I can to make the possibility of us opening a brewpub one day a reality.
While I haven’t done a whole lot on this front, there have been some great conversations about this and potential for exciting things to be happening in the coming year.
13. I will be a better leader and employee by being more positive and creative.
One thing that I have tried to be this year is a transparent leader. I share what I know almost always. I am honest in my conversations and try to acknowledge when I am wrong and when I just don’t know the answer. I try to laugh and project a positive attitude. I am partnering with a co-worker in initiating some personal development activities for our co-workers. One of them is to show a couple TED talks over the noon hour. We had our first one recently and it went well. This week we start our SEVEN HABITS IN EIGHT MONTHS discussion group. I think that I have done okay on #13.
14. I want to video chat more with Sam and Ali.
We haven’t done this a lot, but we have done it more than we had. I like it very much!
15. Books – love them. I don’t really have to put it on my list because I will always read them, but I do want to read more! Good lord, there are so many wonderful books. Just yesterday, I got one in the mail that I had to order because Sam wrote me an email about how good it is.
My list will probably be shorter than last year, but I have had some winners this year. That book that Sam recommended was John Greene’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS which is a beautiful book about two adolescents falling in love while dealing with their own mortality. I just finished BILLY LYNN’s LONG HALFTIME WALK about Iraqi soldiers being “honored” at a Dallas Cowboys game. Excellent.
16. Magazine – love them too! I have not done a good job keeping up with the wonderful print magazines that come into our house each month. I will do better.
17. Computer – love my computer too, but I spend too much time with it and not enough time with rulin #15 and #16.
Have not done well at this at all. Sixty-one days to do better!
18. Last year I bought the Hugh Acheson cook book and that became my adventure cook book for the year. I didn’t do great with it, but I did okay. I got Girl and Her Pig for Christmas this year. That’s my rulin there.
Miserable failure on this. I have not cooked anything from this delightful book. This will happen.
19. The Italy documentation will be completed. I haven’t updated on this, I know, but I will. I am actually doing okay, but I need it on the list to keep me moving.
While I am not finished, the beautiful album that we brought back is complete, other than some captions. It makes me so happy when I pick it up and move through the page. I have to decide what to do with the left-over photos and other momentos that we brought back. I thought at one time to do an album just of the meals we ate. That may still be an option. Just writing this makes me want to gather everything and look at it. Oh Italy – what a dream come true!
20. Be a better gardener. I planted basil last summer and did not make a single jar of pesto. I think one thing that I need to do is figure out a good watering system.
Not for lack of trying, I had a horrible year for basil. I planted it three times and only towards the end of summer did I really have any plants. I think it may have been a soil issue. The marigold seeds that I thought I planted turned out to be pot marigolds that were very different from my beloved marigolds. They were pretty, but not what I want. Successes were lettuce that was used in salads, lemongrass that was delicious in a few meals, and I have a great stand of chives.
21. Keep a journal better.
Those fun composition books have really worked here. I keep a weekly running page that I have been photographing and using as the header for my “Good Things” post. I also have been writing pretty regularly in my 5-year daily diary.
22. Do the crossword puzzle every day. It keeps your brain fresh!
Not too bad here. One of the things that I do at work is copy off the daily NYT crossword and put it in the kitchen for people to fill in while they are heating up their lunch. I keep a copy for myself. I don’t always get to it, but pretty often.
23. See my friends more, and be better about setting up times.
I will never be perfect at this, but I think I have done okay here. Always can do better.
24. More movies. This is one of those things that I really do think that if I put it down, it will make me go see more movies than if I didn’t.
Sixty-one days to see some of those movies that I really want to see. I need to prepare for Oscar!
25. More live music. Ditto rulin #24
Not great, but not horrible here. We saw some great shows this year. Sallie Ford playing with Thao and the Get Down Stay Downs was super fun. Jim and Micaela getting in the photobooth with Sallie continues to make me laugh. I got to see my man, Jason Isbell and the super delightful, They Might be Giants. We went to hear wonderful Bob Walkenhorst a couple times (should go more), and music at BB’s Lawnside. Already have tickets to see solo Jeff Tweedy next month.
26. Keep up with my Newbery Challenge.
This is my gym reading. When gyming goes by the wayside, so does Newbery. Two months to pick it up.
27. Pick two music albums each month that I really get to know.
I would say that I have done okay on this. I have tried to highlight some albums on my blog that I do get to know. One of the things that I have done lately is to email the artists to tell them that I have done that. It has been sweet to see how many email me back to thank me and tell me that they like my blog.
28. Make a photo album of 100 pictures from 2012, and put the 100 photos from 2011 that I ordered last year into an album.
Success. Again, I need to add some words.
29. Take more pictures.
30. Figure out how to start an Etsy shop. We have some ideas that we have been kicking around and doing some stuff on. Time to get real.
I bought a book about how to do it. Hmm. Probably there is more to it. 🙂
31. Get the attic organized. I made such progress when we got to fill the dumpster, time to make it right.
There are sixty-one days in which I can make good on this.
32. Bring my guitar out of hiding and play it again.
It is out of hiding and I pick it up every now and then. I think I need to restart lessons. That can be a whole new rulin in 2014.
33. Keep Deliberate Obfuscation active and fun for me.
This has definitely been a success. It is weird how fulfilling it is to check my stats and see that people are actually reading.
The 304 days that happened before today have been almost all good for me. I have high hopes for the remaining days of this year, and I am already getting excited about some rulins for 2014. Who else is doing some reflecting as we hit this countdown of the last days of this year?