Looking back at 2014

Let’s start off with a few numbers:

  • Zipcar rentals: 15
  • Untappd badges unlocked or leveled up at least once: 31 (I don’t know how many times I leveled up that stupid “you drank an American beer” badge.)
  • Workouts & bike rides: 107  
  • Jars canned: 70
  • Miles on the bike: 69.4 (I think there are some farmer’s market trips that didn’t get entered)
  • Steps on my Fitbit: 2,641,742 (1,181.31 miles)

And how did I do on the goals I set for myself for the year? Not great, but that’s OK. It was a fun year!

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Goals for 2014

I’ve been mulling over the goals I’d like to set for 2014, and what I’ve wound up with is a bit of a hodgepodge. Last year I was very much into quantifying things; this year it’s a bit fuzzier, and I suppose in a way it’s just going into the year with a few things I want to focus on.

Reading – For the last few years, I’ve participated in the Goodreads Challenge, where you set a goal for a number of books you want to read throughout the year, and the site tracks your progress. In January of 2013, I decided that instead of setting a numerical goal in 2014, I’d make it a year of re-reading things. Throughout the year I tracked things that occurred to me as good candidates for a re-read, and thought about whether I wanted to tack a numerical goal onto this. I’ve decided not to, though at the moment there are, conveniently, 12 things on the list. Some of the books are things I’ve read recently, and others it’s been a long while; there’s one that I read as an audiobook that I think I’d like better in print. I’m keeping this flexible – I may read all of these, or I may read some and re-read others that aren’t on the list at the moment.

Fitness – I ended 2013 on a good note, thanks mainly to a three-week bootcamp I participated in through my yoga studio. I worked hard with a great instructor, and saw excellent results, which was really motivating. I hope to participate in the bootcamp again in 2014. And I definitely plan to keep up my good habits! In a normal week, my schedule builds in 4 classes (yoga, pilates or resistance bands) without any special accommodation. I also now have two different workouts I can do at home, so I have no excuses for when I miss or skip a workout. I have been slightly derailed by a cold I brought back from California, but I’m still trying to keep things up, at least a little, until I’m better.

Hostessing – Over a year ago, I had what I thought was a great idea for a way to bring my friends together in small groups every month or six weeks. I never did get that off the ground – one thing led to another, and my weekends filled up. But I do enjoy hosting people and managed to have a couple of small groups over last year. I want to try to make a point of doing this more frequently this year. I have lots of great menu ideas, and have put together a small collection of fun party games.

Making – I feel like I made a lot less stuff in 2013, though I did finish up a couple of sewing projects that had been languishing, and heaven knows I did enough canning. But I’d like to make more things in 2014 – whether it’s through photography, or sewing, or something else. I briefly considered doing a “make something every day” challenge, but I think that would quickly get overwhelming.

I recently got a second floor lamp for the living room, so I’ll have better light to sew in the evening on my work at home days. I’m also doing another picture-a-day challenge (last time I did this was in 2008, my first year in Maryland). So far they are all from my cell phone camera, which is not that great. The initial idea was that I’d use my camera more, but I’m also not going to cart my D40 around on a daily basis. So, maybe this is more of a “pay attention to the things around you” sort of thing. We’ll find out. Anyway, here’s the album on flickr. If nothing else I at least need to be better about getting photos I do take with my camera up onto flickr, because in going through some things in the last couple of days I have found several groups of photos that never made it farther than my hard drive. Oops.

Looking Back at 2013

For a couple of years now, I’ve done a list-style update, but I’m not really feeling that for 2013. But I do like the random statistics I’ve pulled in the past, so I’m repeating that here:

  • Zipcar rentals: 10
  • Foursquare badges unlocked or leveled up: 21
  • Pilates and yoga workouts: 114
  • Jars canned: 74 (that wound up in my pantry, at least. I helped with a lot more.)
  • Miles on the bike: 78.95
  • Steps since getting my fitbit on 6/20: 1,481,512 (660.19 miles)

I set a few goals for myself for 2013. Here’s how I did:

Read 70 books. Not quite – I read 55.

Do more yoga and pilates. I quantified this as 30 classes per quarter (the rationale here was that with work-related travel, setting a monthly goal would, in some months, set me up for failure). I was close in the first quarter, with 27. Second and third quarters of the year, I was a ways off, with 17 classes each quarter. But in the last quarter of the year I ramped it back up and hit 53! Taking an average, I got 28.5 classes per quarter, which is pretty close to my goal. The stellar number from the final quarter is in part due to a three-week stretch when I was in a boot camp and working out 7 times a week. That was particularly great as it got me back into some good habits and routines around working out, and I’ve been pretty good at doing at home workouts occasionally.

Cook from my cookbooks. This I set at two recipes from a cookbook each month. I hit a total of 16 over the course of the year, with 12 of them being cooked in the first four months. What derailed this progress was summer produce season, when I have a lot of veggies coming in from the farmer’s market and my farm share. This means there’s a lot of free-form cooking, and also a lot of searching the internet to see what I can do with a particular veggie. Overall this did get me using my cookbooks more, so that’s good.

I’m thinking of signing up for Eat Your Books, which creates an online index of your cookbooks. For only $25 a year it’s probably worth it for me. I think I might also need to find a new place to save my online recipes, as delicious seems to be buggy and with a smallish active user base (at least for recipes) that makes me wonder how long it can hang on. I know everyone is doing this stuff on Pinterest now but I don’t want the visuals – I just want to be able to scan a list and use some sort of categorization or tagging system. If you have recommendations, let me know.

Goals for 2013

I’ve never been much of one for making resolutions, but I do have a few goals for 2013. In the spirit of accountability via peer pressure, and in no particular order, here’s what I’m going to try to do in 2013. To keep track of things, I’ve added a page here.

Read 70 books. This should be pretty easy! I read 64 in 2012, so this is a modest increase and works out to just shy of 6 books per month, or 1.3 per week.

Do more yoga and pilates. In 2012 I averaged just over 2 workouts a week, or about 9 per month. But through July, I was doing more than the year’s average – things significantly dropped off in August, when I started having some strange neck and shoulder pain, and the carpal tunnel started to make itself known. I was back up to more like normal in September, but then things were way down in October, as the combination of aches and pains and dark mornings kept me away from most of my classes. I started trying to get back into my good habits in November and December, but it was hard with the disruption of the holidays. I knew that these workouts were good for my back, but that was really brought home in the last quarter of the year, when my back pain started to come back. In 2013 I’m going to set a goal of attending at least 30 classes per quarter. This will be a short enough time period to track (as opposed to a full year) but is long enough that it should enable me to still meet that goal in months when I’m traveling.

Cook from my cookbooks. This might not seem like much of a goal, but I have a lot of great cookbooks and I should use them more! It’s easy to quickly find a recipe by searching my bookmarks or turning to Google, but I have been trying to get in the habit of checking my cookbooks first when I’m looking for something in particular, and I’ve found some great dishes that way. This year I’d like to make a point of making two recipes from my cookbooks each month.

Looking Back at 2012

Last year I did a list-style update that I thought was a nice way to recap the year. I’m repeating it this year, starting off again with some random statistics:

  • Bouts Officiated: 19
  • Zipcar Rentals: 27
  • Foursquare Badges Unlocked or Leveled Up: 30
  • Dailymile Workouts: 143
  • Jars canned: 104
  • Miles on the bike: 97.97

Overall it was a good year, but the theme was “life is expensive.” There was the crazy high electric bills at my old apartment, I moved again, there were problems with my student loan payments, some trips that I didn’t plan for at the start of the year, and I bought a new setup for working at home sooner than I’d planned. I just kept reminding myself that this is why I have a savings account. I somehow managed not to touch my emergency fund, though the student loan payment problems made me start thinking about it.

I’m also still trying to adjust to the higher rent at my new apartment – the student loan payment problems threw me for a loop at the end of the year, and I won’t really know what my 2013 take home pay looks like for a few more weeks. Everything is – and will be – fine. I wasn’t eating ramen for weeks on end nor did I have to turn down invitations just to save a few bucks, and I was grateful for that. Had any of this happened to me a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to absorb the costs. Hopefully 2013 will be a bit more predictable, financially.

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On Not Having Children

Still, I’m one of those people who gaze at every single baby photo on Facebook. It’s not that I hate children; that’s just not the life that I want. When my first really good friend had her baby, I cried out of sheer joy for her. But it actually strengthened my feelings about not wanting to have children because I felt overwhelming pride for her but no jealousy.

Five women on their decisions not to have children.





Announcing: The Salon

No, not a place to get a haircut.

A place to gather and meet new people. A place to enjoy good food, and good drink, and good conversation. A social event to hopefully push you a little bit out of your usual routine. A salon.

Every few weeks I’ll host a small gathering of people. Brunch, cocktails, cheese tasting, whatever. Maybe there will be board games. Maybe someone will share some photos they took, or a quilt they made, or something else they created. Maybe after a while we’ll all leave together to go out to some event in the city.

The fun part is that I’m not going to try to curate the guest list. I’m going to put together a list of people who are interested in attending, in general. Then I’ll choose a date and time, and send an email to everyone. The first few people to respond and say that they can attend, will get to attend. Everyone else will have to hope for better luck next time.

Interested? Get on the list.*


*I reserve the right to not actually put you on the list if I don’t know you in real life, or for any other reason that I see fit. After all, if I wouldn’t invite you into my home if I was setting the guest list, you aren’t getting in just because I posted something online.