Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The New Year's Not Quite Lost Its Shine Yet...

Sorry my first post of 2011 is taking place nearly thirteen days into 2011. Also, sorry I totally skipped the month of December. It was a busy time for me and my family, as I'm sure it was for everybody. I am back now, though.

So, some resolutions:

1) Write. One hour at least. Every Day. This will be harder than anything, I think, because of my work schedule being somewhat unpredictable (I don't always punch out at 5), and being a parent. But I'm allowing myself to count writing in either of my blogs, working on the novel, or even doing revision on something old towards that hour. So today, for instance, I've already logged two hours! Sweet deal! Also, I joined a group of fellow writers to meet once a month to workshop each other's stories and talk about the craft, the business or just plain gossip. So that should keep me motivated, too!

2) Get back into the habit of reading books. I started reading Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin about a month after I graduated. That puts me in June of 2009. Here it is January of 2011 and I haven't finished it. Now, just to be fair, I have read other books in that time. I think part of the problem was that I started too soon after graduation. The second half of my last semester of college was jam packed with so much reading, I think I read three novels a week for six weeks straight, and not always novels I would normally pick up if left to my own devices. I was burnt out, and so I had this aversion to reading which still lingers for this novel. Which is a shame, because I actually really like what I've read so far. At this point, though, I think I'll put it down and read some other books before I pick it up and start over from the beginning again.

3) Get back on the bicycle, if only for a little bit each week. Not doing great with this one. The problem is that my muscle memory is still really strong, and I get frustrated easily because I know how I want to ride, and I know I am capable of riding like that. Only, my muscles are not what they were when I was 19, before I got the Mono and lost thirty pounds of muscle mass. An hour on the bike doing two minute wind sprints every ten minutes used to be a very light day for me. Now, it's one of the most painful things I can do (and no, I don't do this, because I am not yet strong enough for it). The fix is that I did sign up for a groupon for a spinning class, I just have to, you know, go and do it. Right now my bicycle is on my stationary trainer in the basement, pointed at the television. Soon, I shall watch Breaking Away or The Road to Paris and get some time spinning. Soon.

4) Cook more meals. From scratch. I know it's super convenient to just pick up something premade from a restaurant or the store, and it's fairly easy to buy one of those meals-in-a-bag or box that you just have to heat in a skillet, and it's less easy but still pretty easy to throw a bunch of canned veggies and beans and stuff into a pot and let it simmer, but I have to tell you, I made up a recipe for Red Beans & Rice (based on a couple I found online) today, and it was just as good as any boxed red beans and rice I've had, but much more satisfactory and without all the sodium. Seriously, look at the ingredients on a can of red beans. Now look at the ingredients in a bag of raw, dry red beans. Yeah...lots of sodium and preservatives in the can. Lots of red kidney beans in the bag. Also, picked up some lentils. Couldn't find any loose chickpeas at the store I went to, I'll probably have to go to a specialty store for those. Got some curry paste. Oh yeah, I'm going to try my hand at some Indian food. Side note: I have heard "Chickpea" used as a term of endearment. I have heard "Garbanzo" used as a derogatory. But...chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing. Makes you wonder, yes?

5) More music. I want to play more music and listen to more music. I got pretty into the music scene last year, but something tells me this year it might be a little harder. But already there's some music coming out this year I've got to get into, like the new Decemberists album The King is Dead or the new one from the Smith Westerns Dye it Blonde. I've actually heard both of these albums already, but I can't do a good deep listen unless, of course, I own them. But, just knowing that they're out there, I will grab them if and when I am able. Oh, yeah, that brings me to my next resolution. But first...The way I've justified buying music in the past year is twofold: one, a lot of the music I acquired last year was either free (following a lot of artists on Facebook leads me to a lot of free downloads, not to mention NPR's frequent free downloads and The Current's free downloadable song of the day) or was a gift (either iTunes gift cards or otherwise). But what little music I did purchase myself I purchased because I wanted to review it on this blog. I am going to set aside some money for Record Store Day 2011 to see if I can get some good deals on some used vinyl and maybe pick up a copy of whatever newest release is burning holes in my ear at that time. So, that brings me to...

6) Cut spending. I've gotten better at this the last few years, but I have to do this in earnest. Part of this will be accomplished by making more dinners at home and having leftovers to take in to work for lunch. Though, that's kind of an even trade, as I intend on not only eating more home cooked meals but for those meals to be healthier, which, as we know, means food will be more expensive, but, again, I'll be spending less on superfluous foods. So, that should even out. Also, sticking to grocery lists and not doing things like impulse buying DVDs off the cheap rack at department stores. Not that I ever do that, said the man with over five hundred titles in his DVD, each purchase has a purpose, a well thought out and motivated reason. No getting distracted by shiny things (that is the watch I've wanted since I first saw it in 2003 so if somebody would just drop $300 in my lap I'd be happy k thanks bye).

The list could go on. There are a few big resolutions that I need time to work on, and that I am not comfortable sharing with my general readership at this time. But I hope to share some day. Don't worry, it's not some deep dark secret that I'm hiding, just some other personal things. You know how it goes.

But as always, I resolve to be the best me I can be. This year, that involves being the best husband, father, and writer that I know I can be. Here's hoping 2011 is a good year for all.

Happy New Year, Readers.


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Molly said...

nothing you write is ever garbanzo, chickpea.

Becca said...

Your resolutions seem quite similar to mine... e.g. save money and read books. Aside from the cooking and writing, and cycling. Although I want to start yoga this year! : D