June Check in (or: oh shit, the year’s half gone)

Hey, it’s been awhile…let’s check in on ye olde resolutions.

  1. Drink more water. Still still still no.
  2. Sleep at least 6 hours per night. Still no. This is getting better-ish, though, as a few major committee obligations have wrapped up and everyone shifts gears into the generally more low-key summer pace of life. 
  3. Aim for 7. NOPE.
  4. Exercise 5 days per week. Absolutely no success here, until this weekend, when we walked to the pool and swam twice. Now, this was bobbing about in the shallow end, not laps or anything, but I did a lot of moving around this weekend, and it felt good. At a doctor’s appt a few weeks ago I expressed my concerns and dismay about this and she basically gave me absolution, like, if I’m not already doing this because it’s personally important to me, I need to be realistic about the fact that I’m probably not going to suddenly start going to the gym five days a week, and just focus on moving more, as much as I can. Feels like a cop out, but also feels like a relief to hear someone say, “look, you work full time, you have a two year old, don’t lie awake feeling guilty because you’re not following the generic universal guidelines for cardio.” That’s not to say that this is an excuse, or it’s impossible to do–of course many working parents run marathons (including some readers of this blog). But whatever. I’m not right now, and I can and should focus on smaller steps, and not get so overwhelmed and discouraged I abandon all hope. 
  5. Eat more vegetables. Keep this up OK, though my love affair with roasting is less appealing as it gets hotter and hotter in my a/c free house. Next step: get the grill out and working? 
  6. Be kinder to my spouse. Feels like this is going well lately. 
  7. Be less rigid.
  8. Have more fun.
  9. Roll with the punches.
  10. Take the long view. Everything is temporary. Everything can change. Indeed, everything will change, whether I want it to or not.
  11. Take myself as seriously as I expect other people to take me (like, carry business cards and shit). I still really struggle with OWNING my stuff, preferring to see myself as a marginal helper on everything that I’m responsible for. Think about that later. 
  12. But also take stuff in general less seriously.
  13. But also do not become complacent/paralyzed/apathetic re: the world/our nation/social justice. I’m glad I set up all those monthly donations because it means I’m contributing *something* to the overall good even as I’m doing shit all else–which, alas, does continue to be the case. 
  14. Just keep grieving. Getting over the one year mark was fascinating because because I felt, like, a physical weight lift. It’s not like it made everything go away–far from it–but it somehow felt like permission to have hold this at the top of everything in my mind and heart. The Victorians knew what they were about, maybe. 
  15. Pull my weight re: nurturing friendships; do my fair share of organizing, hosting, prodding, reaching out, reminding, and lowering the overhead as much as possible for busy people to spend good time together. Yeah! Starting last week we launched Welzillian Wednesdays, open cocktails/snacks on our back patio on Wednesday evenings after L goes to bed. Now, we’ll just wait and see if anyone shows. 
  16. Participate in the weekly Sunday night potluck dinner organized by a former neighbor at least quarterly. Aim for monthly. Goal retired.
  17. Cook more real food for dinner at my house. Doing OK–probably 2-3 properly homemade meals per workweek, mixed in with 1-2 more semi-homemade/prepared dishes. As the weather gets warmer we eat lots more salads, and experiment with interesting ones, which is good all around and always feels like an easy, low-prep meal except for all the goddamn chopping. 
  18. Eat dinner as a family, at the table. Last time I checked in on these I was happy to abandon this goal–just for this brief stage of life– in favor of a relaxing evening enjoying my dinner. But now that she’s getting older and the days are getting longer (at this time of the year in Michigan it’s like until like 9:30) she’s staying up later. I think SK would like us to use this to eat together more. But from my POV, it’s still just as difficult to prep food and simultaneously chase her, and we still wind up having to leave half eaten food on the table when she can’t make it through the meal. It doesn’t solve any of the problems, just means we can’t eat until like 9 p.m. I’m feeling very protective of my extremely limited time to just chill and eat, the summer transition is becoming a problem for me. 
  19. Make time to speak with my mom at least weekly, more if possible. Yeah.
  20. Make time to speak to my aunt and my grandma at least monthly, more if possible. I haven’t kept up well with this. My grandma is now in the hospital post-surgery and my aunt is totally drained from care-taking, so I need to step up here. 
  21. Curtail Facebook usage (unless actually writing meaningful messages to the above or others) NOPE.
  22. Blog more. Meh. I guess monthly re-hashes are better than nothing? 
  23. Write more letters. Not yet. But my desk is all set up with my stamps and my address book and everything! 
  24. Make a weekend with Kelsey and Robyn happen.
  25. Visit my aunt and grandma in Denver .
  26. Get my high school girlfriends to Michigan for a visit. It’s booked!
  27. Take one awesome, adventurous, ambitious family vacation. It’s booked! Roma, here we come! 
  28. Make our bedroom a nice, warm, comfortable, functional, attractive, calming, intentional place to be, rather than the garbage pile where we hide everything that we don’t want anyone else to see. Paint. Window treatments. Closet. A bed. OK, as of like a week ago our bed is finally finished being built/hacked (it has a storage headboard that mounts to the wall, but we had to cut some rather ugly notches into it to fit around a windowsill. It’s IKEA, it’s fine). It’s super functional and having this done is prompting us forward…..slowly. 
  29. Renovate our kitchen. NOPE.
  30. Establish a personal desk/table/corner/space for my crafts/personal projects/special off-limits pens/whatever YES, DONE, AND IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE! 
  31. When not on vacation/sick/out of the office, respond to email within 48 hour. LOL 
  32. Fix our goddamn roof. YES DONE! (Now just to fix/clean up the interior wall/ceiling that got all fucked up from the water)
  33. Obtain access to a functional and comfortable bicycle. NOPE
  34. Create playroom space in our basement. NOPE
  35. Swimming lessons for Liddie. NOPE, but we have taken her to the pool and she LOVES it, and we’re working on going underwater, kicking her feet, etc. I know that proper swimming lessons would be a really, really good idea, too, but I feel like we are taking big steps to get her comfortable and safe in the water. 
  36. Take Liddie ice skating. NOPE
  37. Help my mom move out of our family home. Ease this transition as much as possible with significant practical and emotional support, i.e. a substantial stay with her this spring.  Cry as much as needed. Do not withdraw, do not fail to show up for this. I’ve made three weekend trips in favor of this cause already. This weekend is *finally* the “real” move, and I wasn’t going to go because she had other help lined up, but that has fallen through for various awful emergency reasons, so now I’m trying to see if I can….
  38. Cruise on my brother’s schooner!!! Booked for Labor Day weekend!
  39. Make regular donations to worthy causes. Ongoing.
  40. Visit with Liddie’s birthmother in person at least once. Aim for three times. We have had some contact via text and agreed to a plan, but have yet to schedule it–I think this will be the hard part…
  41. Do something fun on purpose for my birthday. YES! Over the weekend Kelly, Mallory, and I went to East Lansing to see Fun Home–which I am still thinking about constantly–and enjoyed a sushi feast with tasty cocktails to boot. Good birthday. Alos, on my actual birthday, I told L. what day it was and completely unprompted she started singing to me, so, best present ever. Goal complete. 
  42. Participate in the neighborhood yard sale. Done, though not as spectactularly successful as in years past. We made a dent in the stuff in the basement, and then the next day realized that we completely forgot to put out a stupid chair and lamp that are taking up a huge amount of space in the basement. I really, really don’t want to hold them till next year, so maybe we’ll just put them on the curb. Goal complete. 
  43. Go to the beach. House booked for family beach vacation the weekend before July 4. 
  44. Find a way that also works for spouse to regularly schedule to space and time to myself that does not involve staying up puttering until 1 a.m.: mental health days, Saturday mornings out, whatever. This has stagnated and it shows…. 
  45. Set up auto-pay or reminders as appropriate to pay all bills on time. This really remains more of an issue than it should be. 
  46. Clean house more consistently. Sweep, vacuum and bathrooms weekly, that would be  a significant improvement and good enough. Nope. Has completely fallen off a cliff.
  47. See more movies in the theater. Enough movies that I’m not devastated every time I manage to go and it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I love going to the movies. It brings me joy and it is probably the number one thing that I used to do a lot of and now do practically none of. Saw Wonder Woman, which  makes….two movies in a theater so far this year? At least I liked both of them, which is a lot of progress over 2016. 
  48. See at least one live theater performance. YUP–Fun Home, as above. I absolutely loved it and feel every human should see it. Was hoping to also take my mom to My Fair Lady at the Lyric Opera, but that didn’t quite work out. Will try to be more proactive about looking for more opportunities, but technically, goal complete. 
  49. Have a big-ass Christmas tree. Brought back an artificial tree from my mom’s house. I don’t think it’s that big, but at least we’ll definitely have a full size tree this year. And it was free, so that’s cool. I love decorating a Christmas tree, so looking forward to it. 

Almost halfway through the year, I’ve made progress on many. 8/49 are fully completed. Many more than that have significant progress, or are open-ended in such a way that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to call them done. Tolerable.

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Resolutions–January Review

Well, January felt like the longest month of all months ever. How are things going, resolution-wise? Exactly one thing actually crossed off the list. But progress on some others, and absolutely no progress on other others. Not a terrible start to the year!

  1. Drink more water. This lasted about a week. Now I’m back to my usual dehydrating schedule of gallons of daily coffee. More water necessary. I definitely notice that on the days where I don’t drink enough water, getting through the evening commute/dinner hour/bedtime is rough–I get hangry and light-headed. 
  2. Sleep at least 6 hours per night. See below. 
  3. Aim for 7. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! NOPE. Well, I’m alternating. Work has been busy and I’ve been up crazy late, way too often. Plus reading Twitter and fretting about the state of the world. I do this for about a week in a row until I’m completely exhausted and then go to bed freakishly early on alternate weeks. As usual, I’ve got to get back on a more moderate, regular schedule. 
  4. Exercise 5 days per week. See above.
  5. Eat more vegetables. We’re doing it! See below. Still not as many as we should or could be eating, but there has been a real, significant uptick in the volume of fresh vegetables consumed. 
  6. Be kinder to my spouse. I try to observe and appreciate *everything,* not take anything for granted, and verbally thank as much as possible. Whether in general I’m in a more friendly mood overall, not so sure. But I am trying to be proactively more gracious and appreciative. 
  7. Be less rigid. Eh….
  8. Have more fun. Eh….
  9. Roll with the punches. Eh…..
  10. Take the long view. Everything is temporary. Everything can change. Indeed, everything will change, whether I want it to or not. It’s hard to take the long view when the last two weeks has felt like ten years. Will keep trying. 
  11. Take myself as seriously as I expect other people to take me (like, carry business cards and shit). I think I am doing this. I’m assuming, for example, that I’m not dispensable or an accessory at things, and taking my attendance and contributions and leadership appropriately seriously, and I think it’s making a real difference. Bit by bit. So, I will keep it up. 
  12. But also take stuff in general less seriously. Eh….
  13. But also do not become complacent/paralyzed/apathetic re: the world/our nation/social justice. I stalled out after Thanksgiving and it took until the travel ban to really get jump-started again. We marched in our little city on Jan 21 and that was great and important and galvanizing but let’s be honest, it was also largely a feel-good thing (if also a visibility thing). It wasn’t until I woke up last Saturday morning and read all the travel ban stuff that I got back on the phone with my representatives. I also spent about an hour digging about the Department of Homeland Security website until I found an appropriate number to call and complain, and I shared it with a few folks, who shared it with a few groups, and I know word got out to others. I don’t even know if it was the right number, but I did *something*, and the something had ripple effects. After the election, before Thanksgiving, the idea of having only one action a week felt absurd and not enough. And it probably isn’t enough. But now, now that we’re in it, for the long hall, holding myself to one concrete action a week means I’m *taking* one action a week, and it may help stretch out my stamina to stay in this, as long as we need to. So, trying to stay engaged, but also pace myself. 
  14. Just keep grieving. I feel like Trump has pulled me out of my grief slump kinda the same way WWII pulled America out of the Great Depression. Like, suddenly something so much bigger, requiring everyone to rally and work together and combine resources, has come into being, and as Enjolras put it, our littlel lives don’t count at all. But also: In January we had my aunt’s birthday, Liddie’s birthday, my grandma’s birthday, and my dad’s birthday, in that order. He had a huge sweet tooth, and I made a batch of double chocolate cupcakes–the same ones we had for his 60th birthday–to honor the day.
  15. Pull my weight re: nurturing friendships; do my fair share of organizing, hosting, prodding, reaching out, reminding, and lowering the overhead as much as possible for busy people to spend good time together. Yeah! I’ve re-instated a weekly ice skating lunch with a good friend, hosted a book club meeting, and organized a trip to see a play with friends in June. Doin’ it! Will keep it up!
  16. Participate in the weekly Sunday night potluck dinner organized by a former neighbor at least quarterly. Aim for monthly. Our neighbors are valiantly continuing to host this meal on a weekly basis, and we haven’t gone yet. By Sunday night we’re usually just feeling so tired and anti-social we’re not really up for anything. Will continue to try. 
  17. Cook more real food for dinner at my house. We’re doing it! But, it’s hard to say if it’s worth it. What does “worth it” even mean? These evenings are rough, and cooking with toddlers is rough. I used to think it was just an unfortunate coincidence that everyone I knew who had a bad accident in the kitchen had small children. Ha. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. This WEEK alone, I burned my arm pretty badly and cut my finger. I admit that I *have* really been enjoying eating more actual, whole foods and fresh vegetables. Food tastes better and I appreciate it more. Will try to keep this up However, it turns out to be in conflict with the following: 
  18. Eat dinner as a family, at the table. Yeah! Kinda sorta. We’re doing it more than we ever did before, and it’s great! We like it, and Liddie likes it too! She now always tries to get us to sit down with her before she will eat. But cooking *and* eating together is hard. We did it for a week or so and her bedtime kept getting pushed later and later and later. I feel like we need to figure out some kind of balance between nights where she eats with us, but we have a super easy dinner, and nice where we cook something a little more involved and eat after she goes down. But *then* we achieve the goals of cooking more and eating together more, but we don’t have a predictable routine for the girl, and that’s something she likes and needs. *shrug.* So much of working + adulting + parenting = can’t win/do what you need to get by. 
  19. Make time to speak with my mom at least weekly, more if possible. We’re both sick and tired a lot, but we’re doing it! 
  20. Make time to speak to my aunt and my grandma at least monthly, more if possible. Well we’re only a month in, and I have talked to my grandma on the phone once and Skyped with my aunt with Liddie. So I guess technically I haven’t fallen behind yet, though I don’t feel like I’m doing much to reach out and be supportive. Keep it up, self, and don’t fall behind. 
  21. Curtail Facebook usage (unless actually writing meaningful messages to the above or others) That’s a big NOPE. I even blocked it from my work computer–and then unblocked it after two days. 
  22. Blog more. Not yet…
  23. Write more letters. Not yet….see below: at some point I’ll unpack my stationery, pens, and address book and then I’ll get on with things. And I just wrote my first postcard of the year! (it’s to a friend, not a political protest) Now to actually mail it….
  24. Make a weekend with Kelsey and Robyn happen. Yes! It’s happening! It’s booked! First weekend together in like ten years. I can’t wait! I’ll officially cross it off the list after it happens. 
  25. Visit my aunt and grandma in Denver Yup!–I’ll tack this on to the front of the weekend with Kelsey and Robyn. But, this is only a half success, I’d say: I’m not bringing Liddie on this trip, which will leave everyone in the family unsatisfied. 
  26. Get my high school girlfriends to Michigan for a visit. No plans yet. 
  27. Take one awesome, adventurous, ambitious family vacation. No plans yet. First concrete step: get Liddie a passport. I’m irrationally paranoid about doing this because I’m somehow afraid that the record of her birth certificate–literally the only evidence that we are family–will somehow disappear in the process, or that something will go terribly wrong. Need to just get on with it, as it will open up our options so much! Also to be prepared in case of emergency bug-out. 
  28. Make our bedroom a nice, warm, comfortable, functional, attractive, calming, intentional place to be, rather than the garbage pile where we hide everything that we don’t want anyone else to see. Paint. Window treatments. Closet. A bed. OK. We have a bed. It’s 90% assembled–the last step is going to be a stupid doozy. And no progress on anything else. 
  29. Renovate our kitchen. No progress. I’m coming around to really liking some parts of our kitchen. Other parts (portable dishwasher that connects to sink, flat white cupboards that show every single stain and grease spot) I am SO done with. I also feel wary, like, we shouldn’t spend so much money with the way the world is right now. I’d rather have savings in the bank and not luxuriate/spoil ourselves when the world is so rough. I don’t know. We’ll see. 
  30. Establish a personal desk/table/corner/space for my crafts/personal projects/special off-limits pens/whatever. Well, the table is ready, but covered with junk. Oh man, keeping surfaces free of garbage/other people’s mail takes such freaking EFFORT. I have an empty set of plastic drawers set up under the table. Next step: unpack all my desk stuff from the old house. I still have no stationary, pens, stamps, my address book, etc., at hand. 
  31. When not on vacation/sick/out of the office, respond to email within 48 hours. I think I’m getting better, but how can one know for sure? Just kidding. I know one can know for sure. I think to test myself on this it would be a good idea to put some kind of alert on emails that haven’t been dealt after 48 hours. 
  32. Fix our goddamn roof. YES DONE! One actual task checked off the list!
  33. Obtain access to a functional and comfortable bicycle. No progress. 
  34. Create playroom space in our basement. No progress. Jeez, the basement is still half full of packed boxes from moving. 
  35. Swimming lessons for Liddie. No progress. 
  36. Take Liddie ice skating. No progress.
  37. Help my mom move out of our family home. Ease this transition as much as possible with significant practical and emotional support, i.e. a substantial stay with her this spring.  Cry as much as needed. Do not withdraw, do not fail to show up for this. I’ve blocked a week on my calendar in April when I might go, stay, and help, but need to, you know, talk to Mom about this and make sure it works for her schedule. 
  38. Cruise on my brother’s schooner!!! Mom has booked her trip for the first week of August and invited Sam and me to join. We need to figure out what we’d do with Liddie and if we can manage it in general–but the door is open. 
  39. Make regular donations to worthy causes. Yes! Ongoing! Monthly gifts set up to ACLU (doubled my existing monthly gift after the travel ban) and Planned Parenthood. Annual memberships to the Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Art. Instead of signing up for TSA pre-Check as I had planned, I gave the $85 as a one time gift to the International Rescue Committee.  Add to this existing monthly gift to the Uganda Community Project. 
  40. Visit with Liddie’s birthmother in person at least once. Aim for three times. Need to get in touch with her. Sent some pictures after Liddie’s birthday, but haven’t tried to set up a meeting yet. 
  41. Do something fun on purpose for my birthday. This won’t be til June.
  42. Participate in the neighborhood yard sale. See above. 
  43. Go to the beach. Ehhhh, there’s time, there’s time. 
  44. Find a way that also works for spouse to regularly schedule to space and time to myself that does not involve staying up puttering until 1 a.m.: mental health days, Saturday mornings out, whatever. Well, I was sick yesterday and slept literally the entire day. Does that count? Also, Sam took L to the grocery store this afternoon (right now) and I am supposed to be vacuuming (see no. 46)
  45. Set up auto-pay or reminders as appropriate to pay all bills on time. Well, I got in a fight with a customer service rep at AmEx because I couldn’t log into the site on the day my bill was due, and wanted them to waive my late fee, and they did, but then the guy got condescending with me about why it was my fault that I couldn’t log into the site….so, that counts, right? In all seriousness, I am starting to get a fresh handle on our finances in this new house world and that’s a good thing. 
  46. Clean house more consistently. Sweep, vacuum and bathrooms weekly, that would be  a significant improvement and good enough. I’m hitting maybe 50% of my very minimal house cleaning goals. We are constantly drowning in laundry and dishes, and getting out in front of that often feels impossible and discouraging.
  47. See more movies in the theater. Enough movies that I’m not devastated every time I manage to go and it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I love going to the movies. It brings me joy and it is probably the number one thing that I used to do a lot of and now do practically none of. So far zero movies in 2017. 😦 
  48. See at least one live theater performance. Booked! Going to see Fun Home in June when it passes through East Lansing. 
  49. Have a big-ass Christmas tree. A little early to tackle this one. 

Be it so resolved…

Here’s my unedited list of completely manageable and realistic resolutions, goals, to-dos, and aspirations for 2017:

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Sleep at least 6 hours per night.
  3. Aim for 7.
  4. Exercise 5 days per week.
  5. Eat more vegetables.
  6. Be kinder to my spouse.
  7. Be less rigid.
  8. Have more fun.
  9. Roll with the punches.
  10. Take the long view. Everything is temporary. Everything can change. Indeed, everything will change, whether I want it to or not.
  11. Take myself as seriously as I expect other people to take me (like, carry business cards and shit).
  12. But also take stuff in general less seriously.
  13. But also do not become complacent/paralyzed/apathetic re: the world/our nation/social justice.
  14. Just keep grieving.
  15. Pull my weight re: nurturing friendships; do my fair share of organizing, hosting, prodding, reaching out, reminding, and lowering the overhead as much as possible for busy people to spend good time together.
  16. Participate in the weekly Sunday night potluck dinner organized by a former neighbor at least quarterly. Aim for monthly.
  17. Cook more real food for dinner at my house.
  18. Eat dinner as a family, at the table.
  19. Make time to speak with my mom at least weekly, more if possible.
  20. Make time to speak to my aunt and my grandma at least monthly, more if possible.
  21. Curtail Facebook usage (unless actually writing meaningful messages to the above or others)
  22. Blog more.
  23. Write more letters.
  24. Make a weekend with Kelsey and Robyn happen.
  25. Visit my aunt and grandma in Denver
  26. Get my high school girlfriends to Michigan for a visit.
  27. Take one awesome, adventurous, ambitious family vacation.
  28. Make our bedroom a nice, warm, comfortable, functional, attractive, calming, intentional place to be, rather than the garbage pile where we hide everything that we don’t want anyone else to see. Paint. Window treatments. Closet. A bed.
  29. Renovate our kitchen.
  30. Establish a personal desk/table/corner/space for my crafts/personal projects/special off-limits pens/whatever
  31. When not on vacation/sick/out of the office, respond to email within 48 hour.
  32. Fix our goddamn roof.
  33. Obtain access to a functional and comfortable bicycle.
  34. Create playroom space in our basement.
  35. Swimming lessons for Liddie.
  36. Take Liddie ice skating.
  37. Help my mom move out of our family home. Ease this transition as much as possible with significant practical and emotional support, i.e. a substantial stay with her this spring.  Cry as much as needed. Do not withdraw, do not fail to show up for this.
  38. Cruise on my brother’s schooner!!!
  39. Make regular donations to worthy causes.
  40. Visit with Liddie’s birthmother in person at least once. Aim for three times.
  41. Do something fun on purpose for my birthday.
  42. Participate in the neighborhood yard sale.
  43. Go to the beach.
  44. Find a way that also works for spouse to regularly schedule to space and time to myself that does not involve staying up puttering until 1 a.m.: mental health days, Saturday mornings out, whatever.
  45. Set up auto-pay or reminders as appropriate to pay all bills on time.
  46. Clean house more consistently. Sweep, vacuum and bathrooms weekly, that would be  a significant improvement and good enough.
  47. See more movies in the theater. Enough movies that I’m not devastated every time I manage to go and it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I love going to the movies. It brings me joy and it is probably the number one thing that I used to do a lot of and now do practically none of.
  48. See at least one live theater performance.
  49. Have a big-ass Christmas tree.

Ummmm yeah. Totally do-able, right? Just, you know, be a different person with a different life.

Welp. At least I got the stuff down in words. It strikes me how much of this actually *is* totally do-able if we get a family calendar for the year and start filling it in right now. We can mark date nights, long weekends, mental health days, and vacation NOW and hold the time so the year doesn’t get away from us. I can mark quarterly and weekly reminders, and perhaps even block off time for food planning, shopping, and prep.

It strikes me also that many of these things feed into each other–namely, the main self-care things. If I eat better, sleep better, exercise, hydrate, I *will* be kinder, more patient, more clear-headed.