For a couple of years now, I've been taking my friend Tasha's lead and making an "X in X" list instead of New Year's resolutions. She started it with her 30th birthday, intending to do 30 things in her 30th year, and I liked the idea. To be fair, I like making these lists far more than I like facing them at the end of the year and seeing how much (or how little) of them I actually got done. But I know I'll get grief from a couple of friends if I don't review last year's list, so here goes.
What I achieved:
1. Bake a cake completely from scratch. (Note to self: ask Sarah for pointers!)
I've done this a couple of times now, starting with my red blood cell cake, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I expected it to be. I'm not yet convinced the result is worth the extra effort compared to the average box cake, but I've only tried one recipe so far and I'm willing to agree that some scratch cakes are better. The frosting was definitely better than the stuff in the plastic tub, though, and I feel like I've started down a scratch-frosting path and I can never turn back.
2. Update my phone and address book, transfer to memory of home phone and cell phone. I'm tired of having to search my Gmail archives to find someone's most recent address or phone number.
I did one better and got myself one of them newfangled smarty phones (I can hear at least three people shouting "FINALLY!!!") so I can get at my Gmail archives anytime I please. I spent the first hours with my new phone getting everyone programmed into the address book, so can we all please stop moving and changing phone numbers?
3. Blog regularly.
I don't think I've missed a week all year. I'm getting better at this! My Ornament Advent Calendar ended this year with a bunch of great posts, and I think I've got some momentum built up to get me over the holiday slump and into the new year.
4. Email (and call) my friends more.
I've kept in closer touch with my family and friends this year, although I still feel like I could do better. My new phone helps, since some people are so technologically advanced that they've evolved beyond speech and are now only able to communicate via text message.
5. Take a class. Any class.
I took a writing class! It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I got some writing practice and learned to take (and dish out) constructive criticism. I'm very interested in joining a local writing group now, to try and keep myself in line.
6. See the stars from the cruise ship.
Learned: There are a lot of lights on a cruise ship. I saw some stars, but it wasn't a glorious vista of astronomical wonder or anything. I did have a fabulous time on the cruise, though, and got to pet dolphins and shake Wil Wheaton's hand. (How to tell them apart: Wil walks on legs and is better at karaoke, the dolphin swims a lot and is better at flips and shit.)
7. Organize all my printed and photocopied recipes.
I can't believe I actually got this one completed, but I did. I received a pretty recipe binder for Christmas last year, and after staring at it for months, I finally decided to spend one rainy weekend afternoon on the family room floor, mercilessly culling my stacks of clipped magazine recipes. The best ones are all sorted by recipe type and protected in plastic sleeves in the binder now.
8. Make cookies that aren't for Christmas.
I made Easter-themed sugar cookies to share at work.
9. Impress them at my new job and get a good review and/or raise.
Three for three on this one! Go me!
10. Paint living and dining rooms.
And get new hardwood floors installed. And some new carpeting. And rip up nasty basement carpeting with my bare hands. And a zillion other home improvements. We've been busting our butts getting this place in shape and it's finally starting to show.
11. Get my sewing machine out of the box, plug it in, and stitch something. Anything.
I used my sewing machine to make a special Christmas present for a friend. More on that in a later post.
12. Read 50 books.
I don't think I quite got to 50 unless I count the audiobooks, but after much soul-searching I've decided that they count. I'm learning from them and enjoying them, and they make my commute tolerable.
13. Take my vitamins.
I finally caved and bought a little pill reminder box to help me out. I'm old now. Bifocals are coming, I just know it.
What I kinda almost accomplished:
14. Participate in Thing-a-Day. It'll be incomplete because of the February cruise, but that's ok.
I did make some things, but I find that I don't enjoy creativity under pressure. Instead, I participated in a couple of other challenges this year and had a blast with them. I played along with Marian Call's European Adventure Quest game to celebrate the release of her new album, and I had my own little December writing challenge. Those were tons of fun and I will seek out other writing-related challenges for next year.
15. Stay hydrated.
I was doing really well until about October and then I stopped trying.
16. Get us off mailing lists and reduce junk mail.
I did try to get this done. I filled out forms and canceled a bunch of subscriptions, but we're still getting a ton of junk going straight from mailbox to recycling bin. There are places online that offer to stop your junk mail for a small fee but I'm not falling for that.
17. Work on embroidery to figure out if I like it.
I don't think I like it yet. I also branched out and got a crochet lesson from someone at work, but I'm not convinced I'm the crafty type. I have a hard time just making something without a reason. With writing, I can create a thing, people can read it, and we're done. I'm not making a doily or tea cozy or bird feeder that I'm going to give to someone who will then have to decide whether to bring the damn thing out from hiding when I visit, or trash it and lie to me about how the dog ate it.
18. Try a CSA again. Research it better, get recommendations.
While I really want to broaden my vegetable horizons and support local farms, I can't quite get my husband on board to try again after our first disastrous CSA experience. Eating new kinds of veggies is enough of a challenge without them being bruised to hell and coated in a wiggling carpet of aphids. I visited the farmer's market often this year and got my veggie fix that way instead. Bonus: I discovered purple potatoes.
19. Bake Pioneer Woman's famous cinnamon rolls.
I've got tentative plans to tackle the cinnamon rolls in January with my sister-in-law. Cinnamon rolls are an all-day commitment, and we weren't able to squeeze a baking day into the busy Christmas season.
20. Grow food - more than tomatoes and herbs. Maybe peppers?
We're working on a total backyard overhaul, so I avoided any big gardening projects this year. I could have tried some container gardening, but with the squirrels and rabbits we have in the yard, I'd have needed barbed wire and an armed guard to keep my beans and peppers from getting eaten. The plans for the new landscaping include a space for a raised bed, so I'm optimistic that someday I'll have something to work with.
21. Put together an emergency kit for the car.
I completely forgot this was on my list. Maybe next year's list will include "print out the list", or "actually check the list sometimes".
22. Read Darwin's Origin of Species.
It's pretty heavy reading - have you ever had a look at that thing? I'll get to it... someday...
23. Make a birthday list so I stop relying on Facebook to tell me.
Facebook ain't broke, so I'm not sure why I felt the need to fix this one.
24. Set up a safe deposit box for our important papers.
I forgot about this one too.
25. Try curling. Yes, the sport. Yes, it IS a sport.
I haven't been able to convince anyone to come with me for a beginner's lesson, and I'm too chicken to go alone.
26. See the National Christmas Tree in DC. I've wanted to since I got here and haven't managed yet.
Things were hectic this year around the holidays. Not a good excuse, I know, but it just didn't work out.
27. Make bagels from scratch.
I brought home enough bagels from Montreal that I really had no need!
28. Lose some weight.
29. Wear moisturizer.
I fail so consistently at these that they are hereby banished from all my resolution lists forever. I'm tired of them making me look bad.
As for the two I decided not to share on the official public list, one worked out and one didn't.
I haven't decided yet about posting a list for next year. I feel like it might help me to have a list of small goals to work towards, but it might also give me more to feel bad about if I don't do enough. What do you think?