It’s A New Year. Now What?

It’s a New Year. You’ll have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm. I used all my confetti when I actually found bakers yeast at the grocery store.

Like many others, I kind of built up 2021 as being a magical demarcation in time, that line in the sand where the bad cannot cross. I invested in a beautiful new planner a few months ago. And when I say invested, I mean it. The thing cost me $50. It is a tome, weighing in at maybe more than my mini dachshund, but it prayerfully walks me through my goals for the coming year. I was scared of it delaying gratification, so that I put off opening it for several weeks after it arrived. Can I really meet goals that I set? Maybe? YES, I CAN! And what better time for new goals than the new year, am I right?

But what I didn’t see coming? I no longer have any goals. I was set to make a plan to pay off the house, build my Ebay business, submit more writing to various publications and competitions, hatch more Spider Tortoises. After spending nearly a week in the hospital following my husband’s emergency surgery, after a cancer diagnosis, a lot of stuff has slid off my goal list. It’s hard to get stoked about building a business. I have bigger fish to fry. Or maybe smaller fish.

Now my lovely, $50 planner seems as big as a Bible and just as esoteric. Things are a little overwhelming right now, and I’m not even sure how to begin. It’s hard to think about building a business when it’s hard to even get out of bed. But it feels like defacing a fine book to put in the milestones that are actually achievable. But let’s get real. For right now, I need to dial it back a notch if I’m not going to be curled up in the corner sucking my thumb. And forget about looking at a whole year. Seriously, one day at a time is about all I can deal with.

Instead of giant goals that threaten to smother me in my sleep, I’m making some smaller, daily goals. Yep, I’m lowering the bar, but the bar is adjustable for a reason. I’m not looking to do a Fosbury flop to break a world record. I just want to get OVER it.

  • Take a shower
  • Make necessary appointments
  • Print out paperwork for necessary appointments
  • Fill out paperwork for necessary appointments
  • Eat at least one real meal
  • Do a load of laundry
  • Put on clean clothes (WOOT! I can cross this one off! Today, anyway)
  • Pick up kid from school
  • Read something. Anything. The back of a cereal box? Count it! The ingredients list? You got it!
  • Watch twelve episodes of Pawn Stars
  • Avoid politics. I keep thinking that I just need to hang on until the 20th, and the nightmare will be over. Watching the GOP misbehave does me no favors.

I think sometimes we set up ourselves to fail when we put so much weight on the new year. It can be a blank slate, but really, so can tomorrow. What’s important is not that we’re moving forward. Even treading water beats moving backward. Sometimes standing still is progress. I will hold my ground. I might even decide to put on something other than sweatpants. Not today, though. I’ve done enough.

I did go out today and bought Lumen a new bed.
And now her goal is to get it back from Penny!

Does the new year feel different than the old one for you? What are your plans and dreams for 2021?

For the record, I am fine. Just really, really tired. This is going to be a blip on our radar. Even the surgeon said “Eh, you’re strong and fit. You’ll be fine.” I’m just tired. And cranky.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

I’m in for it now. You may have already met Cujo. I changed his name. Because he asked me to.      Koko the E-reader didn’t make him feel tough enough, you know? So he’s Cujo. But lest he think himself bigger and badder than he should be, I’m buying him a pink cover.

The pink cover isn’t the problem. The little light that may or may not come with said pink cover is not the problem, although if it arrives without the light, I’ll be annoyed. The problem is with the device itself.

He still works great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been reading for hours a day for the last many days, and he’s still half-charged. The battery isn’t the problem. Nor are the buttons that actually explain what they are for when I push them. I’ve been far less frustrated with this reader than I ever was with the Kindle Fire. The problem is what Cujo contains. Books. Lots and lots of books.

Manufacturers seem to think that a great selling point for their gadgets is the books that they have preloaded onto them for free. FOR FREE, mind. Never mind that the very same titles are also available at the Gutenberg Project, and there they are also…wait for it…free. So these little beggars come loaded to the gills*** with books.  Mine came with 103 titles, and thanks to Gutenberg and my good friend, sj, I’ve added about 10 15 more.

Every single title has one little word at the end, haunting me, taunting me, challenging me. One tiny little word. Unread.

100+ awesome books, we’re talking classics, and none of them have even been looked at. I don’t know if the person who owned the device before me was a complete and total slacker, or if the used bookstore simply returned the reader to factory specs before they put it on the sale floor, but it’s the saddest thing I have ever seen. All those books failing to fulfill their literary destiny. Know what’s even sadder? I haven’t read them, either. Not most of them.

I’m going to fix that. Over the next couple of years, I am going to read my way through all of the books that are on my e-reader. Even the ones I’ve added myself. Even the ones my friends have sent me as gifts that I might not have picked up otherwise.  I’m allotting a couple of years here because I don’t plan to give up the rest of my life. Sometime in the next six months, my name will come up at the library for Jim Butcher’s latest, and I will have to take a cruise through the Harry Potter series again. And let’s not forget about Lord of the Rings. Plus I’m doing some writing of my own. But I will read these suckers. All in good time.

At the end of this challenge, I know that I will find myself enriched beyond belief, and maybe chock full of vitamins and minerals. Kind of like a breakfast cereal. I’ll be a better person, a wiser person. An older person with iffy eyes. At least one of the above.

So who’s with me? Anybody else want to tackle a daunting to-be-read list? Let’s conquer this mountain of books together!


*** This is a figure of speech and in no way implies that e-readers and other electronic devices have gills or are otherwise suited to aquatic life. They are not and object vociferously to swimming lessons.

Mediocre Expectations

You knew I would do it. Everyone else is doing it. I did it last year. It’s kind of expected. Don’t look at me that way. You probably did it, too. So there.

My New Year’s Resolutions for lucky number ’13.

1) Eat healthy food. This year, it’s strictly reduced fat Pop Tarts for me. And no more than one Moon Pie per week day.

2) Be less cliche. Which is why I’m posting my resolutions the second week of the new year. I thought about posting this in February, but I don’t want to change too much too fast.

3) Be more feminine. This year, I pledge to trim my mustache the first Saturday of the month, no excuses. 

4) Adopt a healthy lifestyle. One entire exercise video a day in 2013. Next year, I might even follow along. To be ready to take advantage of impromptu exercise opportunities, I will need to always wear sweatpants.

5) Learn at least one new thing. I can already cross this one off my list. I already learned that it was a mistake to add an account on my computer for my husband after his laptop died. Now he’s sitting in my chair.

6) Spend less time online. Done and done. See #5 This makes two things I can cross off my list, and it’s only the second week of 2013!

7) Read every book that came preloaded on Cujo. At least the titles. There are 100 of them, and some of those are kind of long.

8) Be more environmentally friendly. I may quit taking the kids to school. Think of all the paper and pencils that won’t go into a landfill.

9) Buy fewer toys. For the kids. My Harry Potter action figures aren’t toys. They’re collectibles.

10 Complete the things I start. There is nothing more annoying than

11) Read at least ten works of sci-fi/fantasy that are new to me. I thought I could start with the federal budget.

How about you? How do you plan to improve yourself this year?