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.

A Brave New Year

Everybody makes resolutions. Some people are even all clever and make resolutions NOT to make resolutions, thus proving we can’t get away from this tradition/trend. I’m no exception. This year, I’m going in big. Go big or go home, right? Actually, it’s cold outside. Going home sounds not-so-bad at the moment… Just kidding.

2016 was a dumpster fire. I said there was no possible way that 2017 could be worse than that, which 2017 took as a personal challenge. It was not a good year overall. But you know what? That’s partly my fault. I am not going to spend this brand, spanky new year sitting passively in the passenger’s seat. 2018 is my year of being brave.

This year, 2018, I am going to:

  • Learn to knit. I don’t know a whole lot of people in person who knit, so I am REALLY going to have to go to the interwebs for this one. I have never learned anything from Youtube before, except to pee BEFORE watching an episode of Bad Lip Reading, so this will be an adventure. And for some reason, it makes me a little nervous. But if I practice knitting for a year, I’ll get decent, right?

  • Breed my dart frogs. I have a bunch of them at work. Three different species. And none of them have bred. I have done everything recommended, and I have gotten to the point of getting them in condition and getting them to call, but so far, no luck. If you have bred them before, hit me up. I gotta know what I need to do differently.

Why you little dudes take a vow of chastity?

  • I am going to put my interest in plants to use. I am going to grow some things to sell at the local Farmer’s Market this summer. I can’t stop myself from growing plants. It brings me joy and energy. If I am stressed, I can soothe my spirit by checking up on a cinnamon tree or a root peeking out of a fig cutting. And since I have no self-control where it comes to growing stuff, I can maybe share my joy with others. And make a little cash. To buy more plants…
  • I am going to learn how to make saagwala at home. I love Indian food. I have attempted curry, and I’m good at the recipes I have. Now it’s time to learn saag.
  • I am going to vote in any election that pops up. It’s my civic responsibility, and I’m going to take it seriously.
  • Call my representatives when there are issues I am concerned about. Which is, like always.
  • Add ALL my reps’ numbers to speed dial so I can leave them messages in all of their offices. I currently only have one number each in my phone.
  • Produce 2 pieces, either short story or essay,  to submit somewhere for publication. This means re-learning how to write a short story. Eek! But it’s time to start building my wall of rejections. Or acceptance, but it’s the rejections that make us stronger, right? I am gonna be STRONG!
  • Actually submit these pieces. This is me closing some loopholes.

And here’s the big one. The one that is the biggest change in my life. Are you ready? Am I ready?

  • I am going to go the entire year without buying anything I don’t need. I read a book by Dolly Freed called “Possum  Living.” It’s a non-fiction book by an 18-year-old. She and her dad spent 3 years living like possums (not eating them!). They ate what was around them – raised chickens in the cellar for meat, raised gardens, saved money however they could. They spent about $1500 a year. Even in 1978, that was chump change. And her motto when it came to buying things was “Not now, maybe later.” That’s my mantra for 2018. I’ll unpack this whole goal in a separate blog post, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress throughout the year. A surprising amount of planning goes into inaction, really. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this. It’s just a few minutes long and worth a watch!

How do you plan to make 2018 your lap dog? Inspire me!

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: A Year in Pictures

Happy New Year! What better way to recap the past year than to share my favorite images? You can click to enlarge.

Manouria impressa:

Chelydra serpentina: These were from eggs collected from a female who had been hit and killed on the road.

A few additional friends:

And finally, my favorite image of 2013:

I'll get you, my pretty!

I’ll get you, my pretty!

Thanks to The Dragonfly Woman for the wonderful idea to recap the year in images.

Attention, book lovers! We’re hosting a giveaway over on sj’s blog. Just comment to enter to win one of our two favorite books of the year. The drawing will be held on January 3rd, so there’s still time if you hurry!

I Solemnly Swear

I will hike at least four new trails this year. In addition to the old favorites.



Yes, I did it. You knew I would. I made a list of resolutions. I know it’s cliche. Have we met? So here they are, in no particular order.

1) When the seeds of doubt are sown, I will choose to not water them. I don’t water anything else. Why should doubt be special?

2) I will return special favors. At least once this year, I will pee in the cats’ bed and see how they like it.

3) This is the year that I will remember that kitty litter goes in the trash can, not the recycle bin.

4) A blog a day keeps the doctor away. And by doctor, I mean psychiatrist. And by “a blog a day,” I mean five days a week,

5) I will be in public the person that I am in private. Expect to see me in my pajamas a lot.

6) I will exercise daily and get in better shape. Playing the Wii and jumping to conclusions are considered exercise, right?

7) I will finish my book and look for an agent. The book I’m writing, not the one I’m reading. Although it would be fun to be represented for someone else’s book. Wonder if they could get me a cut.

8 ) I will not compare my progress to others, even if I am lapped by an old man with a 15 year old dog, either in real life or the literary equivalent.

9) I will not jump to the conclusion that my children want something when they go out of their way to do something nice for me. I will accept it for what it really is – that they know I am insane and must be humored.

10) I will learn a new language. That’s right, this is the year that I will learn to speak to teenagers.

11) I will drink more water. Add a little carbonation, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, and it will be great! Throw in a splash of bourbon, and it’s practically anti-bacterial.

12) I will teach my cat to talk. She’s part Siamese, so I’m almost cheating on this one.  She’s so chatty she’s almost speaking English already.

13) I will be more environmentally friendly. This year I will only buy books second-hand or in e-format. Unless J.K. Rowling comes out with a new Harry Potter. A girl’s gotta have some wiggle room, you know.

14) I will not let Phoebe occupy my husband’s side of the bed when he’s out of town anymore. Or let her wear his shoes. Or drink out of his coffee mug.

15)  I will have an overnight getaway with my husband, just the two of us. Okay, three of us. Phoebe will want to come, too.

No coffee for Phoebe? No shoes? No fun. Why don't you love me?

I’ll be spending the next couple of days catching up and responding to comments. Thanks for hanging out with me this year. Looking forward to 2012.