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Friday Five2

We’ve been training this week on a new program to implement to fight interpersonal violence on our campus, so there were several quotes that we heard throughout the week from inspirational sources. When we saw the quote from Obama’s Super Tuesday speech in 2008 – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” I almost had to leave the room, because I am a damn professional and I recognized that it’s unsettling for others for me to sob in training. This week has been emotionally rough, in part because of the subject matter of our training, but also because saying goodbye to this administration is incredibly difficult.

Most of the time, blog posts are for you. Yes, they are navel-gazey and all about me, but I hope there is something that you can draw from them, and that’s usually my intention in writing them. But this one is just to mark the week. Maybe you need it, too, but it’s here because I need to pause and say thank you to the First Family for their service to our country.

  1. Obama’s farewell speech (complete with transcript for those who are in public and can’t watch video. But also with video because take your earbuds to the library and watch it.)
  2. One Last Time – Hamilton at the White House
  3. The Bush sisters write the Obama sisters (do not read this in public – it has a high probability of making you ugly cry. Unless you like ugly-crying in public, and then…you do you)
  4. Biden honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom (his little face!)
  5. People tell Michelle Obama what she means to them (and then they get surprised – I would straight up fangirl all over the place)

Thank you to the Obamas and the Bidens for the last eight years. I’ve been proud to call you our leaders.

 

Friday Five2

I love structure. I am comfortable with making vague goals, because I know that as soon as I voice them, I already have structures in mind for achieving them that don’t necessarily come through in words. But if, like me, you are interested in improving your reading diversity, choosing products that are both better quality and produced by better business practices, and ridding yourself of all the clutter/debris/extraneous mess that you have stashed in your home, here are a few more structured ways to do that.

  1. Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 reading challenge. I like that she has reading for fun and reading for growth challenges. I also love her highly organized tips (including printables) for tracking your reading and that she offers the chance to join an online book club for those who want social support.
  2. Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge is my favorite challenge for finding things to read that I never would have read before. They, too, offer social support via their Facebook group and give you the opportunity to meet in person with people you’ve met via the challenge. Bonus – discount on an order if you finish the challenge!
  3. Inc.com praises ThirdLove bras. I NEED ONE. Also Thinx, which has great ramifications for women in countries where feminine hygiene products aren’t readily available. A lot of people have tried them and sing their praises (even though the HuffPo article says “total disaster,” indicating that the chooser of that title doesn’t understand what the words total and disaster mean), so I’ll spare you my personal recap when I try them. Unless they’re terrible, which I don’t anticipate.
  4. Peter Walsh is doing a 31-day decluttering challenge this month. Each day takes about 10 minutes, so it’s not too late! Go! Go! This is not a drill!
  5. And bonus – for those hoping to up your donations to charities this year, here are some tips from Consumer Reports on how to choose a charity that uses the money in the way they claim to use it.

If you were looking for structure to some of your goals, hope this helps!

2017 Resolutions

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I have a stocking that’s mine (on the right) and a stocking that’s a reminder that I’m not alone in the world. This is the first decoration I put up every year, and it’s my favorite. I like starting the season with the hope that  life will not inevitably always be the way it’s always been.

I love this time of year. I love the invigoration of setting new goals. I am nervous about this year because of the political climate, but I am refusing to give up hope. I am anxious, but I am determined. I am sad, but I am unwilling to settle for wallowing.

My goals for 2017 are pretty simple. Most of them are a continuation of things I’ve already started to do. Some of them are specific, but most of them are unruly, because the main goal is to embrace the wild.

  1. Wild is my word for the year, and I want it to spread throughout my world like fire. I want to burn away all that is not true, beautiful, just, and good. I realize that’s a tall order, but I can’t very well start my year of wild by taming my expectations.
  2. Read 100 books.
  3. Learn conversational Spanish.
  4. Continue to make my home a place that is welcoming and does not hinder the life I create. This life looks like cozy nooks and a well-stocked kitchen, pantry, and bar for spontaneous hospitality. This life looks like flowers on the table and blankets on the couch. This life looks like finally getting the last of the boxes unpacked from the move last summer.
  5. Continue to improve my health and well-being. This will probably look like a significant weight loss. I have 22 more pounds to go to reach my birthday goal, but as – much to my chagrin – I no longer have the metabolism I had when I was twenty, this will probably look more like 15 pounds, which is still pretty great. This will also look like pearls in my ears, red on my lips, and cute shoes on my feet, as emotional well-being is often manifested in how I care for myself physically.
  6. Finish at least one manuscript and publish a 2018 calendar.
  7. Run a 5K.
  8. Go on a writing retreat (can be alone or an official one with a group).
  9. Get paid for writing in some way. This can be as simple as submitting a piece for publication and having someone say yes, but I want to see tangible proof that it’s something I can do.
  10. Continue/establish beloved traditions. I want to have baking weekends. I want to have parties that people come to expect every year. I want to have traditions that are just mine – that embrace the single life I have now instead of waiting on other people to have traditions.

Do you make resolutions? If so, what are they?

Reading Wild

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“The best way to save coffee is to save what’s wild.” From Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi

Reading is the main way through which ideas and action are loosed for me. Many of the books I’ve read this year have revealed truths long buried in my soul and have reminded me of why I do some of the things that I do.

In 2017, I am going to set my goal to read 100 books (a goal that I have not met in the last few years, but we’re going to ignore that. Hope springs eternal). In addition to books I enjoy with my book clubs and books I read just for fun, I am going to read more of the following:

  1. Books like A Man Called Ove that remind me that love is meant to be wild and scandalously extravagant and helpful and generous.
  2. Books like Bread, Wine, Chocolate that help me focus on the why (fighting oppressive food systems that leave people in poverty and destroy biodiversity) behind the what (loving coffee and food and talking about it a lot) of my passions.
  3. Books like Between the World and Me that continue my education on justice issues.

I also want to continue to read my daily news, except I want to read with more intention of finding quality (i.e., well-researched, well-written, lacking in tactics such as clickbait that give the impression that they are more fluff than substance, etc.) information to share with others.

Do you set reading goals? If so, what are your goals for 2017?

 

From True to Wild

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This is my favorite running shirt. I approve of anything that is simultaneously a Firefly fandom squee and a notification that I aim to kick ass.

As my one word for 2016, true has been brutal. Part of this brutality is that I thought it would be easy.

I’ll just pause a moment for everyone who knew better to stop laughing.

It hasn’t all been terrible. I have fine-tuned my life significantly to form it into something that is truer to who I am. That part has been invigorating. In some ways, I am significantly more at home in my life than I was a year ago.

All this change has been uncomfortable, however. I have discovered the sharp edges of certain aspects of myself that were only hazy forms in the back of my mind before, and they’re not all pretty. Some are upsetting. I’m not as honest with myself as I would have liked to think I was. Admitting that things are true about me that I desperately want not to be true is disheartening. And the process of deciding what to do with these realizations has been excruciating. It’s not finished, but I wish it were.

I’ve been reading through The Road Back to You for the last couple of months, and I wish I’d read it at the beginning of the year. I’m a One. I am a perfectionist and pretty hard on myself. True is the calling of the Ones – for our principles to 1) be high and right and 2) be congruent with our behavior/life/outcomes. The cognitive dissonance often created by this pursuit (as, alas, we are not perfect) is very stressful to us.

Stress is anger-making (although we prefer to call it “frustration”). It’s no wonder, therefore, that Ones are part of the Anger Triad (or as a friend affectionately calls it, the Chaos Trio). Rather than feeling the guilt I would have expected when I read this, I felt relief. It offered an explanation for my anger rather than the condemnation I’m used to receiving for it. It also confirmed my choice for my one word for 2017 – wild.

This coming year, I’m going to embrace the wild.

Wild is a natural progression from the last few years of beauty and fun and true. Wild encompasses them all and sets them free. That is exactly the kind of year I’d like to have. That is exactly the kind of year I insist on having, despite whatever effort the world might have to squelch it.

Wild abandon – I want to learn to hold resources, such as money and time, more loosely. I don’t want to treat them irresponsibly or in a way that is destructive, but  I could stand to regard them less fearfully. I want to develop a practice of derailment. Half of what stresses me out when the news is especially terrible is how it derails my whole life. I even toyed momentarily with the notion of not reading so much news, but then I promptly dismissed said notion, because I know I’d be doing so in order to hide, thus thwarting my ability to be informed about how to pursue justice. So instead I want to embrace the derailment. To thrive within it. To stop worrying so much about it. And to definitely stop apologizing for it.

Wild survival – Wild things are obsessed with staying alive. They are acutely aware of dangers and how to avoid them. I want to pay closer attention to my survival instinct. I want to resist laziness and continue pursuing my health goals that I set last March. I want to take care of myself emotionally instead of ignoring warning signs until they become so tangible that they become a detriment to my well-being and productivity.

Wild liberation – My word for the year could just as easily be “free.” With all that threatens to oppress in this world, I want to be a force pushing in the opposite direction. I imagine this upcoming year will present many opportunities to do so.

This is just the beginning, but I am excited (and also terrified…three parts excited to one part terrified isn’t a bad ratio) to see what this year of wild brings.

Friday Five2

I love a good book list, especially at this time of the year. I’m reflecting on books I’ve read this year and making plans about what to read next year. If you like book lists, too, here are some that are informing my to-read lists as of late.

  1. For holiday hilarity, enjoy Book Bub’s list of laugh-out-loud holiday books.
  2. A new batch of Gilmore Girls this year renewed my longing to tackle Rory’s Reading List. It’s daunting, so I won’t finish it this year. Maybe this decade. Maybe.
  3. The New York Times polled famous readers to see what books got them through 2016.
  4. Read it Forward reports on twenty-five authors sharing the best books they’ve ever received. 
  5. And finally, one of my favorite bookstores, Book People in Austin, list their favorites of 2016.

What would make your list?

My 2016 Year in Review

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A year of moving, fandom, and wine.

Many things have been written (videoed, spoken, sung, interpretively danced) about how rough 2016 has been. Many of those things have been written here. So I’ll not rehash those. We have enough to worry about coming up.

My personal year has been pretty productive despite the challenges and heartbreaks of the world.

My major resolutions all fell under the umbrella of my word for the year – true. I’m going to talk a little more about that next week as I tie it into my word for 2017, but true was quite motivating. And really hard. I also made a list of twenty specific things I wanted to accomplish, only six of which I completed, but two of them were pretty big things, so it seems like I did more. True to character, I bit off more than I could chew, but I still ended up farther than I was a year ago. Progress, not perfectionism. I should make that my mantra.

This year’s accomplishments include:

  1. Finding a new job and new place to live that are more in line with who I am, what I need, and what I’m good at
  2. Starting a newsletter (second letter comes out tomorrow – subscribe here to get it!) and using the social media accounts I enjoy in a better way
  3. Throwing my Hemingway party, which was a smashing success
  4. Finish (most of) a 5K
  5. Read a lot of books I loved

Things I would have liked to accomplish but didn’t include:

  1. Reading a lot more books
  2. Getting something I’ve written published
  3. Regular piano playing and regular dancing (other than in my living room, of course, where the dancing was indeed rampant)

I feel pretty good about my year, especially given how much the world in general sucked.

How did your year go?

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