New Year’s Resolutions – 2007

Father Time
Father Time

I have this trouble where I try very hard not to do something — drop a screw, tip over a paint can, upend a box of packing peanuts — and whatever I’m working so hard to avoid is exactly what I end up doing, because I’m trying way too hard.

That same self-defeating thing happens with my new year’s resolutions. Every year I make some resolutions, and I succeed wildly — at everything else. And then at the end of the year, I go over my resolutions and despair at habits I haven’t managed to break or to form, while ignoring all the stuff I got right. So I start off the year on a downer, which is totally unnecessary, and keeps the spiral going. This year, screw that fuckin’ noise.

This year, I’m going to make a list of hopes for the year instead of resolutions — positive wishes to start the new year out right.

1. I hope we have a quiet, relaxing, fun year.
The last couple of years have been full of stress for Stephanie and I. Between surgeries and home purchasing and moving, we’ve been caught in several storms and I think we’ve come through them stronger, both as individuals and as a couple. But I’m hoping this year will be a lot less of “you and me against the forces of the universe” and a lot more of “you and me in sync with the forces of the universe.” I know that unexpected things always come up, but I think we’ve got a pretty good foundation to deal with them.

I hope we have a lot of time to just hang out in our house together, and with our friends. We’ve created a nice space for ourselves and our pets. I enjoy hanging around the house with Stephanie and playing games, reading and relaxing. And I enjoy having friends over. I hope we can do a lot of that this year. I was intrigued by the idea of creating a Porch Sitter’s Local here in Indy – we certainly have the porch for it.

I hope we can get a some stuff sold on eBay this year. I still have a stash of stuff to sell on behalf of my mom, and we’ve been collection a pile of sale-able items post-move sorting, and I’d love to get through them.
There are lots of festivals and events around Indianapolis that happen every year, and that I’ve never attended. I’d love to do some of them. We’ve missed the pride event a couple of years running, and I’d like to do that this year, if we can. And we have a great new neighborhood to explore.

2. I hope my frikin’ house sells.
I think I’ve done all I can really do to make that happen, and all I can do is routine maintenance and keeping on top of things. This is just one I have to leave up to the world to take care of.

3. I hope I can take time to express some of my creative energy.
I hope I can finish some webdesign projects that have been lingering around. My dad has a site he needs created, I have Stephanie’s blog design to work on, IndyScribe needs an overhaul, and I have another art site I need to work on.

I hope I can get some more work done on my novel. I still think I have a great idea, and I want to build out some time to get it working. I think that what I was missing with NaNoWriMo was some element of illustration/art/design that I want to go with it.

I have some furniture I want to refinish – I’ve done some of that in the past and found it to be a really relaxing, rewarding type of project. I’d want to work on some of the stuff I have stashed in the garage.
I hope to design a nice garden/lawn space around our house. I want to plant some vegetables and a raspberry bush this year – things I have no experience with at all, so that should be a fun challenge. I’m hoping to find out if some of the more experienced gardeners in our neighborhood will give me advice and let me look over their shoulders.

I hope to get some time to work on the interior design of our house — we have lots of fun art that still needs to make it onto the walls, and we have some areas where we can make some creative use of space. There’s lots of interior painting we want to do, also.

I hope I can become a better photographer and get some great, fun pictures. I’m learning more about my camera and how to adjust for lighting and other factors. Maybe our trip on Route 66 will be a good opportunity to get better at taking pictures.

I have some art projects dinking around in the back of my head, too, and I want to find time to work on them.

3. I hope we get to do some more traveling this year.
Stephanie has a work conference to go to in January, in Wisconsin, and I have one in March, I think. We have plans to drive Route 66 with a New Beetle Caravan in June, and I think those are solid, unless something unexpected happens. We talked about visiting my family in Iowa in the spring, but we’ll have to see if that fits in for them and us.

I haven’t got Stephanie’s skating competitions this year sorted out in my head yet, but those will need to go on the calendar, too.

One thing I’ve never done is go to the Michigan Women’s Music Festival. It’s usually in August. I don’t know if we can swing it after a big trip in June, but it’s one cultural activity I’d love to go to someday.

I’d also like to explore Indiana a little more, if we get a chance. I’d like to pick out some touristy things from the Enjoy Indiana website and got to them, like French Lick or New Harmony, or maybe the Park County covered bridge festival.

4. I hope I can be less angry all the time.
I have such a level of frustration and irritation, and it gets in the way of getting things done and of my relationships with other people.

I was blaming that on reading too much negative stuff online, and too many angry political discussions, and I’m sure those things don’t help. But I have to acknowledge that it’s something inside me and how I interact with the world that needs to change, not just external things. I’m trying to change the way I react to things that bother me; to not have knee-jerk reactions without thinking about what’s going on first, and that seems to be helping.

I’m trying to set limits and say no more — lots of my stress comes from being overwhelmed by obligations; occupationally, financially, socially, politically. I’m becoming better at not letting other people hijack my time and energy, and letting myself recharge in between. I’ve noticed that going to water aerobics is amazing for de-stressing; I always have an endorphin high and feel completely zen-like when I’m done, so I have at least one outlet for stress.

5. I hope we can help defeat Indiana’s anti-marriage equality amendment in the Statehouse this year.
I foresee this being an exhausting, stressful experience, and I’m not looking forward to it at all. But we do have a much stronger position after the 2006 election, and I hope that will make the coming fight much less painful.

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2006 New Year’s Party

Dan and Doug throw a wonderful New Year’s party every year, and Stephanie and I attended again last evening. Check out my Flickr photo set of the party.
My beautiful girlfriend
I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked because I shot some video of Rachel telling Aunt Ruby stories and filled my my memory card.
I also discoved at the party that my friend Jonathan has a blog. Stop by and give him some comments. Also, I may or may not have mentioned a while back that Kris also has a blog.

Continue Reading2006 New Year’s Party

New Years’s traditions

Here’s a list of New Years’s traditions (or superstitions) — a bit too late for me to do this year, but something to keep in mind for next.

Stuff I did do: Kissing at Midnight, stocking up, money in my wallet, black-eyed peas, pork and saurkraut.

  • Kissing at midnight:   We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
  • Stocking Up:   The new year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.
  • Paying Off Bills:   The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.
  • First Footing:   The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Aim a gun at them if you have to, but don’t let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold. The first footer (sometimes called the “Lucky Bird”) should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out. First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle. Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.
  • Nothing Goes Out:   Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’ve presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin. Some people soften this rule by saying it’s okay to remove things from the home on New Year’s Day provided something else has been brought in first. This is similar to the caution regarding first footers; the year must begin with something’s being added to the home before anything subtracts from it. One who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then set the basket just outside the front door before midnight. After midnight, the lone celebrant hauls in his catch, being careful to bring the item across the door jamb by pulling the string rather than by reaching out to retrieve it and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.
  • Food:   A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and financial good fortune in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key. Other “lucky” foods are lentil soup (because lentils supposedly look like coins), pork (because poultry scratches backwards, a cow stands still, but a pig roots forward, ergo those who dine upon pork will be moving forward in the new year), and sauerkraut (probably because it goes so well with pork). Another oft-repeated belief holds that one must not eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year lest, like the birds in question, diners fate themselves to scratch in the dirt all year for their dinner (that is, bring poverty upon themselves).
  • Work:   Make sure to do — and be successful at — something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don’t go near your place of employment that day. Limit your activity to a token amount, though, because to engage in a serious work project on that day is very unlucky.
  • Also, do not do the laundry on New Year’s Day, lest a member of the family be ‘washed away’ (die) in the upcoming months. The more cautious eschew even washing dishes.
  • New Clothes:   Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.
  • Money:   Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year’s Day. To do so is to guarantee you’ll be paying out all year.
  • Breakage:   Avoid breaking things on that first day lest wreckage be part of your year. Also, avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next twelve months.
  • Letting the Old Year Out: At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.
  • Loud Noise: Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You’re not just celebrating; you’re scaring away evil spirits, so do a darned good job of it! According to widespread superstition, evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise. We celebrate by making as much of a din as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at our disposal, but also to make sure Old Scratch and his minions don’t stick around. (Church bells are rung on a couple’s wedding day for the same reason.)
  • The Weather: Examine the weather in the early hours of New Year’s Day. If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamities. Strangest of all, if the wind blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there’s no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.
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