goals for the year

Last year, I started this blog as a way to track a couple of goals for the year.  Although as the year got busy, I posted less and less, I am going to give it a try again.

Generally, I have the same goals as last year!  Improved personal connections, and adding new or returning to healthy life- enhancing activities.

Examples of those life- enhancing activities:

  • return to avoiding processed sugar (which I did very well on up until the holidays)
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • walking
  • hosting board game nights
  • having dinner parties
  • spending more time in the woods hiking
  • learning to make a couple new and delicious dishes (mole? posole?  really good dal?),
  • find a volunteer gig that I really like
  • take another pottery class
  • going to bed by 10:30
  • quit reading escapist fiction (detective stories) and instead read books of higher quality that I’ll remember . . . .

Not that I am planning on doing these all at once.

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new activity: cooking a goose

My Dad likes to tell the story of the Thanksgiving he and the rest of the males in his family were out cutting wood,and came home to a goose dinner, that was one of the best meals he remembers.  The last  few winters,when I’ve been home visiting for the winger holidays, he and I have looked at geese in the grocery store, but decided they were too expensive.  This year, they were a little less expensive (not inexpensive,mind you, just less expensive!), and I’d also been thinking of buying one anyway. My parents are  elderly enough that any year could be our last holiday season together.

So, after soliciting a great  deal of advice from friends via FB, and watching a number  of YouTube videos, I roasted a goose this past weekend, for our family Christmas dinner.  I did NOT make the stuffing that Julia Child made in her video,which required stuffing sauteed, chopped goose liver into pitted prunes (a stuffing that would take hours to make?!?  crazy!), or rub the goose in one of the very complex herb-n-spice rubs of another video (my Dad’s much more the simple home cooking kind of guy), just kept it relatively simple.  And it turned out well, tasty.  Even the  somewhat finicky nephews and niece seemed to enjoy it.

“out of 52” update

I am certainly behind on this project. During the spring, I was busy with work, and I have been spending as much time as possible in the garden this summer. However, I have had some experiences that belong in this category, just have not added them to the blog.

11: Dance Tribe: I attended several evenings of a free form dance group (the describe the activity as ecstatic sacred movement dance) in the late winter and early spring. I found it very meditative and calming. my summer work schedule conflicts with their dances, but I plan to return in the cold months!

12: Yoga, yoga, yoga – In late spring, I purchased a voucher from a local yoga studio. It allowed me to attend as many yoga classes as I could for a 2 week period. I have had periods of doing a lot of hatha yoga in the past, but have not done much lately. It was lovely to be back on the mat, my body really really felt better, and I especially liked the early evening restorative yoga classes. Very helpful, especially as it was a time when I had been feeling lots of anxiety. I’ll be purchasing a pass to the studio again in the fall.

13: Girls with Guns! Ok, this is certainly not my usual type of activity. (Politics around guns in the USA can be disturbing and militant, and also very polarizing. While I am not opposed to hunting (at least not if the meat will be eaten), I do not agree with the gun lobby that argues there should be no restrictions on gun use and ownership in the US.) However, a friend learned of a shotgun training class specifically for women, and she invited several of us to join her in the class. It seemed like it could be valuable to have some experience at handling a gun safely. I found it quite disturbing at first, to even hold the thing! And they were damned loud! But it was also meaningful to feel the discomfort and work though that.

14: Team Bocce. I organized several group outings to play bocce ball in the park. I have not done a lot of organizing groups of friends socially lately, and this has felt like I have returned to a part of myself that has been inactive.

15: My own garden. Even though I work (part time) for a gardening organization in the summers, life was hectic enough over the past couple of summers that I didn’t have adequate time for my own gardening. This summer, I have had time, and have had a number of days where I planned to just go out to my plot briefly for a small task, and don’t leave for four or five hours. Gardening is one of the few activities that I will almost always be fully present for, and I find it so relaxing.

10 out of 52: proposing workshops

I’m a bit behind my hoped-for schedule of a new or revived life-enhancing activity every week!

But here is a new one: in the past couple of weeks I have written and submitted two workshop proposals to local organizations (one is a gardening company, the other an adult ed organization). I’ve had ideas for workshops suitable (in my mind, at least!) for their organizations’ educational programming for several years, and I now have time in my life to do the planning. One idea is to teach safe and simple medicinal uses of commonly grown herbs and weeds, the other is to teach people how to make toxin-free “lotions and potions” (lip balm,skin salve or lotion, mouthwash…)

The women who organize the workshops both have indicated interest in what I sent them. I’m pleased with that, and that I have put the effort into getting the proposals written and submitted.

9 out of 52 (or maybe only 8 1/2?): Future workshop, step one

Yesterday I attended a workshop at a local gardening company.  In late winter, this company runs a great series workshops on a range of gardening related topics – anything from garden design to recently developed, hip, new perennial for the year to how to grow grapes in the north.

I’ve several ideas for workshops that I’d like to teach in this series, but have never gotten further than that.  I haven’t known who to contact, and, as I have been in school over the past couple of years, I haven’t have the extra time to plan a workshop.  Yesterday, I realized I could probably get the information I needed from the woman who was checking people in  It turned out she’s the staff person who plans the series, and she said that every year she is looking for new ideas for workshops.   So I got her email address, and learned when she starts to recruit ideas for next year.

Although I have not yet written a proposal or emailed her (which is shy I’m saying this is only a hald step at this point), I feel like I’ve gotten over a hurdle. I now know how to proceed.

8 out of 52: anonymous gifts

I’ve just mailed out a few gift certificates to some local friends.  The certificates are for local coffee shops or tea houses — places that  I know a specific person (the one getting the certificate, of course!) likes to go.  It’s taken me a couple of weeks to acquire the cards from the places around town, as I don’t always go near some of these places regularly.

I’m not sure why, but I want it to remain a secret.  I have disguised my handwriting and even used a type of pen that I don’t usually use, not that all of these people  are even likely to know my handwriting!  I also tried to select people who do not know each other, so that it’s not likely to come up in a conversation between two people who received a gift card from me.

I’m curious to know if I will hear about any of these gifts.

out of 52 updates: kiva / valentines day cards

I received my first notification from kiva of a payment on a micro-loan.  The amount of money was small, a few bucks to me, but satisfying to see that the couple who took out the loan are able to start paying it back.

I also have heard from several friends about the little valentines day postcards I sent out.  And everyone seemed to find them attractive, (even though I had been disappointed in how they turned out!)  Little steps toward keeping in touch, little steps toward supporting friendships. . . .