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Resolutions for 2017

So, last year, I had a huge list of ambitious New Year’s resolutions and ended up accomplishing almost none of them because 2016 was such a garbage year in general and for my partner and me in particular. The last couple of days, I’ve been doing my best to mentally and emotionally unburden myself from all that bullshit, though, and it’s going alright. I’m not going into 2017 with no cares or worries, and I’ve got one last bit of 2016 business (wrapping things up with insurance after a car accident I was in the day before Thanksgiving) that I’m only going to be finished with in another week or two. But compared to how tightly wound and overburdened I was feeling even a week ago, I’m doing pretty well.  However, I’m also determined to not go into 2017 with any very high expectations. My failure to achieve goals and milestones last year was a major part of my latter-half-of-2016 malaise, and I’d hate to go through that a second year in a row.

So this year I’m keeping things simple, thinking smaller, and focusing on reasonably achievable goals that I can revisit and expand upon as the year goes on. Secondarily, I’m concentrating on building new routines and recommitting to routines that have worked well for me in the past. No need to reinvent the wheel, right? I was doing pretty well a couple of years ago. Just gotta get things rolling again.


  • Last year, I read 108 things that counted as books on Goodreads, when I had a goal of just 72. This year, I expect to read about the same, so I’ve set my Goodreads Challenge goal to 104. Two books a week should be eminently doable.
  • Last year I started with a goal of reading one nonfiction book per month. I totally failed at that, but I still think it’s a reasonable goal if I just plan better, so I’m sticking with it this year with the intention of actually do it.
  • I’ve been happy with the diversity of my reading, for the most part, but I’ve been trying to read more short fiction the last few months. To continue that trend, my third reading goal for 2017 is to read at least one collection of short fiction–a magazine, anthology, or single-author collection–each month. With a couple of Kickstarted projects on their way over the next few months and a subscription to Uncanny‘s Year 3, I don’t think this will be a problem.


  • In the past, I have struggled to stay caught up on writing about the books that I read. This year, I will be writing about everything immediately and before I start my next book. This should ensure a more steady stream of book content on the blog and prevent any mid-year meltdowns over how behind I’ve fallen.
  • I started last year with the goal of writing at least some fiction every month, and I didn’t. I do have some ideas, though. Instead of a word count or other goal, this year I intend to have just one story written and ready to submit for publication by the end of the year.

Health and Fitness

  • Counting calories. It’s not for everyone, but it was working well for me before I broke my foot, and I appreciate the combination of mindfulness and accountability involved with it. I updated MyFitnessPal today and will be back on track with it starting tomorrow.
  • Drink only water. It’s unbelievable the calories you can unthinkingly consume with sugary drinks. And I’m certain that giving up caffeine will have a positive impact on my sleep patterns and energy level.
  • Yoga. Three days a week.
  • Cardio. At least 30 minutes, five days a week.
  • Walking. 2 miles, five days a week.

Cooking and Food

  • Learn to make my own pasta.
  • Cook with a totally new to me ingredient once per month.
  • Make at least one vegetarian meal each week.


  • Call or write to my legislators weekly. A thankless task for a leftist in suburban Ohio, but it ought to be done.
  • Get involved in local government. Currently looking at opportunities in my town.
  • Hit a Nazi with my purse if I get the chance.

Personal and Miscellany

  • Get a tattoo. I’m about 95% certain of what I’m going to get. Just have to find an artist and get it done.
  • Learn a new skill. I’m thinking knitting, but I haven’t decided yet.

Blog/Life Update: October 16, 2016

So, yikes. It’s been a while, and (as always) there’s a somewhat good excuse for my absence and lack of updates (although I’ve been somewhat active on Twitter, even when not putting out anything longer here).

Here’s the deal: fucking bedbugs. We found a few in my daughter’s room last week, and a couple more in several other places in the apartment. Apparently, even if you just have a few, you have to treat it it like a full-blown infestation, and this is expensive, time-consuming, and just–generally–extremely disruptive to one’s life. There’s no way of knowing where they came from (I would guess one of my daughter’s friends’ houses, but they could have come from a restaurant, theater, hotel, grocery store or literally anywhere according to the exterminator), and everything about having them (and it really is just a few of them–fortunately, we caught them early, even though not as early as I originally thought/hoped). In any case, everything about this situation is an absolute nightmare–from the bugs themselves, to my daughter’s reaction to them, to the smell of pesticide, the constant psychosomatic itching, the non-stop cleaning and laundering and vacuuming, and so on–and I have been unable to accomplish much of anything creative or writing-related for two straight weeks.

So, basically, everything is terrible.

The good news, such as it is, is that there is–sort of–hopefully–an end in sight for this mess. We’ve already had an exterminator here once, and he’s coming back this week for a second treatment that will hopefully take care of things. With any luck, we’ll be able to put all our stuff away soon and life can start going back to normal. This week, I’ve got a couple of things planned already, and I’m hoping to start getting caught up on some backlog of work I’ve been meaning to do. Most significantly, I’m planning to get caught up with writing about some of the shows I’m watching this season, so watch for that. I’ve got a couple of book reviews almost finished and several more to do, and I’m hoping to make some progress there as well. That said, I still have no idea when the exterminator is actually going to be here this week, and there’s always the outside chance that he’s going to have more bad news for me when he does show up. So, no promises. I figure if I keep my productivity goals very low, I’m less likely to be disappointed and self-hating at the end of the week.

Self care.
Self care.

This whole situation, combined with other life stresses (this fucking year, you guys) and this hot garbage fire of a U.S. election season, has caused me to plunge into, well, maybe not an actual depression but certainly a decided funk after a couple of years of relatively robust mental health, so I’ve been, frankly, trying to focus on self-care in order to head off any potential mental health crisis. There’s good news on this front, as well. A combination of good books, enjoying the nice weather, and judicious application of alcohol seems to working to help me keep my head above water, bad brain chemicals-wise. It’s not perfect, but it beats the abject misery of a straight-up bout of can’t-get-out-of-bed-or-enjoy-anything depression, which is something I’ve felt precariously close to for months.

TLDR: I have been away from blogging for life reasons, which sucks, but I’m trying my best to get back on track and have some hope that I will be successful in doing so soon-ish.

Happy New Year! Time to kick 2016’s ass!

This is the first year in a long time that I’ve felt like making proper New Year’s resolutions, although I did have a few half-assed ones last year. Frankly, it’s just really nice to be starting the year off with a goal greater than just not being completely crushed under the weight of depression and anxiety. I haven’t felt this level of positivity since, well, maybe ever. It certainly helps that 2015 was a pretty alright year for me, all things considered.

That said, I think that part of the reason I did have some struggles in 2015 is because I didn’t really have a proper plan for the year. So, 2016 is going to be largely about establishing routines and building better habits. It’s also going to be a year about getting on the road to achieving some long term goals, now that I’m at a point where I’m no longer just dealing with immediate crises all the time.

Health and Fitness Goals

My go-to resolution in this category, for years has been “quit smoking.” This was always a lie, because I loved smoking and didn’t really want to quit, but in 2015 I did it anyway. It turns out smoking hinders bone healing, so I gave it up cold turkey when I broke my food, and it seems silly to start up again now—especially since I made it through the holiday season without doing it.

After breaking my foot last year, basically all of my health and fitness goals except quitting smoking were heavily compromised for the rest of the year. By Thanksgiving, I was ready to just give up, and the last week I’ve basically been subsisting on leftover cookies and Red Bull, with the occasional McDonald’s double cheeseburger(s). All that is stopping as of Monday (I’ve still got a few leftovers to deal with). Concrete goals:

  1. Walk at least one mile, at least five days per week, leftover broken foot pain and swelling permitting.
  2. Do 30-45 minutes of cardio at least five days per week.
  3. Start logging my meals in MyFitnessPal again. This was actually really helpful last year, so I think it’s a good habit to get back into.
  4. No more energy drinks. I want to get back to only drinking water and the occasional tea or coffee.
  5. No more fast food. Or at least much, much less than I’ve been having. It’s all terrible for me, it doesn’t even taste that good, and it makes me feel like shit afterwards most of the time.
  6. Cook more often and more adventurously. To this end, I’ve already subscribed to RawSpiceBar, which will get me three new spice mixes, plus recipes, every month. I am super excited about this.

Professional Goals

This is the year that I finally break down and go to college. After three years of no regular job, and with very few prospects, I’m doing it. If I get started now, my hope is that I can finish my bachelor’s in three years and get a decent job by the time my daughter is out of high school.

  1. Finish the college application process by January 30.
  2. Figure out how I’m going to pay for college.
  3. Keep looking for part time and freelance work to supplement my partner’s income and help defray some college expenses.

Financial Goals

2015 was the first year in a long time where we were consistently caught up on things. Even my breaking my foot and my daughter fracturing her elbow a few months later weren’t completely devastating events. My daughter and I both got new computers, and I was able to replace/upgrade some things in my kitchen. 2016, however, is going to be a year of paying things off and saving money.

  1. Have an actual written budget for our household.
  2. Start being more conscientious about writing grocery lists—and sticking strictly to them. Probably the number one way in which we overspend is by buying extras at the grocery store.

Blogging and Writing Goals

In 2015, I started SF Bluestocking as a new and more serious blogging project to encourage me to write when I realized that using Tumblr as my main platform was actually stifling my productivity. This blog has been steadily gaining readers month after month, and I’ve probably written more in the last six months than I had in the previous two years. In 2016, I hope to continue to grow the blog, but I’m also starting to recognize that my vision of what it could be is bigger than what I can accomplish on my own, but also highly dependent on how the next year shapes up in terms of my furthering my education. In the long term, obviously, university will make me a better writer and increase the quality of my work. Short term, though, I expect that I will at some point become temporarily less active, so I’m trying to plan accordingly.

  1. I need to set realistic goals for myself. This means that perhaps I can’t keep up writing about half a dozen or so shows every week AND read AND see movies AND write about other things that I’m interested in AND have a life away from my computer. So sometime in the next couple of days, I’m going to sit down and make a calendar, with deadlines and everything, to help me manage my time better.
  2. I need to work with other people. While I am concerned about my ability to manage things here and go to school full time, I think that finding a partner or two or three for this endeavor would be more of a help than a hindrance. I feel like SF Bluestocking is a project that will only benefit by a bigger and more diverse group of people working on it. I don’t have a plan for this yet, but my goal is to figure it out by the end of March.
  3. I used to write a lot of fiction, but I haven’t in many years even though I loved doing it and wasn’t terrible at it. In 2016, unrelated to the SF Bluestocking project, my goal is to write one piece of short fiction, at least 1500 words, every month.
  4. And have one finished piece of fiction by the end of the year that I would feel comfortable trying to get published.

Personal and Lifestyle Goals

This is where I’m getting into weird territory because I can’t remember the last time I was in a good enough spot on January 1 to even be contemplating this sort of thing. It’s a real testament to my improved mental health that I’m able to do it this year, so I don’t want to go crazy with making huge plans that I won’t actually go through with. Instead, I’ll stick to just a few modest goals that feel pretty doable.

  1. Learn a new language. I’ve already downloaded Duolingo on my phone, and I’m starting with German. It’s kind of cheating, since I took three years of German in high school, but that was over fifteen years ago, and I’ve apparently forgotten a lot.
  2. Once a month, do something nice with my daughter, just the two of us. We don’t spend enough quality time together, which is too bad, because, really, she just gets cooler the older she gets (currently twelve).
  3. Keep my home work space clean. There’s a lot about it that isn’t ideal, but the least I can do is minimize clutter. Hopefully, this will help with some of my productivity issues.
  4. Read more mindfully. Last year, I’d hoped to read two books a week, but feel short. This year, I’m scaling back my reading goal by about 25% and planning to be even choosier about what I read than I already have been. The biggest change, though, is that I’m planning to read at least one nonfiction title per month. I feel like I forget nonfiction exists sometimes if I don’t make a point of seeking it out on purpose, so this year I’ll be doing that.

Looking back at this list, I feel like it’s longer and more ambitious than I originally intended, but I’m gonna just go with it.

What’s your New Year’s resolution/plan?