01 January, 2009

A New Year's Declaration

Happy New Year, everyone!

I've never been one for making resolutions, because I tend not to keep them. The problem, I think, is that they tend to be too specific and therefore set up for failure. I resolve to lose 20 pounds this year. I resolve to repaint the house. I resolve not to buy yarn until I have used up at least 30 skeins. What if the above person loses 17 pounds? Repaints 3 of the five intended rooms? Buys a single skein of Dream in Color Smooshy on sale because it is a colorway she has been admiring for a long time, but otherwise does not add to the stash? Has this person failed? I say no. After all, she is 17 pounds lighter, has 3 freshly painted rooms, and has reduced the stash by 29 skeins.

So this year, I am making a declaration rather than a resolution. I declare that the following is a list of things I would like to work on this year...

Get Healthier
I have to face the fact that I'm approaching... um, well, let's just say I am now closer to 40 than 30. And my body is telling me that I can't treat it the way that I treated it in my 20s. Weight doesn't come off the way it used to. Gluttony now results in indigestion. Two beers make me sleepy, more make me drunk. Yes, I'm such a lightweight. Ideas to work on this part of the declaration:
  • Eat more locally produced foods. I'm not going to adhere to a strict 100 Mile Diet, but I would like to be more mindful of where my food is coming from, eat foods that are in season, and support local producers of food. Shop as much as possible at farmer's markets, the Lansing City Market, local farms, and join the Locavores group on Ravelry.
  • Eat out less, and when I do eat out, make reasonable choices.
  • Save "blowing it" for special occasions.
  • Fully utilize my cookbooks and Cooking Light magazine.
  • Go on more walks.
  • Get my bike restored so that I can use it this summer.
  • Join the Runagogo group on Ravelry.
  • I'm not giving up Diet Coke, so don't even think about it.
Improve the House
I've lived in This Old House for over five years now, and much of it is the same as when I bought it. Yes, dollars were being spent on going back to school for my social studies endorsement and the front porch rebuild, but now that those are over, I need to move on some other things. Here are some ideas:
  • Organize closets, drawers, cupboards, and storage area.
  • Work on the breakfast nook to make the kitchen more usable.
  • Reorganize the side entry.
  • Replace ugly light fixtures.
  • Paint.
  • Work on a landscape plan, even it if doesn't get carried out this year.
  • Work on a plan for a backyard deck/patio, even if it doesn't get carried out this year.
  • Have the dead tree removed from the back yard.
  • Fix and finish the fence.
  • Switch the bedrooms (guest bedroom becomes my bedroom, and vice versa) and get better mattresses.
  • Area rugs before next winter would be a really, really good thing.
  • The bathrooms? Ay, ay, ay.
Reduce the Stash
I've been knitting for a little over a year now. Over the past year, friends and family saw me purchase yarn and books and tools. They reminded me (sometimes gently, and sometimes not so gently) that when I start a new hobby, I usually go full speed ahead and then burn out in a few months. They saw it with scrapbooking. They saw it with genealogy. So their concerns were not unreasonable, but I have one thing to say to them: Fooey on you! You tell me that I am like a little old lady with my knitting needles and that this too will go by the wayside, and yet you covet my knitted goods! I laugh in your face! Did you see the list of things I knit in one year? Knitting is not going away, and neither is this blog!

Rant over.

I tend to have the Yarn Harlot's philosophy when it comes to the stash. We wouldn't tell a budding artist not to buy paint and canvas, would we? So why do we feel guilty for the size of our stashes? I don't, not one bit. I do, however, wish that a bit more of the stash would be turned into the projects that I had in mind when I purchased the yarn. (Yes, I'm one of those knitters. Rarely do I buy yarn if I don't have an idea of what it will eventually be. Unless it's sock yarn. Or unless Rob is pushing again.) I also wish that I would use more of the patterns and books that I've purchased. And so... here are some ideas:
  • When a new project crops up, consult the stash first before immediately running out to buy yarn.
  • Half-used skeins are a problem. Organize the stash so there is a specific place for half-used skeins, and label them.
  • Join Stash Knit Down 2009. Log your progress.
  • When a new project crops up, consult the patterns and knitting books as well as the free patterns on Ravelry before buying a new pattern.
  • Do not buy any more knitting books. Ask for them as presents or participate in swaps, but do not buy them for yourself. You don't really need them.
  • If there is a single pattern you want out of a knitting book, see if you can get the book from the library.
  • Read your knitting books so you know what's available in them. Sticky possible future projects, especially gift projects.
So that's it. My three declarations: get healthier, improve the house, reduce the stash.

And this has been an entirely too serious blog post, and way too text heavy, so I now leave you and turn over the blog to Scooter.


rmsheffler said...

Great ideas! I like the thought of "declarations" as opposed to "resolutions", too. Have you ever read French Women Don't Get Fat? It's a great book all about being healthy by living in moderation and being comfortable in your own skin. I highly recommend it.

inkberryblue said...

Thanks for a thought provoking post. I like your ideas too. I can relate to a lot of your declarations, especially the ones about renovating. I often run into trouble because I make such an enormous list of things to do around my home I don't achieve what I've planned. These holidays I'm trying to work daily in small, managable blocks of time ~ fifteen minutes in the garden, fifteen minutes in the living room.
...and I agree with rmsheffler: French Women Don't Get Fat is a fabulous book. =]
Happy New Year!

Mary Ann said...

Sounds to me like you're going to be very busy this year. I'm happy to hear that you've discovered that your body isn't responding the way it used to do to food. I didn't come to that realization until it was too late and I had a lot of weight to lose!! LOL

As far as the stash goes, I say the more the better. If you see some yarn that you have to have, then buy it! Think of a use for it later!

See you back at the Insanity group on Rav. We're going to have a great year!!

Ceci said...

What a great list. And I agree. If you get ANYthing on those lists, be proud of it! The rest of the list will wait for you. :) Have a wonderful 2009!

PS Your Scooter image is broken... What was it?? I'm curous. :)

Knitty Cent said...

aah, such a cute pic of the kitty. i love your resolutions. it's about living better, not sticking to a strict list!

Knit Pickins said...

Hmmm... the Scooter image is just a picture of Scooter. There is no link. When you click on it, the image should just open in another window. It's working for me.

SusanB-knits said...

I'm with you... I don't like making resolutions but "declarations" is definitely a better way of looking at it. I too am trying to eat healthier this year.