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DW only friends, [personal profile] lakeeffectgirl and I are going to rewatch Once a Thief in August, and you're invited to join us! Here is a Tumblr post with details, a schedule, and a link to sign up to join the email discussion thread.

2017 Goals

Jan. 2nd, 2017 03:43 pm
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I took a slightly different approach to coming up with goals this year. I really like Danielle LaPorte's year in review exercise, so I did that, and looked at what the new year looks like if it's full of what works and the themes from the highlights of the last year. I've also been revisiting The Desire Map and reworking my way through the core desired feelings process, and here are the feelings I think are going to work for me (at least for now): light, giddy, deeply present, and connection; or, possibly, the more syntactically parallel: light, giddiness, deep presence, connection. (I think the first three might be different flavors of the same thing, but they feel different enough that it's worth keeping all three.) I thought about those two exercises when making goals for this year.

Do regular life check-ins. I think I'm going to create a structure/worksheet for this (I'll share it if I do). The basic idea is that I want to check in with myself every week to see what's working, what isn't, what was great, what I want to change, and what I want to stop doing.

Create and strengthen connections. Do at least one thing every week to strengthen connections with existing, new, or potential friends. Do this with local people at least once a month.

Go on vacation/take time off. Take time off from work at least once a quarter. Go to the beach (any beach). Take a vacation of some sort with Molly.

Attend to my spiritual life. Do something every day that draws inspiration from something outside of me. I have a daily yoga and meditation practice, and there's a different sort of inspiration/spiritual lift that comes from taking in wisdom/inspiration/spiritual teaching from outside of myself.

Make time to take in art. Take in some sort of beautiful, unusual, and/or innovative art every month. This may include: attending dance performances, reading something very different from what I usually read, spending time with beautifully illustrated children's books from the library, going to an art exhibit.

Speak up. Part of this is an intention around making the world a better place over the next year(s). For a specific, measurable goal: write something non-fiction every week. I'm not sure if these are things to post here or on Tumblr or if I should start a Wordpress blog like a Real Blogger. Advice, suggestions, and opinions welcome!

Take care of my health. Specifically here: get the gum grafts done, and start taking melatonin before it really becomes summer to see if it works better that way.
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Save money. This did not happen. On the bright side here, I pretty much broke even.

Take care of my car. I had the timing belt replaced, got the recall-based maintenance done, and had the check engine light looked at (repeatedly - it's mysterious and temperamental, but at least they were able to smog it).

Take care of my health. I saw a new doctor; did some things that made my summer depression better; and took time off once a quarter, including three non-consecutive weeks during the summer. I did not get the gum grafts done.

Local connections. Things I did to create and strengthen local connections: I joined a couple of meetups, and tried befriending some people I met at one of them. (They later moved two states away.) I joined my apartment complex book club. Two local friends and I have been doing coffee shop writing dates every few weeks. I also went to services a couple of times (one Friday night and one Saturday morning), which was nice and I will probably do again. Socially, it's kind of weird since we moved here when I was three. It's hard to feel like I can just be myself when half the people there know my mom and knew me when I was a kid and probably have some idea about me that may or may not have any relation to reality. I would take any advice anyone has about navigating that sort of social situation.

2016 Goals

Jan. 2nd, 2016 04:58 pm
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I'm not making any writing related goals this year. I will write, and I'm going to keep doing my weekly email check-ins and monthly LJ check-ins but I'm just going to write whatever I want and let it just happen. Goals for this year:

Save money.
This is kind of a hard one, since some of my other goals involve spending money and I would ideally like to buy new winter clothes next winter (since I bought new summer clothes this year). In practice:
  • Increase the monthly automatic transfer from my checking account to my savings account.

  • Minimal travel. My sister by choice had a baby at the beginning of December, and I want to go visit her and her family this spring. If I can swing a super cheap hotel room, couple of days at the beach this summer would probably be good for my soul. Otherwise, no traveling. (I do have enough frequent flier miles for a free domestic flight, but I would like to save those for a potential 2017 vacation with [ profile] lakeeffectgirl.)

  • Ask for a raise. This worked out for me this year, and it's a thing I have to do since this is the first job I've ever had where there isn't some sort of automatic yearly cost of living adjustment or performance review + merit-based raise.
Take care of my car. At the very least, my car needs some recall-based maintenance, a belt replaced, and whatever is causing my check engine light to be on all the time fixed (this has to be done early this year because I think my car has to pass smog inspection this year). Ideally, I would also have whatever is causing the SRS light to be on fixed. (I hope it's just the seat belts, which probably do need replacing and won't cost me any money.)

Take care of my health. My health is generally pretty good, but some things I need to do this year:
  • Find a new doctor/nurse practitioner. I haven't been to a doctor in a few years, and I both have some specific health concerns and need a basic checkup, including blood work.

  • Gum grafts for my teeth. I ate mandarins this winter, and the gum recession increased (probably because of the acidity) to the point that drinking cold water/eating cold foods hurt some of my teeth, which has done way more than any of my dental hygienist's lectures to convince me I really have to do this. Insurance-wise, this probably means I only do the first one this year.

  • Deal with the thing where I get depressed in the summer. This has been going on for a long time, it got really bad this summer, and I need to be serious about taking care of it. I tried sleeping more this summer, which helped, but didn't fix it all and took a lot of time out of my life. The first step here is to talk to whatever health care professional I find.

  • Take time off at least once a quarter, and take more time off during the summer. I haven't taken any vacation time since I got back from visiting [ profile] lakeeffectgirl at the end of September, and I'm really feeling the mental/emotional strain of that. This week I'm going to start teaching my new coworker how to do my job so I can take some days off.
Local connections. I don't really have local friends. There's one other friend, but I don't know if we've spent enough time together to know if we want to be close friends, and mostly we see each other when another friend is in town. I'm really lonely for in-person friendships. I miss hanging out talking about everyday things that aren't worth sending an email about and seeing movies with other people. In practical terms for this year: Do at least one thing every month to either meet new people locally or strengthen connections with people I know locally. As my dad says, it's hard to make new friends if you don't go to bars or church, so this probably means branching out in trying out meetups (even when they're inconvenient) and/or possibly finding some sort of volunteer project to join or class to take. At the risk of being too picky, things I'm looking for in new friends:
  • People who can/will listen nonjudgmentally. This means listening, acknowledging the reality of my feelings, and only offering advice when asked. I will, of course, do my very best to offer the same to them.

  • People who will allow me my joy. I've gotten better over the years at gauging what sort of movies I should just go see alone, but I've also had experiences, with various friends, where I felt like I didn't get to enjoy something I actually really liked because the immediate reaction was for them to talk about how terrible it was. I'm also working on not saying mean things about things other people like.

  • People who can keep up with a conversation. I have met some lovely people over the years who just made conversations drag because they couldn't move on with the group. There's being excited about a thing you want to talk about all the time, which is one thing, and then there's just not being able to keep up, which is not fun for me.

  • People who can/want to hang out at times and places that also work for me. Deep down, I'm a little old lady: I go to bed early and I don't like really noisy places.
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Today I'm thankful for fangirls. In general, fangirls always make my life better. In particular, I'm on vacation with [ profile] lakeeffectgirl and we've gotten to spend good food + fannish discussion time with two other fangirls on this trip.
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I figured I should balance out the wish in my last personal post with some gratitude. Not that I'm trying to deny my wish or say that making it isn't an acceptable use of time/energy/words, but gratitude is also important, also a good use of time/energy/words, and also something I want to both feel for myself and put out into the world.

One of the prompts in the soul limber exercise of The Desire Map workbook section is, "Light and heavy: This brings me alive, enlivens me, reminds me of who I am." One of the things I wrote down was "positive reflections from others." Some examples of that:

On a day when I was feeling like I wasn't being my best self, I posted some sort of being a better person inspirational quote to Facebook. One of my friends commented on it and said I was a reminder to him to be a better person.

I kept thinking I wasn't being supportive or loving enough to one of my friends, and then she told me I'm a great friend.

I always think it takes me a while to get to know people and that I'm slow to open up, and then I got a holiday card from a new fannish friend who said she appreciated how open I was to making new friends.

I felt very vulnerable with my last personal entry, and then people commented on it and said I was brave for putting it out there, and also commented on how much I really do this kind of personal development work.

I think one of the big life lessons all of those instances is something I've been thinking about in this whole inquiry into my soul process: how I see myself, how other people see me, and how I think other people see me are three different (and only sometimes overlapping) things. (Unanswered question: where does who I actually am fit into that?) This is part of what I appreciate about those positive reflections: they remind me of something else I wrote down in the soul limber exercises: I can be warmer and more loving than I think. They're also, of course, positive attention being paid to me (yay!) and reminders that other people see and love me. Thank you to everyone who has reflected myself back to me like this.

One more example that doesn't fit the pattern of the previous four:

My brother and his girlfriend K were in town recently (they moved about five hours away in December), so we had family dinner at my parents' house. When I got there, K said to me, "You look good. You look really happy." That's definitely in the top five best compliments I've ever gotten.
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When this season's schedule came out and there was a Saturday night Habs at Sharks game, I decided I was going. (San Jose is only about a three- or four-hour drive, and by far the closest NHL city to me.) Then [ profile] lakeeffectgirl decided she was coming to visit and going to the game with me, which made for an awesome week, even above and beyond the game. We went for the expensive tickets and ended up in the ninth row, so we had a pretty good view of things.

I had never been to a professional hockey game before and there are so many things that were fascinating to me about it as an experience. People dress in team gear, and by "people," I mean nearly every person we saw. Most of them were in Sharks gear, a few of them (including us) in bright red Habs gear, and one in an LA Kings Kopitar jersey. (No, we don't know either.) I'm wearing a scarf, so you can't quite see my red Habs shirt, but here we are:

Picture! )

The guys behind us kept up running commentary on the game, and there was a guy next to us explaining who the Habs players were to his girlfriend. On power plays, the crowd does a shark chomp motion with their arms. During the first fight, everyone stood up. I appreciated it because it made it easier for me not to watch and I was disturbed by the crowd's enthusiasm for violence. I'm going to have to track down some sort of readings on sociological thought about game attendance as ritual. The San Jose police directed traffic outside the arena, which means I'm also curious about the economic costs to municipalities of having an arena. (I'm sure both those things exist; I just have to go looking for them.)

And then there was the game itself. The Habs lost 4-0, but I don't care as much as I care about the fact that I got to watch Danny play hockey. We didn't really realize it was his 900th game until I was reading my Google Alerts the next day, but I was happy to see him play anyway. And by happy, I mean that when he was on the ice, I just watched him instead of the game as a whole. As [ profile] lakeeffectgirl reported on Twitter, "Danny checks/gets checked, @rsadelle says, 'This is good for me.'" Which, yes, please, Danny getting slammed into boards or walls (without hurting him in a bad way). He also took a quite a few face-offs, including a number on our end of the rink.

Here's one of [ profile] lakeeffectgirl's pictures of Danny's ass as he prepared to take one of those face-offs:

Picture! )

My favorite thing about watching Danny play in person is that every time he was near the puck during a stoppage in play, he picked it up with his stick and bounced it around until the refs/linesmen were ready to take it back. I've caught glimpses of him doing that on TV, but the cameras usually cut away or they go to commercial, so I had no idea it was a regular thing he does. I couldn't figure out if he was showing off or if he's like a little kid who can't resist playing with any puck in his vicinity. He was also one of the last people off the ice at the end of warm-ups because he was still shooting pucks at the net.

Other game note: BGally kept taking face-offs against Joe Thornton. We don't know whose plan that was, but we would both also be into BGally getting pushed up against walls. Or Danny and BGally shoving each other into walls. Either of those things. (Did you know? According to their official stats, Danny and BGally are the same height and BGally only weighs six pounds more than Danny.)

We're thinking about seeing the Kings play next year. Maybe the Kings and the Stars if they play each other at a convenient time and place.
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Those of you who know [ profile] norwich36 already know that she went in for surgery today, and that I am the official LJ update person. I just talked to her on the phone (yes, she was awake and coherent already): the surgery went well, and she does not have cancer! They're keeping her under observation for a few more hours, but she should be leaving the hospital later today.
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Today I'm thankful for fandom. Fandom is, in many ways, my home. It's a place where I fit in. It's a place where I met some of my very closest friends. It's a place where I get to tell stories about existing characters or people. It's a place where people enjoy those stories. It's a place where I get to read an ever-expanding collection of stories that are exactly the kind of story I want to read. It's a place where I don't have to ever mention that I have this whole life that can be hard to explain to outsiders because you're all in that life with me. ♥
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Today I'm thankful to be part of a group of women who mutually support each other through tough times. (And celebrate each other's good times too, of course.)
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Today I'm thankful for my local and locally-grown friends. I had lunch with Brad, who is in town for the week, and Stevie, who lives here, and then went to the movies and dinner with [ profile] norwich36, all of which was an absolute delight. I'm also looking forward to seeing [ profile] allegram and her husband when they come to visit later this week.
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Today I'm thankful for everyone I follow on Twitter who was watching the same hockey game I was. It made for a highly enjoyable experience.
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Today I'm thankful [ profile] ninja_orange ran across Ninja Cheerleaders on Netflix. According to Wikipedia, this is a remake of Cheerleader Ninjas, which I have actually seen. Cheerleader Ninjas is an abysmally bad movie I wouldn't recommend to anyone for any reason (you can watch the trailer here to get a sense of just how bad it is), but I have a very clear memory of renting it. There are a lot of things from earlier years that I just don't remember, but for some reason, I vividly remember standing in Hollywood Video with a group of friends I have mostly drifted from over the years looking at Cheerleader Ninjas and deciding that it was what we were going to watch. So while the movie itself was terrible, the reminder of its existence from [ profile] ninja_orange prompted me to think back fondly on that time and that group of friends.
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Making yearly writing goals is always an iffy proposition because I always end up writing a lot, but not being able to predict what it will be. (Case in point: hockey RPF.) This year I want to sell at least one book and finish writing book three. I'm back in the habit of working on book three every day (well, six days a week), and if I can also get back in the habit of editing every day, surely I can do both of these things by the end of the year. Plus, of course, my usual fic writing.

Midwest Trip
I really wanted to go visit [ profile] lakeeffectgirl in particular in October, and it just didn't happen. So assuming I have a job, I want to visit her and Team Chicago sometime in that late-April to mid-October time period when I can be there without freezing to death. (I am a wimp about the cold.) [ profile] lakeeffectgirl also mentioned possibly coming to visit me here, which would also be awesome. Either way, visiting with friends.

I read a lot of books in the last two months. I think I forgot how much I love that. I'd like to finish the seven or so books still in my unfinished pile, and figure out how to read more once I have a job again. I have a problem with stopping in the middle of a book, which means if I start reading in the evening, I'll keep reading just one more chapter until I'm done with the book and it's two hours past my bedtime, so maybe Saturday afternoon could be book reading time.

Physical Environment
My house is already very much designed to be comfortable for me, but reading Happier at Home made me think about what needs to be rearranged and tweaked:
  • Clean out the closet.

  • Figure out if I want to keep any of my belly dance stuff and what to do with the stuff I don't want anymore.

  • Give away/sell the manga I'm never going to read again and subsequently rearrange the bookshelf.

  • Replace the poster I no longer want hanging in my bedroom.

  • Make the wall across from my desk an inspiration wall. (I already have most of the things I want on there. I just need to frame them and also make a nice version of the "temporary" thing that's been there for a couple of years.)
If I eat eat sugar, eat only small/controlled amounts. I haven't figured out what the limit is yet, but I stopped buying sugary things in July or so and discovered in September that my body doesn't handle very much sugar well anymore. If I could figure out the limit, that would be helpful, but it seems easier and less painful to just stick to no sugar most of the time and only very small amounts when I do have it.

Financial Security
This feels strange to put on here; it doesn't seem like the same kind of goal as the other things. It feels greedy instead of lofty, and I'm not sure if anyone with retirement accounts really gets to worry that much about finances. But at the end of November, Gretchen Rubin made a post asking, "If, by the end of 2013, you could magically change one aspect of your life, what would you change?" My immediate, no thought needed answer was financial security. My financial situation was actually pretty stable for most of 2012, but I spent at least a third of the year feeling like it was more precarious than it really was (and in some ways it turned out to be not that stable). Specific goals:
  • Find a job with a stable entity that pays more than my last job and has reasonable benefits. A job I love would be awesome, but I'll settle for one I like, or at the very least one I don't hate.

  • Consolidate my retirement accounts.

  • Spend money only on consumables and important things. (Visiting/socializing with friends, a new skirt for summer, and replacing the purse that's literally falling apart all count as important).

  • Once I have a steady income again, set up automatic, regular deposits into my savings account.
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For reference, my 2012 goals post is here.

Priority: Health (Physical, Mental, Emotional)

Start walking again. I started walking again in April, which was a huge relief. I worked back up to three miles by November, and I'm so much happier.

Go to bed on time. Some months were better than others, but I put this on my daily goals tracking sheet, and it helped me stay on track. This isn't going to be one of my resolutions for this year, but I'm going to keep tracking it day-to-day.

Make at least two new recipes per month. I only managed to do this for two months consistently, although I did manage a total of five new recipes over the year. One of them (twice-baked potatoes) became one of my regular recipes, and another one (this cake) is something I'd like to try again with modifications.

Go to the beach. I went in August! It was exactly what I wanted. I even enjoyed the drive, which I haven't before. I think it was partially that I made playlists for the drive - one of music and one of podcasts, each of them long enough to cover most of the drive - and partially the novelty factor - I hadn't done a long drive in years, and I took roads I hadn't driven before in both directions. On the way home, I drove up Highway 1 on a gorgeous Tuesday morning with almost no other cars on the road.

Priority: Writing

Edit and sell books one and two. I started editing book two.

Write at least one book. I worked a little on book three, then got stuck and didn't work on it for something like seven months. I got into good habits in December, but it hasn't even cracked ten thousand words yet.

Finish/post all the little finishable/postable things I have lying about. I didn't quite get to all of them, but between 31 Days of Fic in March and Daily December Treats in December, I got to enough of them to call this a success.

Priority: Friendships

Plan a trip to Chicago at a time when [ profile] eleanor_lavish can also go. We did this in July! It was a lot of fun. Two lessons: 1. Taking care of myself, even if my habits and patterns don't match up with everyone else's, will make for a better experience. I insisted on going to the grocery store for rice cakes and peanut butter so I would have something for breakfast even if no one else was into breakfast/awake when I was, and I think I had a much better time because of it. 2. When going to the movies in the Midwest in the summer, I need to take a sweater.

Connect with the people I love but don't email every day at least once a month. I did okay with some people, but not with others. I may just need to get over myself when it comes to talking on the phone. I don't actually dislike it once I'm doing it, but I tend to dread it and then not make phone calls.

Make at least one new local friend. I was trying, and it just never worked out with the people I was trying to befriend.
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For the holidays last year, [ profile] siryn99 sent me a copy of Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature by Emma Donoghue. It was an interesting sounding book, and the best thing about it was that it meant she'd been paying attention to my talking about wanting to read more lesbian fiction.

Donoghue's premise is that there is a long history of desire between women in literature. She divides the book into six parts, each focusing on a different kind of story:

Travesties: Cross-dressing (whether by a woman or a man) causes the "accident" of same-sex desire.

Inseparables: Two passionate friends defy the forces trying to part them.

Rivals: A man and a woman compete for a woman's heart.

Monsters: A wicked woman tries to seduce and destroy an innocent one.

Detection: The discovery of a crime turns out to be the discovery of same-sex desire.

Out: A woman's life is changed by the realization that she loves her own sex.
Even though the book is arranged around themes and each theme encompasses literature from varying eras, the book also goes somewhat chronologically: "Travesties" starts with a story from Ovid (around 8 C.E.) and "Out" ends with Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet from 1998.

I read the whole book in three sittings, because it is completely engrossing. I've only read a couple of the pieces of literature Donoghue talks about, but she gives enough of a plot overview for each story that you can follow her history/argument even without the literary background. If you do want to read any of them, her selected bibliography includes lists of primary and secondary sources as well as a suggested further reading list: "I warmly recommend the following titles (given in the order of composition), because they are available and highly enjoyable."

Donoghue has enough examples over time that I definitely bought her argument for the long history of desire between women in literature. The part I'm a little iffy on is the way she treats endings. (I will freely admit that I have a bias here; story endings are very important to me.) Sure, there's a history, but in most cases, the women don't end up together at the end. For many of those stories, Donoghue's argument is that the return to the heterosexual norm doesn't logically fit with the rest of the story. For example, the convenient brother in female bridegroom stories (a woman dresses up as a man and another woman falls in love with her) doesn't quite make sense, because the woman fell in love with personality, not looks. That's an interesting argument, and points toward a long history of compulsory heterosexuality, but I thought it also glosses over the fact that there's a long history of thwarted desire between women in literature.

My mother wants to borrow the book next, but if anyone else wants to read it after her, let me know.
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Today I'm thankful for all of the wonderful friends in my life. I may not have made an individual post about you, but you are still a wonderful and important part of my life, and I'm thankful for you. ♥
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Today I'm thankful for [personal profile] puckling's Anti Lockout Squee Fest. Having to check in on my progress is good for me, and it's been a good way to start to get to know more people in hockey fandom. Plus, the picspam component is always great.
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Today I'm thankful for Tumblr. I was skeptical at first, but I've grown to really enjoy it, and I've made a couple of new friends in part because of our interactions on Tumblr.
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Yesterday I was thankful for [ profile] schuyler. Sky is always awesome, and yesterday she made me laugh by digging up her hilarious Craigslist missed connections ad from a couple of years ago.


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Ruth Sadelle Alderson


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