2016 – The Year of Lowered Expectations!

Everyone’s making New Year’s resolutions and…well, I just kind of want to get back to my Growing Personally project.

2015 was a game changer: I finished the first draft of my novel, I bought a house and, hey, I made bread from scratch!  Unfortunately, because the end of the year became so eventful for me, my Personal Growth project turned into actual growth.

There were so many things I didn’t get to.  Books by Krakauer.  Euginedes.  Atwood.  I never did zumba.  I didn’t cook any kind of red meat really, at all.  I wasted time, sure.  But I grew. And I hope you did, too, out there in 2015.

So, I’ve compiled a list of favorite things I did this year:

BOOKS

Favorite: Blindness

blindness-400x350

Honorable Mention: Poisonwood Bible, Lolita.

I don’t know why Blindness won out for me.  Maybe it’s because, like my sister Jen says, I really just like miserable things.  But I like to think it’s because of the character of the Doctor’s Wife.

There were a lot of really badass women in Poisonwood, as well, of course. Their arcs are what ultimately led me to give them an honorable mention.  Lolita?  Well, I just enjoyed taking a trip inside the mind of a deviant.  But overall, the horrific circumstances playing out in Blindness, led by a heroine of such distinct caliber…it was my faves, you guys.

RECIPES:

Favorite: Jelly Bean Bread

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Honorable Mention: Banana Bread, Croque Monsieur

Ok, so full disclosure: the banana bread became a staple in our house.  It was so easy to make and a nice little grab and go breakfast…I thought about listing it as my favorite.  The croque was DELICIOUS and made me feel like a Fancy Pants Superstar after I was able to pull off that sauce.  I’ll definitely be making it again, though it’s kind of spendy.

But when reflecting on which recipe drew the most pride from me, which one was the most memorable experience…I gotta go with the Rainbow Bread!

It started off as a dare from my sister and took an entire day to muster, but once it was done…Holy Shit, y’all.  I made bread.  In different colors.  From scratch.

WORKOUTS:

Favorite: Swimming laps at the pool

Honorable Mention: Belly dancing, Rowing with Pedro

For those of you who know me well, it should come as no surprise that swimming beat out pretty much everything else.  I bought a new speedo right after Christmas and Jason got me an underwater ipod for my birthday…I plan on kicking this habit up a notch in the New Year.  I just have to find the most convenient LA Fitness pool to use corresponding with:

MY NEW HOUSE!

Okay, so after about the end of September, I was out of commission for this project because Jason and I decided to buy a house.  And we got a pimping one.  Just look:

My dogs have a yard,  my food has a pantry, my clothes have their own washer/dryer!  I feel like a G.D. grownup.  I can’t wait to have you all over for tea and trumpets: Because fuck crumpets, we can make all the noise we want!

A NOTE ON GERTRUDE MACCABEE:

As I’ve referenced earlier in this post (and extensively on Facebook, TYVM), I finished the first draft of my novel.  I have an editor working on it now (LOVE YOU, CHRISTINA!) and another dear friend who is giving it a pass.  I say this to you now and with love: I would like more readers.  If any of you out there in the ether feel like reading my novel (either this first draft or the next one) and giving me your constructive feedback, I would sincerely appreciate it.  I’m looking for about two or three of you.  Hit a girl up.

Here’s the closest thing I have to a synopsis for your consideration:

A mind-reader from London.  A speed-reading supergenius from Beijing. A giant from Siberia and a healer from Alaska.  Meet the seven teens who, very soon, could be the last remaining people on the planet.

When Gertrude Maccabee, the chubby, only-single-girl at EvenStar Academy, helps her popular classmate deliver a baby in a broken down train and the infant survives against insurmountable odds, it makes national news. The new celebrity enjoys an uncomfortable notoriety, until she’s abducted by a mysterious order of monks and taken to their secluded chateau, where she is told that she and six other extraordinary teenagers are prophesied to be the Onliest: the last people God has chosen to survive after a cataclysmic extinction event.  

LOWERING EXPECTATIONS:

So, what’s next in 2016?  Well, for starters, I’ve learned not to try and keep myself on a schedule.  Halfway through 2015, things were going so well that I planned on this year being an exploration of all Holy Texts (Bible, Quran, Baghavad Gita…) of the major world religions (along with visits to their corresponding worship services, where I could find them).  I’m, uh…not sure that’s going to pan out.

To be clear: I am going to do that project.  I’m just not sure when I’ll have time for it.

I’m also developing no less than FOUR playscripts.  Needless to say, I got super backlogged these past three years, working on Gertrude.  I’ve been submitting the same play to competitions for years and not getting any bites.  I need some fresh blood.  So, that’s where my focus has to be for the time being.  Once I get a draft of the most recent script I’m working on, I’ll need about six actresses to pull together for a reading, so any of my Cincy thespians reading this (Tara? Tess?  Lauren?): I’m hoping to be done by Easter.  (I’ve put it in writing, so now I’ve got to do it!)  Hit me up.

But, in the interest of maintaining well-rounded habits, here’s some goals for the year:

SHIT I WANT TO READ:

  1.  The Girl on the Train
  2. Leaving Time, by Jodi Piccoult (Mom, I told you I would!)
  3. The Outlander series (Susannah and Amelia, I told you I would!)
  4. Moby Dick (because I’m an insane person)
  5. Into the Wild
  6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  7. Odd Thomas (Mom and Dad, I told you I would!)
  8. Middlesex
  9. LOTS OF PLAYS…

Seriously.  I’ve discovered this New Play Exchange where playwrights can upload their work in the interest of getting it published, produced, or generally talked about in some fashion.  I’ve already compiled a giant reading list of works by…well, some of them are people I’ve never even heard of!  But this year, I want to start reading plays.  By everybody.

And maybe some of them will read MY plays.  Because God knows no one else is.

SHIT I WANT TO DO:

  1.  Attend more theater.  Last fall I got so busy with everything, I missed all the Playhouse shows except Sex with Strangers.  I vow to not let that happen this spring.  I have friends with shows coming up that I’m super excited about at other venues (Ave Q and Beauty Queen of Leenane for starters!)  I must make my passion a priority.
  2. Go out.  Trivia night?  Karaoke?  Escape the Room? I need to feel like I’m in my twenties again.  Before menopause starts, please.
  3. Expand my cosmetology experience.  I’ve never dyed my hair or had anything waxed.  I’m thinking that may change this year.
  4. Go to church.  I’m a Unitarian.  I just have never lived close to a Unitarian church or been able to be awake on Sunday mornings to attend services.  I hope to change that this year.
  5. VOTE.  Oh, yeah!  It’s a big Election Year!  So I’m sure I’ll be weighing in on that as the months wear on.
  6. Host parties.  I have a big swinging pad now.  So, you’re all welcome to come over.  There’s a modest, but exciting above-ground pool.  The Oscars are coming up.  I’m told you can grill things on the machine that’s on our patio.  Literally, you guys.  Come on over.
  7. Join a book club?  Or something of that nature.  Something with booze and opinions.
  8. Zumba.  Seriously, let’s make this happen.
  9. Take a trip.  Vegas?  NYC?  Tampa-sanctuary again?  Who knows, but I’m sure I’ll need to GTFO sooner or later.
  10. Do a Cousins Craft Show.  I make purses out of old jeans, if you didn’t know.  I’ve kind of back-burnered the habit this past year, but I hope to resurrect it and take the stock I’ve made (old and new) to a craft show to sell my wares with my cousins who make blankets and candles.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Overall, I have every hope that 2016 could be as good as 2015.  But no expectations.  As I write this, my brother is recovering from surgery in Dearborn County Hospital.  My sister’s kid is preparing for another surgery.  I have loved ones in jail, others reeling from difficult breakups, crushing personal grief and loss or having a crisis of purpose.  Even I myself, at least once a day, get a small feeling that I’m just barely keeping the wolf of Midlife Crisis at bay.

But I lay me down to sleep in the evenings (on my new, memory foam mattress!) and tell myself that the wolf didn’t get me or my loved ones today.  That I love and am loved, abundantly.  That my cup runneth over.  

And that I have a feeling it will continue to do so through December and beyond.

Happy New Year to All!

 

 

 

 

 

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