Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Resigned to It

It pains me to admit that I will not meet my goal of reading four books in January.

I know that it’s normal for most New Year’s resolutions to go by the wayside early on, but I really wanted do well with this reading one. It’s something I enjoy and for my benefit, unlike something that’s only for my benefit, like exercise or car maintenance. If I can’t even stick with a goal that I like, what are the odds that I would persevere with something I don’t? They are not good. Not good at all.

Over the weekend, I knocked out #2 and 3 and I had the temptation to choose a nice, slim #4 that I could finish up easily in three days. Instead, thanks to sheer stubbornness, I grabbed the next one on the queue, without knowing that The Hundred Secret Senses has over 400 pages. Initially, I suffered a lapse of reality and thought, “Four hundred pages? That’s only … 150 pages per night! Let’s go!” Needless to say, it has sealed my fate to be unsuccessful for January, seeing as I’m only on measly page 72 right now and even I have to accept the fact that I am not able to read 344 pages in one evening.

I really do like the book and I have to keep reminding myself of the real point here. It’s about me making time for reading, actually enjoying it, and not feeling like I have homework. I can’t seem to squelch my inner overachiever, who is eager to earn any gold star that might be out there. Maybe some personal growth and letting go of the need for rewards is somewhere embedded in here, too.

Anyway, being slow in January is no excuse for the rest of the year, so to achieve an average of four books per month, here’s to five in February…

Monday, January 29, 2007


During my brief stay in a hotel completely populated by high school students, I overheard some interesting tidbits …

While in an elevator with one boy who might be Chinese and a classmate who appears to be Indian:
Boy 1: But what’s the point of living well? Karma or something?
Boy 2: Well, if I lived well in the last life, then I’m enjoying a good life now as a human.
Boy 1: But you don’t know if you’re screwing something up now. What if you find yourself as a mushroom in the next life?
Boy 2: That’s not really the point, though. It’s really just to live as well as you can while you can.
Boy 1: … But then you’re a mushroom.

[Ha. I love it when teenagers are unintentionally hilarious.]


While walking through a hallway lined with lounging kids:
Girl: If it’s a girl you don’t know, you really shouldn’t play boob tag.

[What in the world…?]


While walking through the SEPTA station:
Another Girl: Mr. JG, you’d make a good daddy!

[Let’s not even go there, kids.]

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Over the Top

On Friday, JG and I found ourselves on the top of the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the ones made famous by Rocky and his gray sweatsuit. No, we didn’t run all the way up the stairs; we accidentally drove across them. In a car.

It all started out very innocently with a trip to the museum. I had never been there, so JG was humoring me and two of his friends came along for the ride. We followed signs for the parking lot, winding around and around the building at what I thought was a curiously high altitude. “I feel like we’re driving on top of the museum,” I commented, and of course, the rest of the car just laughed at me. RA was worrying again, as always. Then, the scenery opened up to reveal the stairs falling down to the right and columns of the museum’s façade rising up on the left. We were on top of the stairs, staring down at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. What in the world?

The friend in the driver’s seat paused as we reached the center of the patio and said jokingly, “Do you want to take a picture?” We yelled to get off the steps and we zoomed into a less visible side parking lot. As the car pulled into place, the ridiculousness of the whole thing settled in. We were on the steps! If Rocky had been there, we could have run him over. We might even be in people’s pictures of the museum. Crazy.

JG would later describe the episode as the highlight of his weekend. At least the trip to the museum (that I loved, by the way) was worth that much, I guess.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Philly Weekend

I’m taking the afternoon and tomorrow off! We’re going to Philly with friends! Yes! Oh, and meanwhile, JG and I are chaperoning a pack of kids.

I shouldn’t complain. The trip is almost free for us, not including the minor task of accompanying 45 high school students to participate in their Model United Nations fest. We’re all staying in the same hotel where the kids do their UN thing (compromise, treaties, resolution, etc.) so I’m told that this chaperoning gig is really more like checking off names on a list than babysitting. According to the faculty advisor, the kids are the “nerdy, well-behaved ones”, so hopefully, they’ll snap to attention if I ask them to do something. Being an authority figure for these students makes me uneasy. I’m not a teacher and, more importantly, over half of them are bound to be at least a head taller than I am. Much to my chagrin, this will be a situation where respectful students will call me Mrs. Married Last Name and I need to make a conscious effort not to wince every time that happens. I am just not used to that yet.

Between the art museum and the orchestra (yay!), the plan this weekend includes a lot of reading. As of right now, the reading resolution is completely unrealistic thanks to my current book that has me in a headlock. I can’t fail in the first month! It’s a matter of pride right now; I have to at least get through June. I’m going to finish my book and get at least halfway through the other one in my bag, darn it.

Regardless of students, married last names and sub-Arctic weather, I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself. Time off from work is always a good time!

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Niche

I have a theory that my career path is based on doing things that other people would rather not do themselves. Now, I don’t mean jobs that would qualify for Dirty Jobs. It’s more that I doubt that the majority of professionals would choose to:

  • Check if periods have one or two spaces after them
  • Beat uncooperative headers, footers, and page numbers into submission
  • Ensure that every copyright sign is superscripted
  • Create graph and table templates in Excel that can be inserted into Word and still maintain legibility
  • Format an existing document so that it can populate a table of contents gracefully
  • Make sure that compound adjectives are properly hyphenated

See, my technical writing background has exposed me to a whole spectrum of tasks that are generally unsavory for the general population but I happen to relish. Boring to some, my workload caters to perfectionist tendencies and allows me to build and flex my Office muscles. I enjoy surpassing people’s expectations of Excel formulas and the challenge of a recalcitrant file that will not behave. Because Microsoft insists on making its applications think too much (die, Clippy!), my job is often a battle between how I want files to function and how Microsoft thinks I want them to function. You’re not the boss of me! I shout in my head, shaking my mental fist.

Today I was at home, hunkered down on my couch, for a day consisting of all of the above. Nothing says par-tay like software documentation! Pages of rough tech content had to be polished into a user-friendly, non-technical reference for project managers of all different learning styles. I’d already spent at least a full day on it, but I still had a long way to go before my end-of-day deadline. I spent hours making screen shots, reproducing examples, and creating hyperlinks. The sections had to be reordered for usage’s sake and I had to switch around the orientation of pages (fun with section breaks!) to maintain some white space for notes that should be scribbled down during an upcoming training session.

When I finally sent off my final (hopefully) twenty-four pages of hard labor, I realized that I was roasting. Having my computer on my lap, typing steadily for hours, and concentrating fiercely had made a physical effect on me. As I took off my hoodie, I felt a settling sense of satisfaction in my day’s work. Normally, I don’t feel a significant degree of accomplishment because my role essentially boils down to making other people’s jobs easier. Even though my work today had the same result of making processes run, this time was different; this morning, these twenty-four pages did not exist, but I made them! I created what would be helpful for the largest team at my company by finessing the output from the tech team and thinking through how the users would interact with it. I produced a clear, supportive piece of communication and I’m sure that I’m more excited about this than others might be. I am positive that when I have that documentation in my hands, I’ll know that it would not have come together if not for me. It really means something to me.

The question is, how do I get paid more for this odd skill set?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Mad Scrappers

Late-night games! Tables full of junk food! Door prizes! Overnight bags! Yep, my church’s women’s retreat is not a typical rustic, campfire, singing “Kumbaya” affair. I got to spend the weekend with really wonderful women who have helped grow me up and I’m not exaggerating when I claim that they are freaking hilarious. Full-contact, cross-country games of spoons and hard-core hikes in 45-mph winds are just some of the things that make these women are so much fun. As a younger one of the group, I’m more of a rare species, and stories about my wedding and being a newlywed jog their own memories. It’s a good time.

There was another group on the premises at the retreat center on the Chesapeake Bay. When I encountered participants in hallway, they wore slippers and oversized t-shirts with a giant logo emblazoned across the chest: the Mad Scrappers. A whole auditorium was devoted to what they called “cropping around the clock” and scrapbookers sat at tables covered with photos and craft supplies. In the background, elevator music hummed and an announcer held up crafty doodads that were available for purchase, of course.

Initially, the auditorium exerted a magnetic attraction for the avid scrapbookers in my retreat group. They nosed their way into the outskirts of the group, wondering what was going on. Upon discovering that the Mad Scrappers intended to have a marathon session of craftiness, the group became an object of fascination, rather than admiration. Did these people know each other? What compelled a person to sit at a table for a possible 48-hour stretch? Who could stand the background music? What if you didn’t want to buy anything? Wasn’t the announcer irritating? Were the slippers mandatory?

Unfortunately, the world may never know since none of us had the courage to ask one of the Mad Scrappers about their weekend. Speculation was part of the fun, really.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Slapping My Forehead

This morning, I discovered that, in the midst of transferring documents in preparation for reformatting my hard drive, I somehow left out the folder that held all of the digital photos from the wedding. The ones from the photographer, our almost-photographer friend, and all the others that friends and family had sent us were sent to their doom in reformatting oblivion. To make matters worse, the carnage included a slideshow from the reception that was I compiled from photos from our childhood, dating relationship, and engagement. I planned on watching with JG for a significant anniversary, but that mood-lit plan faded as the realization took hold.

No. No!

It was a moment fit for a Homeric “d’oh” and a hefty chorus of “stupid, stupid, stupid!” I clacked away at a frazzled e-mail to JG:

So, I managed to delete all of the wedding photos. And the slideshow! I think we have backups of the photographer’s ones, but everything else is gone. I want to cry.

I was at work, so I couldn’t cry. Instead, my stomach developed a hollow that ached in a nagging, guilt-inducing way. I kept checking throughout the day to see if the folder had magically appeared, but of course, it didn’t. The computer only does what you tell it to do, which is not necessarily what you want it to do. It doesn’t intuit that you’d want to reserve a folder for the rare but significant times that you need some random item out of it. I’m irritated that I retained edited versions of a graphic that I used for the ceremony program but not the spreadsheet with people’s addresses. I am so stupid.

I feel somewhat sheepish that this has upset me so deeply because I wouldn’t assume that a loss of digital pictures would have that effect. The super-pragmatic imp in my brain says reasonably, “It’s not as though you lost something of value, you know. Like your car.” But, protests the rest of me, sentimental value is valuable! I can’t slap a price tag on it, but I’d still guard it carefully. I just didn’t realize that I had to, so I didn’t … now a lot of it is gone. Maybe that’s the point.

Thankfully, JG was understanding about everything and at least we found a backup of the expensive, professional photos, so it’s not all bad. I still feel like an idiot, though.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Monday's Moral

It was raining. It was a Monday. I was running late. I had to go out of my way and pick up coffee and pastries before I got in to the office. Needless to say, I was not in a very good mood. I got up to the counter, holding my company credit card, and the barrista (Is it barristo for a guy?) said, “Oh, we only take cash and check, but we have an ATM over there.” I gritted my teeth into a smile and muttered that I would be right back. My bank was in the same shopping area, so I ran out into the rain to use their ATM to avoid that pesky surcharge.

Upon obtaining the cash, shivering in line, and then paying for bagfuls of muffins, croissants, and the like, I noticed that the slot where my ATM card usually goes in my wallet was strangely vacant. I panicked.

This would be something I would do, like forgetting my Styrofoam box of leftovers at the restaurant or the address when I need to ship a package! What if someone took it? I have to call the bank and make sure no one is debit-ing up a storm!

I grabbed the food, ran through the rain to the car, and frantically clawed through my whole wallet and purse – no ATM card. I ran back to the machine, only to find a beneficent green light blinking under the words, Insert Card Here. I took a deep breath.

The bank wasn’t open at the time, so I went to my office, trying not to overreact. I talked it over with a co-worker, who was almost positive that the ATM has a security measure to suck the card back inside the machine after maybe 30 seconds, so I followed his recommendation to call the branch itself, and lo and behold! They had my card! I walked over to pick it up -

Me: Hi, I called earlier because I left my ATM card in the machine out front.
Teller: Oh, are you RA?
Me: Yes, I am. (goes to pull out license)
Teller: Okay, I’ll be right back. (leaves, returns with card) Here’s your card and have a nice day!

Close observers will note that not only did I not have to show my photo ID to verify that I was the holder of the card, I didn’t even have to state my own name. Any random girl could have walked in and ended up with the same result! And maybe I’m just paranoid and maybe it’s just that I have a shifty bank, but honestly. What did I learn? Don’t leave the ATM card in the machine.

But that’s probably common sense already. Or something like that.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It Seemed So Real

This morning, over breakfast…

RA: So, last night, I had a dream that we got robbed. We were doing something here in the kitchen, and these two mean guys walked right in and started raiding the Tupperware cabinet.
JG: I think that says something about your protectiveness about the Tupperware.
RA: Oh, whatever. So then I’m all, “What’s going on here?” And one of the guys whipped out a gun! Then you whisked me away –
JG: Rrrr! (flexing motions)
RA: – and crammed me into a closet…
JG: Oh.
RA: And then the closet turned into a room!
JG: Um…
RA: Then I heard all this rumbling outside and you had wrangled up the two guys!
JG: Rrrr! (more flexing)
RA: And then you threw them into the room with me!
JG: Oh, sorry.
RA: One of them called me “sweetheart” and I felt dirty. And then I woke up.
JG: (pause) I’m amazed that you can remember how dreams made you feel.
RA: Well, I think it’s because I dream in first person. I never watch myself do anything. How do you dream?
JG: … I didn’t even know someone could ask that.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jiggety Jig

It’s good to be back. I enjoyed my swanky hotel room and eating out all week, but there is a certain charm to lazing on a comfy couch in a big hoodie. I also enjoyed 10 hours of sleep in my native time zone, without a jangling wake-up call and someone mispronouncing my name.

Even though I love our little house in the suburban neighborhood, I really savor my occasional, short visits to cities, especially San Francisco. I loved walking from the office to whatever restaurant my friends had chosen that was so different from my normal fare by virtue of being on the west coast. The brisk air on my face and slapping sound of my flats on the sidewalk made me feel more engaged and aware of what I was doing, as opposed to the zoning out that usually occurs during my commutes. I delighted in the conversation over dinner, mostly because I hardly ever have the chance to spend leisure time with my west-coast cohorts. I snatch up whatever opportunity I have, which resulted in a happy hour, a lunch, and three dinners during my three-day stay. Thai, Italian, crepes, and comfort food – I happily ate it all. I enjoyed the feeling of being active and mobile, since it’s easy for me to fall into a rather sedentary mode in my normal life.

Because my hotel was a bit of a trek from my office (thank you, Macworld), I saw most of San Francisco from the passenger seat of a cab, my stomach flipping and flopping as we rolled over the hills. In one particular ride, I realized that I wasn’t craning my neck to see where we were headed; I realized that the driver had simply removed the headrest for the seat next to him. I told him that I appreciated it because I liked to take in the scenery and he chucked, saying, “It’s the open floor plan model.” Ha.

It was a good trip.

After my ride pulled up to the house and I stepped out onto the sidewalk, I breathed in the mushroomy air that defines my little town. Ah, yes. Home again, home again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I May Regret This

I have never been one to succumb to peer pressure. I was unapologetically geeky, even before geeks were chic, thank you very much. This time, though, I just can’t help myself.

Apparently, we’re halfway through a bloggy special occasion known as De-Lurking Week and many of the sites I frequent are participating by encouraging those who read and don’t comment to come out of the woodwork, resulting in a fantastic response. Some are being charitable while others are witty, but me? I’ve been reluctant to put out this invitation because, well, I’m afraid that no one out there is actually lurking and how sad would it be if no one was there to de-lurk? Is it pathetic that I wish there were lurkers, even if that word makes stalkers and other scary people spring to mind? While I’m jumping off this bridge with everyone else, I may as well admit that welcoming a pity de-lurk is not below me, in case anyone was wondering.

Let me just say: if anyone out there reads this site and would like to prove that I’m not in an empty room, that would be very nice of you and I would really appreciate it. You don’t even have to be an official lurker because I am all about the love. Plus, I promise to respond with a friendly e-mail and many thanks for humoring me by saying hi.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Musings on Flight

Sometimes, I let myself think about air travel and it boggles my mind. How does the plane lift off? Is it the sheer speed that makes it take off? The same one that sucks everyone into their seats? Is there a rocket involved? And then, how does landing work? That bump-bump-ROAR of the landing always makes me draw my breath in all at once while wringing my hands. What is that learning curve like? And then parking afterward? I can barely pull into a space with my little car (forget parallel parking). I do not understand it. It doesn’t behoove me to ponder these lingering questions when I’m a passenger on a plane, but sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me.

At other times, I can see why people back in the day wanted to fly, resulting in funny bicycle-powered contraptions from those speckled, black and white reels with tinny piano music playing in the background. As my plane dropped down from cruising altitudes, I saw glimpses of the sunset over the San Francisco hills, burnishing the passengers on the left. Everything had tinges of gold – graceful, sloping bridges, straight, shiny skyscrapers, and seemingly miniscule cars on the freeway. I held my breath on the inhale, dazzled for a few moments. I couldn’t have seen all of this as a pedestrian in the street. Sometimes, the best view is from the top.

Then there are other times when I am absolutely sure why taking a train is my favorite mode of long-distance transportation. There are lots of trains, a short waiting period, and – most applicable today – no middle seats. There were only middle seats left on my flight when I booked it, so I picked one at random because being small means that I can fit into pretty much any situation coach seats throw at me. Unfortunately, I ended up next to a heavyset French woman who decided to forgo the armrest and essentially spilled onto my seat. It took all I had to maintain some semblance of courtesy as I gently nudged her chenille sweater to the left, brought the armrest back down while she was at the restroom, and shimmied to the right to give myself as much space as I could without getting all up on the man on my other side. I’m as affectionate as the next guy (with close friends and such, ahem), but for public situations, I definitely need my personal space. When the people on both sides of me took up the whole armrest and more, the bubble got a lot smaller and the six-hour flight seemed much longer.

In any case, thank goodness for fun co-workers, a yummy (and only $2!) cocktail, and a plateful of pasta. I won’t be good for much for too long. I can feel myself fading… Darn you, jet lag…

Saturday, January 6, 2007

A Bumpy Re-Entry

It didn’t occur to me until this year, but the worst part about hosting the New Year’s shindig was that I had to go back to work with no recovery period from mountains of dishes, loads of laundry, hours on my feet, and lack of sleep. Well, I should maybe correct that last one to excessive sleep, since I subtly (and stupidly) adjusted my internal clock so that I would believe that 10am was a reasonable time to get up.

On each morning of this shortened-but-didn’t-feel-like-it week, I woke up feeling as though gravity had a greater hold on me – especially on my eyelids – than it did when I went to bed. I simply could not drag my sorry carcass out of bed to join the living despite the nagging blare of the clock. I admit that I managed to get up on Tuesday morning and do 20 minutes of yoga, but that was a one-time thing and I blame it on New Year Unrealistic-ness. Even then, when my blood was flowing, I practically napped my way to work and it’s obvious that that is not a good idea when you are driving.

I trudged my way through the week with a thought bubble hovering over my head that read, “Don’t forget that you have to travel to the west coast office next week! Better clean up that desk, gather your travel arrangements, and make sure you can afford not to work for three whole days!” Groan. That explains why I spent the greater part of this absurd 70-degree afternoon composing an article that turned out to be torturous to write and ultimately sub-par. The only thing worse than working on the weekends is producing work that you know is crap.

As a child, I remember hearing that space shuttles would burst into flame (or at least get very hot?) as they entered into the Earth’s atmosphere. Why is that? Something about the heat from the sun inside the atmosphere? I have no idea. But man, I know how that shuttle feels. Houston, I do not enjoy this.

Despite the rough landing overall, I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me in my inbox yesterday morning. Today is my two-year anniversary at my job (so weird to me) and the anniversary tradition at my company is that people write fun notes under a given theme. Well, my supervisor got wind of my reading ambitions for the year and I received a nice stack of book recommendations! I couldn’t be more pleased, though it was a bit eerie reading through the notes because I kept thinking, “Ooh, I loved that book!” or “I did always want to read that one.” They really had my number.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

How I Roll

A co-worker of mine arrived at the office this morning and remarked, “It’s so quiet in here!” She proceeded to change that fact by exclaiming about the pile of mail on her desk, check her voicemail on speaker phone and talk very loudly to no one in particular so that we could all hear everything.

There are only nine people in my office, five of whom telecommute, so quiet is the norm. How loud can four people be? Why is quiet bad? Doesn’t it mean that we’re all working?

I’ve received feedback that I adhere too strictly to my schedule. I freely admit that flexibility is not my strong point, but I don’t see anything wrong with doing a full day of work and then getting the heck out of the office. That’s not to say that I don’t have longer hours at times or that I’m completely antisocial, but it’s frustrating to me when getting work done is seen as a hindrance to socializing, and then, something worthy of condescension. I’m all about having fun at work during a lull, but when the deadline looms, no amount of fun helps the job get finished. If I have a lot to do, I don’t need distractions in the form of random bursts of hip-hop music or someone else’s conference call on speaker phone, but my wearing headphones is viewed as exclusive or even rude.

Um, sorry? I have to write two articles this morning and I have a hunch that blocking noise would be helpful in that process. But that’s just me.

Whatever. Back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Books of 2007

To keep me on track with my new year’s resolution to read four books each month, I’ll log my progress here and grace the books I enjoyed most with a fancy link. However, as of press time, it’s clear that I don’t have nearly enough books to get me even halfway through the year, so please! Recommend your favorites! I don’t pressure myself to finish a book if it ends up being a chore (Take Walden. Please.), so I’m open to whatever other people liked. I’ve never read anything by Jodi Picoult and I hear she’s good. Is she?

For those who are curious whether I’d enjoy a particular book:

  • I try to vary my reading with fiction and non-fiction
  • My favorite authors are Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, James Thurber, and Jane Austen (in that order)
  • I’ve become fond of memoirs lately and I like short story/essay anthologies
  • I make my best effort to read books that I should read on sheer principle, building character and all that
  • I can’t handle a lot of suspense, gore, or ridiculous romance

And so it begins!

Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt
The General in His Labyrinth, by Gabriel García Márquez
Come Back, Barbara, by C. John Miller

The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan
Lapsing into a Comma, by Bill Walsh
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Notes from a Small Island, by Bill Bryson

Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott
Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons
March, by Geraldine Brooks
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

The Kitchen God's Wife, by Amy Tan
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris
Spring Snow, by Yukio Mishima

Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
Singing My Him Song, by Malachy McCourt
Friends for the Journey, by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw
The Bonesetter’s Daughter, by Amy Tan

Loud and Clear, by Anna Quindlen

Waiting in the wings: (alphabetically)

  • Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Code Book, by Simon Singh
  • In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson
  • Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
  • Runaway Horses, by Yukio Mishima
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, January 1, 2007

The First Hours

I had not seen the 2am hour in I couldn’t remember how long. But there’s something about a living room full of friends, a coffee table covered with food, and weeks or months of absence from one another that make 2am a reasonable time to fall, exhausted and full-bellied, into bed. The house is packed with sleeping people, overnight bags, and foil-covered plates of baked goods. Every couch and bed is occupied and it is strangely satisfying to me, whose house usually consists of empty, unheated spaces. I like it in its inhabited way. My ear is tuned to any sounds of movement, but the house is still at the moment.

JG and I woke up after only six hours of sleep (we’re kind of lame in our eight-hour habit), but we’re hoping it’ll tire us out to slot us into the right waking up hour for the abrupt re-entry into the working world tomorrow. I haven’t awakened to the jarring poke of an alarm clock since the Friday before Christmas and I dread its insistence. Let’s not think about that. For now, I will savor the peace of my last day off and share with you what I resolve for this year.

1. To read four books every month
Basically, I want to read more, and I work best with a timeline, so there we are. If this goal ends up being a homework assignment, I’ll probably decrease the quantity because the ultimate objective here is to make time for leisure reading rather than hit a certain number of books.

2. To try two new recipes every month
So, there’s that timeline thing again. My mom gave me a subscription to Cooking Light for Christmas and JG received the cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen for his birthday, so I will have a wellspring of recipes from which to glean. My idea is to try a recipe from baking and cooking because I prefer to bake but I aspire to improve my cooking skills. Hopefully, this balance will cater to my inclination and help me grow.

Guests are starting to stir and I hear the clank of mugs and glasses upstairs. It’s time to get a move on. I drag my pointer across the date in the taskbar just to see the pop-up – there it is. Monday, January 1, 2007.