Thirteen for 2013

tree-ornamentYou’d think I’d be better at this New Year’s resolutions thing. After all, I’ve seen enough New Years that I should be an expert. Of course, the trick with New Year’s resolutions is not just making them — hell, anyone can make huge lists of them — which I do every year. The challenge is actually to keep them. Still, never let it be said that I’m not willing to learn and improve. In analyzing why I don’t keep my resolutions, I’m thinking my long, long lists are just too intimidating. I can’t possibly keep all of them. I can’t even keep a fraction of them. Once I’ve set myself up for failure like that…well, no wonder I barely make it through the first week of January. So here’s my first plan: make only as many resolutions as the last two digits in the year. For this year, of course, that’s thirteen. Next year it will be fourteen, but I’ll be in better practice by then. (Gee, I wish I’d started this in 2001 when I only would have had to make one resolution.) So, with this glorious plan in place. Here are my Thirteen for 2013.

1. Start all resolutions in December. Sure technically my resolutions don’t go into effect until January 1st, but I’m thinking starting in mid-December may be my most strategic move. Now I’ll have a couple of weeks to get on the wagon, fall off the wagon and run off the rails before it counts, I get depressed and the whole list goes gets crumpled and thrown in the wastebasket. Besides, if I do this, I will have completely accomplished my first resolution BY January 1. So, already teed up for success!

2. Finish a Half Marathon. This is a biggy. Because it, by inference, it involves all kinds subsidiary resolutions such as losing weight, getting in shape, training, and running more than the two days a week I’m managing now. But notice, I didn’t say “run” a half marathon. I’ve done a half marathon before. I walked it. Slowly. They still gave me a medal. I’ve signed up for the San Francisco Rock and Roll Half Marathon on April 7th. I’m hoping I run it. Considering I’m not yet able to go five miles with mostly running, this is going to be a tough call. But I haven’t boxed myself into a corner here. If I lose running steam, I’ll wog (walk/jog). I’ll get my medal and I’ll have knocked off another of my resolutions in practically the first quarter. See where I’m headed here?

3. Do at least one Bay Area hike a month. It’s shocking — in an area with so many fabulous hikes and open spaces — how little hiking I’ve done. Ideally, I’d like to do one a week, but let’s be realistic here. I’ve already started this with an 8 mile hike in Muir Woods and up the side of Mount Tam. I didn’t blog that one because my camera malfunctioned at mile one. Then there was the hike in Coyote Hills. I got hopelessly lost on both hikes — extending them from the originally planned five miles to eight. Hopefully, I’ll get better at this.

4. Do at least two themed roadtrips in the 2013. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know how I love themed roadtrips. The two most recent were The Mission Mission and The Road Less Traveled. I’ve been averaging one a year. I want to step up my game. Yes, I love roadtrips. But who says a resolution can’t be to do more of what you love? Sometimes I do my roadtrips with a terrier. This year might be the time to take The World’s Most Beautiful Pre-Schooler (AKA my goddaughter). I probably won’t be taking Andy. He is not a fan of roadtrips for two reasons: 1) he has a long daily commute, so driving isn’t a vacation for him and 2) Andy likes to travel First Class which pretty much rules out anything about a roadtrip. But he always very supportively says, “I’ll read about it on the blog.”

5. Do a 25-year house clean out. Okay, you have to have one big nasty horrible “dreading it” resolution. This is mine and it’s going to take the better part of 2013 to do it. We’ve lived in our San Francisco house for 25 years now and every closet, crawl space, shelf and storage space is stuffed full…well…of stuff. It’s not that we are ready for Hoarders yet. I think that’s what makes it so hard. Most of our stuff is stuff that is useful stuff. We just never pare it down. For instance, we are, for some reason, a household that has six fondue sets. We also still have every computer cable we’ve ever owned. I’ll be figuring out a way to make this task manageable. Because even the smallest closet is overwhelming. Are there enough weeks in the year to do one shelf a week?

fondue-set

It’s hard to find a cubbyhole, high shelf or pantry corner that doesn’t have a fondue set in it. Time to reduce them. Or maybe learn to throw frequent large fondue parties.

6. Take a picture a day for a year. I’ve done this before. It’s tough, but not as tough as you would think. When I did it successfully in 2008, the trick was to carry my camera with me everywhere. Since it was my heavy Nikon D90 I was toting, that involved marching around with a camera bag backpack. So what if I looked like Helga the German Exchange Student. It was a small price to pay for getting better and better at photography. The other thing that helped was doing it as part of a Flickr group, all of whom were better photographers than I am. Although I’ve since slipped back into mindless point-and-snap mode and I haven’t carried that Nikon for ages, I’m hoping reconnecting with some of that same group will make me up my game.

7. Blog more! I kind of slacked off this fall. But instead of feeling as if I had a mini vacation, I really missed blogging. The funny thing about blogging is: the more you do it, the easier it is. When I’m in the mode, I carry a moleskin notebook with me everywhere to jot down ideas. I use found opportunities like standing in line at the bank or driving to Sonoma to mull over blog post ideas. Usually, by the time I sit down to write, I’ve got most of the post completed in my head. Slacking off didn’t seem to give me more time. So I might as well blog. You’re stuck with me.

8. Get back to learning Spanish. Notice I didn’t set any benchmarks here. I’m not sure, based on my track record, if I’ll ever speak Spanish with any level of confidence. Currently, I can get through most of a menu. Not very impressive for someone who went through two semesters of Spanish at the local community college and an intensive three week course in Oaxaca. So I’m being safe here and not setting any hard and fast goals. I just want to find a way to get back in the Spanish learning mode.

oscar, the smooth fox terrier, with spanish flashcards

Little Oscar de la Hoya says he’ll help!

9. Learn to ride my scooter. I’m ashamed to say how many Christmases ago Andy bought me a teal Vespa scooter. I’ve never learned to ride it. I’ve never even gotten a learner’s permit. I’m not going to make any excuses. But this is the year I’m going to do it. Then I’ll join a girl gang. (Actually that last point isn’t part of the resolution just in case there is no girl gang that would have me.)

10. Go vegetarian for a month. On the surface, this shouldn’t be too hard with my garden in Sonoma. A long, long growing season gives me fresh vegetables for most of the year. Plus, my seed addiction and pathological inability to thin always leads to bumper crops. But you try going vegetarian with a British husband. I attempted it before but gave it up when Andy kept demanding that I put bacon in every dish to “cover up the taste of vegetables”. This year, I’m going to do it — at least for a month. I’ll serve Andy bacon on the side.

andy-on-veg

Think that vegetarian resolution will be easy with Andy around? This is Andy on kale. He makes the same face for beets, brussels sprouts, orange squash…basically everything but peas and carrots.

11. Go without alcohol for a month. Obviously, I’m desperate to pull together thirteen resolutions if I’m putting this on the table. And, as a winemaker, I’m not sure what month I’m going to be able to do this. It won’t be during harvest. It won’t be when our Rosé is released in Spring. It’s not going to be the holiday season. Or the month of my birthday. Maybe February. That’s the shortest month.

12. Make at least one recipe from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook. Yes, yes, I’m reaching here to complete the list. But this is no wussy resolution. Have you ever seen this cookbook? Believe me, you need an apprenticeship at a three starred Michelin restaurant to boil water Thomas Keller’s way. There isn’t a thing you can cook that doesn’t require straining something three times through a chinoise, sourcing some archane ingredient that is only found in a certain market in Myanmar or requires whisking so precise and so delicate that a nanosecond’s pause turns the sauce to sludge. But Andy wants to take this challenge as does my friend Susi. Is there anything in the Resolutions Rulebook that says I can’t have help?

13. Make serious steps to getting livestock at Two Terrier Vineyards. We are currently practicing George W. Bush Ranching, which is defined as having no livestock but terriers. Eventually, we want to have horses, burros and chickens. Andy wants a pig, but as a friend of mine said, “When you start talking about pigs, you’ve crossed some sort of line.” I realize fulfilling this goal is largely out of my control, especially given that we are still only in Sonoma part time. But I’d like to start nibbling away at this goal. Say put in pasture fence or build a chicken coop. Maybe I could find a nice 4-Her or Future Farmer of America who wants to board a horse in one of our four barn stalls. At least that would get the barn being used for actual livestock. Rather than as a repository for Andy’s hot rods and car tools.

Okay folks, that’s it. Sure, I’ve hedged my bets, lowered the bar and set the goalposts very near. But I’d like this to be the one year that I actually keep my resolutions. I’ve got a big red pen ready to check these off. I think, this time, I can do it.

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Author: Lisa

Although I'd like to think of myself as a rootin', tootin', wine-makin' cowgirl, I currently only live in Sonoma part-time. Mostly I'm on freeways between San Jose, San Francisco and Sonoma. With two yapping terriers in crates behind me. We try to enjoy all three places and points in between. Which will explain why my post subjects are all over the map.

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7 Comments

  1. A+1 on what Michelle said. When Emma was ready to learn to ride, I enrolled her in a course at the local community college, and I took it with her. Even though I’d been riding for almost a year (without an M on my license. Oopsie!), I learned so much! We took our exam in the class, and were able to go to the licensing TDOT center and get our licenses without taking another exam. It was a great class! Definitely get your scoot checked out since it’s been garaged for so long. You’ll need to have the fluids replaced and the sparky (likely). As far as pet seats, I’ve been looking for one for Britta. There used to be a manufacturer called Roadhound. Not sure if they’re still in business. I saw a Vespa in NOLA in 2011 with one. She had a Yorkie or some other dustmop in it. Looks like a perforated mailbox. Brit climbs up on my running board when my LX150 is parked. I just know she wants to ride. Maybe in my messenger bag…

    AmeriVespa 2013 is in San Diego the last weekend in June. See you there?

  2. Thanks, Michelle! Now I just have to figure out how to get a terrier seat on the back.

  3. I’ve been admiring your blog for a few months now (every since A Sonoma Garden linked to it) and look forward to more of your entertaining and enjoyable posts! I had to comment about the scooter because I went through the same thing, I was so excited about it yet also terrified as I had only ridden on the back of a motorcycle a few times as a teenager. My highest recommendation is to take a motorcycle safety course -the SRMT class in Santa Rosa was incredible! It’s two days, they have scooters, and best of all you can take the driving portion of the DMV test right there (just watch the DMV motorcycle test videos on Youtube to see how nerve-wracking it would be)! The class was the first time I had driven a scooter and gave it me a ton of confidence in a small group environment. Sure, it took a few years (and some shop time -definitely get your Vespa checked if it’s been sitting that long) but I’ve been riding on my Schellville backroads for several weeks now building up my confidence to finally tackle highway 12 and head into Sonoma. Hope to see you on the roads before long -Sonoma needs all the scooter gals it can get!

  4. Wow, Susan. Thanks for the research. Of course, there would be guest accommodations for you at Two Terrier Vineyards. We could go to Cafe Scooteria and get our mochas from an antique Vespa coffee van.

  5. As usual, you’re amazing! Terrific goals! Get on that scooter and ride! You will be so glad you did. I’ve looked up a list of scooter clubs in your area (to save you the trouble). The San Francisco Scooter Girls (girls only) should be honored to have you, but in case they don’t bite, may I suggest the Royal Bastards (renowned for their out-of-control thematic rallies), Vespa Club Los Gatos of South Bay (might be awkward showing up with terriers, though) or The Quitters Scooter Club (whose motto is “Nobody Likes Chartreuse”). If I can ride a scooter, I know YOU (who can do most anything) certainly can.

    For my milestone birthday this year, I am planning a monster roadtrip on my Vespa LX150, probably cross-country, with at least one cool person from my scooter gang. I’m currently running and lifting weights to get ready for it. Who knows? We just might make it all the way to the Left Coast. You inspire me! Good luck on your resolutions! I know you’ll make hash out of that list (and probably pressure can it!

  6. Those are some admirable goals there – very doable! I was curious how you were doing w/the Spanish. Being in the same age bracket, I fear that’s how my desire to learn spanish to help w/my per diem work will end up…

    How jealous am I of your scooter – very! Always wanted a mint green one :) but then the voice of reason took over when I realized the odds of getting run over in this area.

    Well, good luck – and I’m sure you will keep us posted on your progress so we can badger you as needed..

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