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?


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.


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.