Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: review

It's late December, which means it's time for the obligatory look back on the year. 2013 was a busy but rewarding year for me. Let's skim through some of the highlights (and lowlights) before I see how I went with my resolutions and look forward to 2014, shall we?
Every day is Boxing Day for Nacho. 

In 2013, I made my own deodorant, figured out how to make mochi on the stove top, made jam, made sponges, and ate banana flowers (and also bananas, from our garden!). We got a second dog, but after a month of fun Tika decided Marley needed to find somewhere else to live, which made me and Andy really, really sad.

I travelled to Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Macau in June for work. I went to Melbourne in July for work. I went to Canberra a week later for work. I went back to Melbourne in November for work. All in a year I said I would travel as little as possible for work! Andy and I also went to Hobart, for fun (post, post and post). I wrote a first-year sociology textbook - though not from scratch, and not by myself, it was still a lot of work. I published two journal articles, though most of the work for these was done in 2012. I coordinated 4 subjects and taught into another 3. I went on strike. I felt at times like I barely made it through the week, needed to spend many weekends doing work, and then the grind started again. I think I learned some work-related lessons about saying no to a few more things and protecting my personal life and my research space, but we'll see if I can enact them in 2014.
Gardening is a good foil to work. 

I ran, I cycled, I started practicing yoga (again, but more seriously this time). I did push-ups, enough for a woman at work to ask how I get protein, which she followed up with "You even have muscle tone!" I read 59 books (and still going). Some of them were really short and easy, like 10 of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. But some of them were between 500 and 1000 pages long, so I think it works out to be rather a lot - 18,482 pages.

Book Aside: My favourite fiction was easily Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, a literary re-telling of the Rapunzel story. Like Rapunzel's braid, it weaves together the stories of three very different women in three historical time periods, and it was just lovely. Second fave was The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, which I read right back in January. More historical fiction, this one spanning Mexico in the time of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and Washington DC in the McCarthy era, in a way that gave me a much better idea of history than any of my actual history classes did. My favourite non-fiction was Real Dirt: How I beat my grid-life crisis by James Woodford. James is a friend of mine and this book is about his transition from a highly-strung, big city journalist to a rural, self-sufficient fella. There is a little bit of talk about killing animals, in the way that non-vegans always discuss self-sufficiency, but it's minor and I really loved the book anyways. 

So I guess it's no wonder I was exhausted by the end of November.
Here's a bowl of mulberries. We kept them in the freezer till
we had enough to make a cobbler. Then I forgot to
photograph the cobbler. 

2013 Resolutions - How'd I Go? 

I did one update on my resolutions in March, but the second and third quarters were rather busy for me and I didn't get round to talking about my progress.

1. Run 500k this year. I have run 515 kilometres, so: Nailed it. For the first few months I thought I would reach this goal somewhere around September, because I was going really well. I was regularly going 4 or 5k, 4 or 5 times a week. Then I got sick, and exhausted, and then I travelled, and then I started running again a bit more seriously, and then I got tired again. But I got there. And on Christmas Day I started a "From 5k to 10k" program, which Tika and I kicked off with a 7km run.
Tika usually touches noses with me to wake me up really, really early.

As a result we often see the sun come up.

Here are a few sunrises I snapped on particularly pretty mornings.

2. Cycle 1600k this year. I didn't quite make this one. I got to 1565, so close. I think the reason for this is that I started working from home one day a week, and I travelled more than I had planned, so I didn't end up cycling as much. But we did cycle just about every day to work, rarely driving, so that was a success anyways.

3. Do push-ups every week. There were 4 or 5 weeks throughout the year where I did 0 push-ups, but in most weeks I pushed-up on 3 mornings a week, and sometimes even 4 or 5 times. I did about 2700 push-ups across the year, so I'm going to call this one: Nailed it.

4. Clear out my inbox every day at work. I was going really well at this, but then I started slipping. I wanted to keep my inbox to less than 100 messages, with everything else being actioned and moved to folders or deleted. But then the slip turned into a slide, and now I have over 1000 messages to get through. So: Failed it. I think I'll do some serious deleting before I return to work, and I'll try this one again.

5. Unsubscribe from email lists that I don't read regularly, and stop subscribing to new ones. Again, I was going really well at this and then I Failed it. Must keep trying!

6. Turn my PhD into a book and get it published. I have probably 90% of a manuscript, and a proposal which is ready to submit. This is less than I wanted to have done, but the textbook sort of bumped back the PhD book. On the bright side, my writing mentor really likes it, and so do I. And I sent my proposal to my textbook editor (who only publishes textbooks) and she thought it was good, and will get published. I am hoping to submit the proposal to some publishers in January and be ready to send this off by March.
When I work at home, Nacho likes to "help" me write...

7. Set up one of our spare rooms as a craft room. Nailed it. I'm not so good at keeping it clean when I'm busy, but the table has also been doubling as my desk when I work on my books. 
Futon, $20 from gumtree, tables and other furniture in the
room are "in storage" for a friend living overseas.

Hooks and thumbtacks keep my stuff organised.

8. Finish crocheting the blanket I started in early 2012. Nailed it. I finished this, and then Andy said it wasn't long enough, so I made another, 7 feet long and 5 feet wide, so we can both fit under it and it covers Andy's feet entirely.
Both blankets, folded in half. 

9. Sew curtains. Well, I did this for the bedroom, but haven't gotten to any of the other rooms yet. 2014!

10. Plant more flowers, bee-attracting ones, in amongst the veggies. We've done this pretty well, with sunflowers mostly but also marigolds. Need to try branching out with more flowers for flowers' sake.

11. Keep track of everything we spend for at least two months of the year. Nailed it. Though this is a good way to keep track of where our money goes, at the moment we are financially secure enough that I won't bother with this in 2014. 

12. Do more food-prep and meal-planning on the weekends. We did try out meal planning and it worked fairly well, but on the weekends where I was busy working, I was too tired to bother. Luckily Andy is a wonderful partner and a pretty good cook, because I would have eaten a lot of toast and peanut noodles if it wasn't for him! 
Here's a meal - maybe it was even meal-planned - I think I never
blogged about. It is pasta carbonara, with Vegg and bacon bits
and mushrooms. It was good. I should make it again and
post a recipe.

13. Help out with at least 3 vegan outreach stalls. Not quite nailed it. I did two - one at the Uni O-Week, and one for Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. We did have multiple vegan picnics and get-togethers, though, so I guess this isn't a fail.

So, for 2014?

I'm not going to make 14 resolutions. I'm going to keep it a bit simpler this year:

  • In line with trying to up my running from 5k to 10k, I want to increase my overall kilometrage. Ideally, I'll do a few 7-10km runs 3x per week, so my goal: Run 750kms.
  • Improve my posture - I am having a private yoga lesson in January and I'll flag this as an area I want to work on.
  • Keep working on the things above - mainly email related - that I didn't quite nail. 
  • Spend less time doing things that make me unhappy, spend less time with people who make me unhappy. Surround myself with people I love, doing things that I love. 
  • Run the robot vacuum cleaner at least twice a week. We have lovely wood floors that look amazing when clean, but they are usually covered in dog and cat hair. We bought a robot earlier this year just for this purpose, so I may as well use it more often.
Hands down best purchase of 2013.

How was your year, and what are your plans for the next one? 


Anonymous said...

heaps of achievements there :) I've also got a pushups/core work goal for next year. I liked your running goal!

Susan said...

Sounds like you had a pretty successful year!
I don't really have any resolutions, but I do want to stop over-scheduling myself so much and take some more time for myself.

Thanks for the Kate Forsyth book tip! I loved her Witches and Rhiannon series, I am keen to see what else she has written. Bitter Greens is on my next Book Depository order.

Kate said...

Wow productive year! I like your goal about spending time around people you love and doing things that make you happy :)

Joey said...

As new year's resolutions go, I think you must be the person with the highest success rate I've ever heard of. I think your resolution of doing less of the things that make you unhappy is very wise indeed - I bet you'll nail that one too!

Kari said...

I think you nailed 2013 in general Theresa! What an amazing set of achievements - the nearly done PhD / book manuscript a huge one of them, but I'm equally impressed with how much you DIY'd at home, your running, and your push ups! I love your 2014 goals too. Happy new year and here's to them coming to fruition :)

Theresa said...

Stop over scheduling is *so* important! Good luck with it.

Theresa said...

It's one I've made jointly with a friend (one of those people I love!) so hopefully we can remind ourselves of it all year long...

Lauren said...

Love your 2013 review! The pictures are great - and totally jealous of your cleaning robot :)
Hope you have a fantastic new year!

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