Out with the old

January 1st, 2012

I thought I’d look over last year’s resolutions before declaring any new ones. Here are all the things I had hoped to accomplish in 2011.

1. Take a dance class with Patrick.

Didn’t happen. Unless playing Just Dance with the kids counts. It’s still something I’d like to do, especially after lurching like the Rainman through the mother-son waltz at the Holly Ball in December.

2. Visit a new country.

Didn’t happen, though I traveled to New Orleans in March, Toronto in April and October, San Diego in July, and got to spend a few days in New York City with my sweetheart. We also spent a weekend in Minden, Louisiana. Which was pretty exotic. None the less, I’m keeping this on the wishlist.

3. Establish a consistent, daily writing practice.

This was biggest challenge of 2011, and something I hope to carry over into 2012 with much more success. Publishing a book was a fantastic experience, but incredibly disorienting and disruptive to my creativity. It’s been a lot like the first year after having a baby. I’m just now feeling like it might be possible to get my brain out of yoga pants and suit up for the new normal.

4. Get my email box down to zero.

And then I’ll cure cancer and eliminate global warming. This was a stupid resolution. Ditching it.

5. Wear a bikini on a beach. With pride.

Though I spent an entire long weekend right next to a beach at the Blogher conference in San Diego, I only got to see it from the plane. However, I did indeed wear a bikini at the pool near my home this summer, and it felt great. Mummy tummy and all. My only regret is that I flew too close to the sun, tanning with reckless abandon. A couple of pre-malignant spots turned up on my face in the fall and had to be removed. Thanks, nordic ancestors. And no, I am not posting pictures of myself in a bikini on the internet, however proud. But I’m renewing this intention for another year. And adding lots of sunscreen to it.

6. Related: Commit to a weekly workout schedule.

Committed to schedule: check. Now to actually follow through with one. Dooce and my friend Stacey both inspired me with their tweets of training for and running in the NYC marathon this year. I could never do that, because I can’t go two city blocks in New York without having to stop at a restaurant and eat. But I’d like to be able to run a 5K here at home.

7. Throw a joyous all-ages party to celebrate the launch of my book this spring.

By the time the book was launched, I had neither the time, energy or money to do this the way I envisioned, but it didn’t matter, because people just showed up at my house with champagne for days on end, and came out to the Little Rock signing in droves. I have good people.

8.Pay off the last of our credit card debt.

Wow, we are so close. And so much further ahead in other areas than we dared to think we’d be this time last year, thanks mostly to Patrick’s dogged work ethic, some outstanding financial guidance, and a well-timed advance check. The first few months of 2011 were as tough as things have been since our terrible no good very bad autumn of 2007. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble who thinks writing a book is the road to riches, but it’s entirely possible to publish a book with a big six publisher, have a five-star review in People magazine, and be flying across the country to speaking engagements at the same time you are having to wash dishes with water heated on the stove for a month because the kitchen hot water tank died, and you can’t afford to replace it.

9. Adopt a regular date night.

Didn’t happen. Mostly because a sitter and even a cheap date is so expensive. Maybe we need to try for a lunch date instead, while the kids are in school. I’d also love another overnight escape. Our 15th anniversary will be this year. I think we’re due a first honeymoon, don’t you?

10. Create a family photobook.

Because writing a 70,000 word book about our family life somehow doesn’t feel like enough. Check.

11. Host a casual dinner party at home once a month.

Once a month proved too ambitious. But we did have some really special gatherings, including an impromptu one last night. One of the intentions behind that resolution was to socialize more as a couple. Being married to an introvert and having a bunch of newly single girlfriends, it’s very easy to take my social life outside our relationship, which is where it had been for a few years. Patrick didn’t mind, and I love my girlfriend time, but I felt like our relationship was missing a vital nutrient. We cultivated new friendships with other couples last year that supplied it.

12. Ride with my kids on a roller-coaster.

Unless we are talking about tween mood swings, this has yet to happen. I’m longing to take them to Disneyworld before they get much older. I’ve never been.

13. Learn to do a cartwheel.

I need to make a date to do this with my trainer friend, who assures me my arms will not, as I fear, snap off.

14. Read 50 books.

This seemed reasonable at the time. It was not at all. However, I did read more than I have in a long time, and more fiction than I have in years. My GoodReads shelf puts the total somewhere around 14, but it’s probably missing a few titles. Certainly under 20 books in all, and that’s counting audiobooks, which is my preferred way to “read.” My favorite fiction of the year had to be Abraham Verghese’s magnificent novel Cutting for Stone, and I had the best time with Bill Bryson’s sweeping history of everything, At Home.

15. Meet one of my idols.

Check. And he was nice enough to sign a book for my mom.


What a year. I’m glad it happened, and I’m glad it’s all over.

In with the new.

6 Responses to “Out with the old”

  1. “I dig your charming daughter.” How amazing is that? Happy New Year to you and yours, K. Very much hope to see you in 2012.

  2. Katherine Gray says:

    Your 2011 resolutions sound a lot like mine, minus the bikini-wearing. I was doing ok until I took this job, and then everything had to be re-shuffled. I know this year is going to be full of big challenges so I’m just hoping for health and sanity. If you need some encouragement on the 5K I’m planning to run one with Sarah Gilbert (@cafemama) in March. Happy to send you cheers via Twitter.

  3. Kara says:

    I’d say you did pretty darn good at checking off that ambitious list. Here’s hoping 2012 offers many new adventures!

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