Tuesday, January 3, 2012

resolutions for 2012, or lack thereof

I took a look at my resolutions for 2011, and I...well, lets just skip right along to 2012, shall we.

Be warned, this post is a long bout of indulgent navel-gazing.  I will get back to decor stuff eventually....and OMG while I am proofreading this I think something just SCREAMED IN PAIN in my kitchen.  Oh hell no I am not getting up to look. Take a hint, rats, get the HELL OUT OF MY KITCHEN and in return I will stop trying TO KILL YOU.  2012 is not living up to its promise to bring Teh Awesome so far.

(Five minutes later: the Mister investigates and there are no rats in the traps. No idea of what the screaming was.  A battle cry?  A call to arms?)

I do not really feel up to making resolutions this year. I've read around the blogosphere many good resolutions, and many people picking beautiful words to inspire their year. This is great. But I  feel that resolutions and inspirations have the best chance of actually being fulfilled in an atmosphere of emotional growth.  And I am so not in a place of emotional growth right now.  No, I am swimming against the tide of life right now, bobbing and swirling and clinging to my old habits like Kate Winslet holding onto that wooden door while the Titanic went down.

(But don't worry, I haven't lost my flair for a dramatic turn of phrase.) (I should take the time to reassure everyone that the Mister and I are not having marital problems, no one is dying of a dread disease, etc. We are just dealing with some situations out of our control that I spend much time worrying over.)

Instead of resolutions, I have a small list of things that would be nice.  Some of them I started awhile ago, and want to continue with.  I am not starting afresh, out with the old, blah blah blah.  I am continuing with things that need to be done.

If I were to tie all this together, I think my overarching hope for this year is to take care of myself.

1. I'd like to take more care of my physical appearance.  I don't mean just lose weight, although that is a part of the plan.  No, I mean that I dress like a slob.  I am the perfect candidate for What Not To Wear--"but its comfortable!"

I was never a fashionista, but in the past few years I've really let things slide, for two reasons.  One, I--this is embarrassing--have sensory issues. I hate wearing jeans, or fitted pants, or wool, or dress shoes, or....well, I have WAY too many clothing rules to go into here.  I have a selection of jeans and slacks that I CAN wear if the occasion calls for it, but rest assured that I will spend the ENTIRE TIME they are on my body wishing I could take them off, or discreetly scratching my waist, or adjusting the seams.  Or I might just avoid the event entirely, in order to avoid having to wear the dreaded appropriate outfit.  I live in sweatpants.

(You know you have married the right person who really understands you when he looks at you all dressed up in fancy clothes and says "Wow, you look beautiful! Why don't you pack some sweatpants in the car for later, just in case.")

Secondly, I have been pregnant or nursing or both for the past six years.  The past six years has been a nonstop cycle of get pregnant, put on 50 lbs, give birth, try to take off 50 lbs, nurse nurse nurse, achieve pre-baby weight, hey look we are pregnant again!  Lather, rinse, repeat.  My clothing choices for the last six years have driven by someone having access to my chest at all times, and refusing to invest in clothing while knowing I was in a cycle of gaining and losing weight. This is how I wore a winter coat with holes in it for five years.

This past October I started renovating my winter wardrobe. I donated everything that was too short, too small, too big, worn out, ugly, or I just don't wear that sort of thing even though I wish I did (ie. button down shirts). This left me with one pair of sweatpants and two shirts.  I bought all new undergarments and donated all of my nursing bras (yes, six months later I was still wearing them because replacing all your undergarments at the same time is expensive).  I am now maternity clothing free, woohoo.  I bought 5 pairs of black cotton sweatpants. (I went to Catholic school and am unable to dress myself  in a wide and varied wardrobe; I prefer to have limited, uniform-like options.) I bought 9 good quality long sleeve crewneck tshirts.  I bought 4 new sweaters. I bought 9 pairs of socks. I bought new sneakers.  I either donated or trashed nearly everything else.

I recognize that a uniform of black cotton sweatpants and long sleeve crew neck shirts under a sweater is not a huge step up from stained sweatpants and nursing shirts.  However, the new clothes are clean, are at the appropriate length for my legs instead of the shrunken highwaters I have been wearing for the past three years, do not yet have holes in them, and are currently relatively unstained.  I am never going to be someone who wears cute, fashionable clothing every day. I can, however, wear clean clothes that fit, so I think I am living up to my goals here.

What remains to be replaced--shoes.  I have extremely wide feet and a complete inability to put up with uncomfortable shoes.  Uncomfortable shoes = 99% of the offerings out there.  I have a pair of black flats and a pair of brown flats that I bought the week after Greg was born that I have worn nearly nonstop since.  They reached the end of their useful life a few years ago, but I haven't found anything that doesn't hurt to replace them with, so I continue to wear them, battered though they are.

I am, for the first time in a while, happy with the way my hair looks. Although Peter told me I should cut it because it gets in his mouth when he crawls into bed with me in the morning.  I threw out all of my (five-years-past-expired) makeup, bought new makeup, and I am trying to wear it on Sunday date nights with the Mister. I will never be a "must go put my face on" kind of girl, but I am trying.

We bought a treadmill a few months ago, and I walk on it six days a week for a half hour in the mornings.  I don't realistically think I can do much more than that at the moment.

2. I want to give up flour and sugar. I've been thinking about this for a while, and have made several false starts.  I'm not trying to go strictly gluten free, but I would like to give up bread, pasta, and cookies.  I have made great strides in giving up bread already, I'd say that I eat it less than once a week.  I eat pasta about once a week, when we get together with my inlaws. (This could change on our trip to Italy.)   My major stumbling block is cookies.

Cookies, oh, cookies.  I am the kind of person who Eats Her Feelings, and my favorite form of eating my feelings comes in cookies.  The Mister can tell how stressed I am by how often I bake cookies and how many I eat in a particular night.  He dubbed the chocolate chip cookies as "the agita cookie."  Life has been stressful the past few months, and the agita cookies have been a near constant presence.

Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project has a great discussion of the difference between abstainers and moderators.  Moderators are the kind of people who say "oh, just have one instead of seventeen!" and then get all surprised that you don't. Abstainers go cold turkey.  Moderators also get all pissed that you'd rather just go cold turkey than show some willpower, as if its a personal affront.  I am an abstainer, I'd rather just quit the cookies, because I know I won't eat just one.

Anyways.  I need to lay off the cookies.  This was one of last year's resolution fails, so clearly I am not a moderator.  I gave up cookies for about thirty-six hours last week.  In that time I did not eat any cookies, but I did inhale an entire bag of Tostitos as a substitute.

3.  I need to make more of an effort to be more outgoing.  My personality is hermit-like.  I like being at home. I hate parties. I hate meeting new people.  I get all tongue-tied and "uh....uh..." and usually say something dumb.  But, I need to get better at setting up playdates for Greg.

When Greg was in kindergarten last year, I could identify almost all of the parents of kindergarteners who came to pick up their kids at school.  Here, despite there being at least 100 kids lining up in our spot every day, there's maybe twelve parents that come every day?  I can't tell if the first graders are simply getting themselves to and from school, or perhaps going to the wrap-around program, but the upshot is there are not many parents that I've seen picking their kids up.

This has made it difficult to arrange playdates for Greg.  Its bad enough I have to walk up to a stranger at school and be like "hey, my kid likes yours, can we have a playdate", but without the parent being at school to approach, now I actually have to pick up the phone and call a complete stranger.  UGH UGH UGH.  I am ashamed to admit I have completely avoided this, with the result that Greg has not had a playdate with anyone from school this year.

I am generally okay with my hermit-ness, but it's not doing my kid any favors, and thus I need to overcome it.  I would rather give up cookies voluntarily than attempt to make a new friend, but guess what, this year I'll be doing both.

I don't know if I feel like being more outgoing on a global basis.  I think I just want to set up more playdates for Greg. Big girl panties are on! Grabbing the phone! Calling strangers!  I can do this!

4. I want to learn to speak Italian.  We are planning a trip to Italy this summer and I'd like to be able to at least have a rudimentary conversation with my husband's family.  I've bought the Italian Rosetta Stone and installed it in my computer.  I ordered a shelf-like contraption that will allow me to use my computer on the treadmill every morning, because that would get me a consistent half hour of practicing speaking Italian every day.

5. Last but not least, I am trying to get to the bottom of my neck and back issues.  I have had a doctor appointment with a specialist, and have to get an MRI.  Hopefully I will figure out why I keep spraining my neck and can do something about it.

So, there you have it.  Take care of myself.  Items three and four don't seem very "take care of me-ish" but I assure you that having unhappy kids will make you unhappy, and not being able to talk to anyone for a month in a foreign country is also not conducive to happiness, so I am folding those under my "take care of myself" umbrella.

There are plenty of other things I want to do, like going back to work eventually, and hopefully I can turn my attention to those items once life settles down.  I can always make April or May resolutions, right?


  1. Good luck with ALL that! Nothing like taking on a lot ;). I think it might be hard going to Italy and not eating pasta or bread? Maybe you should learn "gluten free" in Italian? Just a thought.

  2. Sounds ambitious, which I always love about you. :)

  3. You've got this. If you can live with rats, you can do anything.

    PS, I appreciate your honesty :) xoxo

  4. I love love love "agita cookies." And I found this line hilarious: "I went to Catholic school and am unable to dress myself in a wide and varied wardrobe; I prefer to have limited, uniform-like options."

    These sound like excellent goals, and I hope you make great strides toward achieving them.

    If you don't mind too much, would you tell me more about the shelf/computer holding contraption for your treadmill? I would like one.

  5. dr's wife--I ordered the surf shelf:


    if you google surf shelf, their website has a video that shows how to put the piece on that looks really easy (looking at the pic on amazon doesn't quite convey how it works.)

  6. Agree with you about emotional growth, and think the unresolutions can be the catalyst for it. And, I've only been reading for a few weeks and I don't know you and am going to go way out on a limb here and likely be socially inappropriate and apologize in advance if I offend, but I'm offering this from a good place: I totally relate to #1 and #3 and wonder if you know much about Asperger's. My brother is autistic, and I've got some spectrum traits of my own (sensory issues and total discomfort with parties and meeting people and all that), and in the last year I've been reading about Asperger's in girls/women and it's been like someone's turned a huge light switch on in the rooms of my life. I don't think I meet diagnostic criteria, and that's not the point--learning about Asperger's helped me understand some things about why I like things the way I like them. More importantly, helped me accept myself as I am. I suspect some of those things you're not liking so much about yourself are the source of some of your greatest strengths--like your wonderful writing. (Sweatpants and social isolation are GREAT for writers!)

    Thanks for sharing so honestly. I'd rather read a real blog than a pretty one any day. :-)

  7. I'm sorry, but are you my long lost twin? There are so many things here that I can identify with. When I'm not working (I wear scrubs to work) I'm either in pajamas or my scrub pants which I have worked into my "outside of work" wardrobe. I do have cute clothes and shoes, but sadly they sit in my closet (when I had one) like objects in a museum. Of course the fact that I can't fit my clothes anymore might have something to do with this dilemma.

    I'm the person who everyone thinks is very aloof. I'm not aloof, I'm just very shy and incredibly oblivious at times.

    You don't even KNOW awkward until you've seen me in a group of people. One on one I can be quite charming though. Thank God I married a social butterfly. He represents both of us in social settings.

    As for New Year's resolutions, I decided to forego one this year since I couldn't even keep up last year's resolution of putting lotion on my heels. My cat is now using my heels as some sort of scratching stone to sharpen his nails.

    Oh, and where are you going in Italy? Only ask because I lived there for a couple of years ages ago.

  8. I think I could have written nos. 1-3 of this post, except not in your witty, heartfelt style. I would be happy to live in my pj's (or maybe some maternity pants, desptie the fact my youngest is 3)and never leave the house, except to run to the grocery store for more baked goods. I don't understand how people are able to eat "just one." I can't stop until it's all gone. As for the shoe issue, have you tried Dansko clogs? I have bunions (gross, I know), and the Danskos are the only things that comfortably accomodate them. Danskos are a bit pricey, but worth it in my opinion because I wear them all day, every day and mine have lasted 7+ years.

  9. Sounds like you're doing famously. As a mother of three and conquistadora of rats, I'd say you're well ahead of the game.

    As to the reaching out to others more, I'm a recovering introvert myself, so I can empathize. I find little, concrete steps, like making that one scary phone call to your son's friend, to be a helpful start. It helps me to think that the other person is likely just as shy as I am (never mind if that's actually true), so I may as well reach out.


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