Sunday, December 28, 2014

Starting off a year in review..

In many ways, having this blog is like a quick reference of some of things that happened over the year. A quick check in to parts of my mental state.  This has been yet another speedy year.  It feels like the past two years have been intense - filled with many little shifts and a lot of learning.

I think it is funny that although I try to sit down and blog more to track these thoughts of mine, the past three years I am hitting about the same amount of posts - just over 60.  Considering that this is the most I have read in the past decade (50 books, ye-hah!), most of my yearly posts have been about the books that I have been reading.  I will admit, you can track a certain piece of me through the books that I have been choosing, and how my tastes have been evolving over time.  Best thing about this year when it came to books was my library card.  It has saved me hundreds of dollars and exposed me to books I would have never discovered on my own (like We, the Drowned or the Golem and the Jinni).

I was starting to improve with my jogging this year - I got new running shoes at the end of 2013 and we bought an elliptical in April… and then I promptly stopped jogging altogether.  This coincided with me going back to my old job, which didn't last as long as I expected, but led me in to wearing way too many hats at works until the last few weeks.  I will admit to hitting a bit of a burn out somewhere along the way, but I think I also learned a lot about myself, about leadership, and grew up a lot in that timeframe as well.  I need to get more in touch with my physical self again.  I am really missing it, and I think I am feeling a certain level of frustration as a result.  I have told my boss I need to take about a 35 minute lunch every day since that is how long the walk I like to do takes.  I have to make it not negotiable again - it is good for my soul and makes my work days so much more palatable.

We camped a little.  I love camping and getting out there and seeing new things with my family, and we need to do it more. This seemed to be the year of high daycare costs and lots of car related expenses. It felt a bit like a step forward, and then a few to the side.

This has been a great Christmas season.  Overall, things have gone well - I have cooked a lot, and cleaned a lot. I am tired.  I am grateful for this time off because it just gives me more time to be.  I stayed in my jammies all day yesterday and I went through some paperwork and the kids artwork.  It is amazing how fast things accumulate when all you do is the stuff you can see in the middle and you lead the edges for later.

I was so proud of what B accomplished with karate… and so proud of how far C has come in hockey.  Hockey has been far more rewarding than baseball (no matter how well run the baseball was).  A lot of emotional energy went in to the changes from our old elementary school/daycare to our new settings.  It has been great.  It has worked out so much better for all of us. I am also grateful I am done with the childcare board - it was an amazing finish and I got a standing O!!   I am proud of my hubby - how much he worked over the last month because it is demanding for him at this time of the year.  December is wonderful and trying all at the same time.  Next year I need to plan out this time of the year better… I do want to do Christmas cards again, and targeting baking, and to have gifts done early to enjoy more of the little moments in the month.

This is a start.  Lets see if I take more time in the next week to expand on this.

What do I want for 2015?

Every year I could say I could lose weight. It sort of seems to happen, and then I end up about the same weight by the end of the year - up or down about pounds from the same starting weight.  I think this year I will say I want to be 15 pounds less than I am today.  I suspect what I am about now… and I can achieve this with better attention to exercise.  I need to remember to stretch, since I think this is part of what did me in.  Now that I am not a spring chicken, I need to exercise.

I want to continue knitting - this year felt good. I made 3 baby blankets, a pair of socks, a hat and a scarf, another viking hat, and a bunch of washcloths… it was satisfying work.  I really want to make myself the "St. Brigid" sweater by Alice Starmore.  This is a huge undertaking, and I think I would be happy to even get a start on it.  I expect the wool for this to cost about $125-$150 since I want to buy a quality product since I expect to wear this sweater when completed for years to come.  I also want to make myself a pair of socks, and a few things for the rest of my family..

Manage our finances better.  Overall, 2014 was easier/better than 2013 although it still had it's dodgy moments.  I am hoping to keep a better budget this next year, and I really would love to see us take our family to Disneyland in the Fall and for Ken and I to have a weekend away somewhere without the kids.  Love them, but it would be great for us to have a little slice of time to do something different together.  I want to get out camping more this summer too.

I could also tie in helping keep my family healthier.  B to keep up with riding, skating, and karate again.  I am thinking of hockey and lacrosse for C.  I want them both to be in swimming lessons at some point.  More walking/jogging for me and some bike riding for them.  More active than we have been.  More family hikes on the weekends.

Themes - I want to stay a little more organized and on top of things.  Letting the walks go, and the jogging, and my budget at times, comes down to stress management at times, and self management.  I need to set better boundaries so I can achieve what I need to, and feel like I am back in the driver's seat.

Time like this, to sit and reflect.  These kinds of posts are like thinking on my feet - I am not sure where I am going to arrive a good portion of that is the journey, and taking out ideas and trying them out and seeing if they fit how I want them too.

To get to the island a few times and enjoy our family over there and to see perhaps some whale watching? hot springs cove? even to camp or see some new parts… even to go back to NewCastle island… this time of the year is good to reflect upon what was, and to throw out ideas for the next year. Set expectations, utter aloud a few goals and dreams, even if they may change along the way.

Milestone achieved, 50 books for 2014.

I started this book at the beginning of December, and although it took time to digest, this was a very profound novel.  This is the story of the sea, of the Danish city of Marstal, and of 150 years of history and the lives the sea has claimed in one form or another.

It starts with days of the great sailing ships, and ends with the closing of World War II.  I don't think that I have ever read a book quite like this one before.  It seems to have been a year of finding books such as this.

I turned the last page, and I will admit to a few tears leaking out, likely just because.  This was a surprising novel - truly epic. I am searching for the right word - one that will take it's rightful place among the best of seafaring literature… Several stories are woven together throughout this book, and some are more compelling than others.  It is quite fascinating as one life merges with the next, and how our lives can be interwoven.  A story of courage, and disaster, love, and the depths of the human soul.  Definitely not a summer read, and well worth the time spent meandering through these pages and on the journey.  Makes me wish I knew more about my Swedish ancestors - some of the names seem familiar (like Gunnars, and Eriks, and Einars) and being close to the sea… it also made me appreciate in a different way the silence from our relatives about WWI and WWII and why there was a darkness in their lives they didn't speak of.   Makes me appreciate novels like this even more - to have a lens in to a part of history that is unspeakable.

Sunday, December 14, 2014