I tend to make my New Year’s Resolutions year-round, and I tend to discard them year-round, as well. This isn’t always a failing, because sometimes it’s healthy to recognize when to toss something out the window and start fresh. On the other hand, I do toss a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff out the window. There are half-read books, half-knit projects, schools half-applied for, bills half-paid, friendships half-kept– and most common of all– books and stories half-written.
This year– and I’m not going to wait until the first of next month to start– I’m going to finish something. Anything. And then I’ll finish something else. I don’t think it matters much what it is that I finish, because the self-esteem I build from whatever it is will feed into the impetus for the next goal on my list.
To accomplish this, I’ll need some sort of accountability. For the financial and job stuff– well, I can’t exactly write about that and post it for all to see. That one will have to be only personally accountable. But the innocuous projects, like books and knitting– since nobody I am close to in my personal life is interested in these things, the blog will bear the full brunt of accountability. Oh, little blog and your meager number of readers, usually looking for persimmon recipes, or friends wondering what I am up to, you’re about to get an onslaught of posts!
Of course, originally, I did mean for this blog to be about reading and writing, so I suppose I’m actually returning to (imagined) form and not straying from it.
So here is my list.
For writing, I must finish Chapter Four of my Post-War Suburban Mystery. Well, and eventually the rest of the novel, too. I started it right before NaNoWriMo, got over 11,000 words in, and then abandoned it when my kid got bronchitis/I got sick/ had a bunch of grading to do/ NaNoWriMo ended/ and Thanksgiving craziness ensued. There are my excuses out of the way! Even more importantly, it was starting to take a strange turn that I hadn’t expected or wanted it to take (it was supposed to be a cozy mystery and was developing mythological, American Gods-like tendencies, WTF), and I could not decide while on that NaNoWriMo Autobahn if I wanted to take the twisty route or backtrack and clean up the weirdness. Would the lazier thing be to clean it up, or would the lazier thing be to give in to weirdness? Because I don’t want to do the lazier thing. I don’t want to be a lazy writer. Unfortunately, though, my mind exploded and I took the laziest route of all, which was to not write for a little while. But I have to conquer my list. I think I will go ahead and take that mythological route, because it feels more difficult and scares me more. Maybe that fear will find its way onto the page and startle my readers, as well. Expect some posts about research. There is a book I think I might have to get.
What a long list I have for reading! But first on my list is Carsten Jensen’s We, the Drowned. I got a few chapters in and then got distracted by a bunch of Jo Nesbø books I ordered from Amazon. They all came in within days of each other and I devoured them up, then moved onto other mysteries. But We, the Drowned has been staring at me from across the room for a few months now, like a boy at a bar, and I can’t ignore him any more. He’s got a Garcia Marquez kind of thing going on, and so I think I will let him buy me a beer. Expect some blog posts about this one.
On the knitting front, I’m knitting my mom a scarf for Christmas. This one has a due date! Jo-Ann’s fabrics is supercrowded during the holidays, so I will go on Tuesday morning as soon as they open, and get her two balls of this and knit her a loose cowl with short-rows. It’s not a written pattern– I made it up myself. I cast on about six inches, then every five rows I do a short row of about ten stitches (and back), and then four rows of garter, then on the other side a short row of ten (and back), and so on. The effect is not a ruffle, but the cowl lays very nicely and goes flattish but bunches up in all the right places. I made one for myself, and she’s always trying to “borrow” it, which means steal, really. Mine is red and not her color anyway, so she’s going to get something purply and hibiscus toned. If you are into that 1980s color tone stuff, I am an Autumn with occasional forays into Winter, and my mom is a Spring, through and through.
Now I am accountable. To all four people who will read this! Ha! No, no matter who does or doesn’t read this, I have put it out into the ether, and now I am accountable to myself and to God, because I’ve said it.
And of course, now that I’ve said all this, I think my next post will probably be about tamales, because that is tomorrow’s cooking project. Wish me luck! I’ve heard it’s rather laborious, but I figure if I can make beerocks and Cornish pasties, then I can do this, too. I’m tired of relying upon the kindness of strangers for tamales, plus, they are my kid’s favorite food. I’ve never worked with lard before, but there’s always a first time!
I’ve lived in California my whole life, so it is difficult sometimes to know what is California tradition, and what is not. But here is how I usually get my Christmas tamales:
Most people have friends or relatives or coworkers who have mothers, grandmothers or aunties who make a bunch of tamales and then sell them– either door to door, or by word of mouth. Common sense tells you to not buy tamales from some strange man who knocks on your door and has a styrofoam cooler strapped to his bicycle. But you see, here your common sense would actually be steering you in the wrong direction. If a strange man knocks on your door, you buy the tamales. [The same is NOT true if a strange man knocks on your door because he has an excess of meat products. That sort of meat “fell off the back of a truck” and is entirely different.]
But! I like to cook, and it is very hard to find decent sweet corn tamales, so I’m going to give it a shot myself. The worst that will happen will be that they won’t turn out right– but they will still be edible. Plus, our family needs a Christmas tradition besides the whole tree and presents thing. An activity that we all can participate in and all enjoy. I suppose lots of people go to church to achieve that sense of togetherness, but that isn’t really an option for this (and you’ll probably hear more on that when I read this and blog about it). For us, tamale-making will have to be church.