New Year’s resolutions and lessons from 2010

I posted on Twitter earlier today that everybody is doing serious New Year’s posts, while all I really want for 2011 is to not be pregnant and to eat a donut. So if you keep reading this post, don’t say you didn’t know what you were in for.

I don’t know what to resolve for 2011. I could resolve to shave my legs more often, but let’s be real. By the end of May I won’t be able to find them and anybody who comments on the state of my legs is asking for a messy, painful death.

Which brings me to one lesson learned in 2010: I now know what’s wrong with Red Queen and how to fix it. My heroine was acting all wrong. Come on. She was killing people before pregnancy hormones made her insane. So character is going to determine plot changes, and while I would point out to the gods of story that it was not actually necessary for me to have a refresher course on pregnancy to fix this book, I am glad to have the solution.

I am resolved to begin using the local pool unless it triggers asthma attacks (chlorine can do that), both so I can get some exercise without joint stress and so I can coach my kids on basic swimming skills. I don’t know how this will mesh with my leg-shaving challenge. Maybe I’ll start wearing flowery skirts, patchouli and Birkenstocks to the pool to complete the look.

I’d resolve to finish all my unfinished mss., but that could take more than a year. Especially a year in which I have to cope with unshaved legs, pregnancy hormones, a newborn,  and five gazillion medical appointments and procedures. All while I can’t eat chocolate or donuts or drink coffee. If I make it through 2011 with my sanity intact and the ability to string a coherent sentence together, I’m calling it a win.

I would like to resolve to stay caffeine free post-baby, but I have never managed to stay off it yet and this is more of a hopeful wish than a real resolution. When I’m getting six hours of sleep a night and they’re interrupted by baby care in the wee hours, I am likely to fall on that coffee crutch. So I resolve to be kind to myself if it turns out I need to mainline Starbucks to cope, which seems like a much more reasonable approach than a rigid “Thou shalt not touch the demon bean” kind of thing.

I resolve to appreciate my body more instead of judging it. I recently had an aha kind of moment where I realized that I was incredibly athletic for most of my life and incredibly fit and still I was always judging my body and finding it didn’t measure up. And now I would love to have my younger body back, and I know that in twenty years I will possibly scream at my 40 something self “You didn’t know how good you had it before the hip replacement!” or something similar, and wonder why I didn’t appreciate myself at this age any better than I did in my teens or 20s or 30s.

Bodies are miraculous. They perform wonders for us daily, hourly, every minute, every breath. In 2011, I want to appreciate that miracle more even if that miracle comes with hippie legs.

2010 has been very transitional, and I sort of had this idea earlier in the year that I’d zip right through that transition and establish myself on the other side, and now I realize transitions aren’t that neat. Another lesson. I think maybe I’ll start to see and do the things in 2011 I thought I’d do in the latter half of 2010.

I do resolve to keep writing and keep reading. I also resolve to play, to go places, to live life creatively and with zest. And to not be pregnant. And to eat a donut.

Here’s to the New Year.

Merry (post) Christmas

I intended to put up a Christmas photo and message yesterday but I had technical difficulties and decided that Christmas was not the day to spend on a computer anyway. Instead we did things like play with kids, go to the beach and walk in the sunshine and take a family picture, read the rules to Munchkin Cthulhu so I know how to loot, er, I mean, play. And I discovered that Netflix Instant Watch had Hogfather, so I promptly put that in and watched.

Wonderful. I love the book, but the screen version captured it pretty well. If you’ve never watched it or read the book, I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t been introduced to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld before. Hogfather is the Discworld version of Santa Claus, and when he’s marked for assassination, Death has to play Hogfather to save the world. And if you’re a writer, the part about why fantasy and stories make us human is worth the time investment alone.

All in all it was a good way to spend Christmas. Hope yours was merry!

5 evil tricks pregnancy plays on you

1. Right when you are encouraged, nay, required, to eat an extra 300 calories a day, you can’t eat any of your favorite foods because they make you violently ill. This is doubly cruel during the holidays. When you can’t even look at a cookie without turning green.

2. And the foods you can stomach turn out to be hummus and spinach.

3. You start taking an unholy interest in cleaning. This is even more disturbing when your normal approach to such things is to stop wearing contacts so you can’t see the layer of dust coating everything.

4. You can no longer drink coffee at a time when the effort of getting out of bed leaves you in need of a nap.

5. You start waking up every 2 a.m. even though there will not be a baby in need of feeding and changing at that hour for months, just so you have plenty of time to adjust to the sleep deprivation.

5 ideas to reduce holiday stress

1. Suzanne McMinn is the go-to source for home-baked and hand-crafted gift ideas. You still have time to make or bake something personal if the budget is tight.

2. Less can be more. What’s more important, a big holiday celebration or getting through the season with your sanity intact? Make a list, solo or with your family, of what’s most important. Scale back to the things that really matter and skip the stuff that’s just causing stress.

3. Opportunities to give to those you don’t know are all around; hospitals, shelters, giving trees, Toys for Tots. Random acts of kindness help those who need it and reward you with the reminder that you’re a vital part of something bigger. It can be as easy as tossing your spare change in a Salvation Army bucket on your way out of the grocery store. I put in the charity mention here because holidays can be very depressing, and one of the ways to overcome depression is to reach out and give to others.

4. Pandora will stream your favorite kind of holiday music all day, for free, via the internet. Joy to the world!

5. Take a walk or a drive through your town and admire the lights.

5 things on my mind

1. Vapor. As in, I keep forgetting what was on my mind. Like the time we cleaned up after dinner and found the vegetable I’d meant to serve still in the microwave.

2. Baby stuff. Should I start shopping now so I don’t have to think about it when I’m at the 8 month whale stage? I’ve dithered way too much about this and finally concluded the smart thing to do is start doing a little each month so by the end of term we’re ready. Also, hey, everything is on sale now and through January.

3. Baby names. I have no clue. It’s hard enough to come up with character names. But I’m really going to have to do better than “Mystery Pumpkin #3” by the time the kid shows up.

4. Drug testing and the contents of everything I eat. You may laugh, but it is now standard procedure to randomly drug-test pregnant women and there’s already been a custody issue over a drug test and a poppy seed bagel. I eat bread with seeds, crackers with seeds, there’s even grape seed extract and god knows what else in my vitamins. Should I stop eating seeds? Why would seeds cause a positive test result anyway? Can’t they tell the difference between good nutrition and crack smoking?

5. Writing. Will I be able to get enough done? How much is enough, anyway?

So you can see why I haven’t been blogging much. Too much on my mind. Or I forget what was on my mind five minutes ago.