Thursday, December 27, 2012

Given, Received, Resolved - Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Sunlight on water

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day! Did you receive any pen/pencil/typewriter related gifts? Interesting books? Music? Fun toys?

In my case, I did a bit to spread the pencil revolution: gave my little nieces some Ticonderoga Noir pencils (they liked the sparkle) and some little notebooks for scribbling in, and I gave their mother a Classroom Friendly pencil sharpener. They homeschool and the girls are now at an age where they are starting to use pencils quite a bit, but all she had to sharpen them with was a poor quality hand-held sharpener or a knife: a sad state of affairs.

I didn't receive any reading or writing related gifts, but I did buy myself the Kindle editions of C.S. Lewis' space trilogy books just before Christmas (they're on sale for $1.99 now!), ordered a bunch more ink samples recently, and also used an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas toward a new fountain pen. Which brings me tidily to my New Year's resolutions. If I put them out there in public, maybe I'll be more likely to stick with them! We'll start off with:

1. As I have done several times before, I resolve not to make any pen/paper/ink purchases, at least not until I've used up a lot more of my current stash. I think thus far April is the longest I've managed to hold out, and that year I quite literally had dreams where I was buying Clairefontaine we'll see how this goes.

2. Practice mandolin/guitar at least fifteen minutes a day. This sounds like a pathetically small goal, but the reality is if I pick up one of the instruments at all, I usually end up playing and practicing a lot longer than fifteen minutes. If I set the bar low, I'm more likely to do the picking up part.

3. Reserve sweets for special occasions (holidays, some Sundays, sometimes when with friends). Because, even though I wouldn't necessarily say I have a serious sweet tooth, I have a tendency to go on x-treme ice cream benders and such, given free rein.

4. Exercise regularly--I've been spending an hour on the elliptical three nights a week, plus a long walk on the trail on the weekends. I'd like to keep that up, or the equivalent once it's no longer quite so dark out. My overall goal is to lose about a pound a month via diet and exercise, which would bring me close to my high school graduation weight by the end of the year...I'd be happy with half that, though.

5. (Because I am a natural slob in the extreme.) Leave the house a little tidier/more organized when I go to bed than it was when I got up. If I somehow actually reach a point where this is no longer possible (doubtful), then just always try to leave the house as tidy as it was when I got up.

6. Do a good deed per day--it can be something as small as a note of thanks to a friend, or saying a quick prayer for someone I see in passing. Really more about adjusting my mindset than a cut-and-dried numerical goal.

Summing everything up: this year I want to work on self-discipline and charity.

How about you?


Anonymous said...

What a great photo to lead off your post: seasonal but the brilliant sunlight denotes hope for the future. Besides, it’s pretty.

I had forgot about the C.S. Lewis trilogy. Thinking back, I realized I read them about 40 years ago in college. I liked them but Lewis never attracted me the way Tolkien always has.

Our ‘writing’ gift was a box of the Blackwing 602 pencils. They are the Pelikan fountain pens (my favorites) of the pencil world with their smooth, effortless touch and are actually worth the price.

The seed catalogs arrived, as usual, right around Christmas day and our grandiose plans began. (We use January to whittle the list down to reality.) We do plan to expand the vegetable garden this year with an emphasis on heirloom varieties and maybe seed saving.

Our resolutions center around weight loss, better health, and using our brains and hands much more than we have been.

We want to spend less time in front of the TV (baseball season excepted) and do more that makes us use our brains: card games like cribbage or gin rummy, playing dominoes, checkers, Parcheesi, Go, and so on. Even a game of solitaire using cards would be an improvement. Notice the lack of need for batteries, electricity, and computers.

Susan and I both need to get out of our recliners and be more physically active. (The one downside to retirement is it is easy to vegetate.) Walking and the exercise bike is part of the approach but not all. There are active hobbies like wood working and carving (hand tools only), gardening, leather craft, fishing, knitting/needlecraft, etc. They aren’t all strenuous but do call for hand/eye/muscle activity.

Christmas was nice. We had a chance to visit with friends. Here’s to the possibilities of the new year.

Jeff The Bear

Bill M said...

That is a superb photo. Oh how I miss the nicer places in the USA. Florida is boring.

That is quite a list you have there.

I have yet to think of what I may do for 2013.

I did not get any typewriter or pen anything :( Then I did finally get a Kindle. Now maybe I can keep one of my 2010 resolutions: read at least one non technical book a month. I dislike moving from real books to ebooks, but I have no more room for real ones. The Kindle is much more portable too.

I need to work on my list and put it on my blog.

Have a very prosperous and happy New Year!

Little Flower Petals said...

Jeff, your garden plans sound great! I love the idea of a garden...but thus far my resolutions could be limited to not killing my few flowers by late June. Despite Western Washington's soggy reputation, it is extremely dry here in the summer, and flowers (and other garden plants) must be watered frequently...which I'm generally good about for a few weeks, and then I slack off one too many times and everything dies but the petunias, which are very nearly the lovely cockroaches of the flower world: tough to destroy.

Yes, board games and card games are great ways to occupy the mind!

CS Lewis' books tend to be heavily allegorical, in a far more direct way than anything Tolkien ever wrote. Personally, I'm a sucker for allegory, so I love his writing. I'm also tickled by his approach to sci-fi: he uses it as an interesting and fantastical setting, and doesn't bother with trying to work out the science. In fact, when the main character in Out of the Silent Planet asks how the space ship functions, he's basically told, "Oh, you wouldn't understand it even if we did explain..." and thus the writer himself gets to duck explanation. Makes me laugh...

Bill, I resisted the Kindle revolution for a long time and did my fair share of scoffing at e-books...but I've had to eat my words a zillion times over this past year. I *love* my Kindle. I can read many books at once without losing my place, carry "stacks" of them and yet fit them all in my purse, turn pages with one finger, instantly look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary, borrow dozens of books from the library without leaving the couch, etc., etc. The light weight is great, too. I've found myself buying the Kindle edition of some of my favorite books if I see them on sale, just because it's more comfortable reading them on the Kindle.