The 2011 outline is more of a plan of what we need to do vs. a list of what things we want to be better about or what skills we want to learn. The following is a more personal, more optimistic look at what I’d like to do better in the coming year.
1. Cut back on waste: An article on a local gal who managed to cut her garbage down to only 2 bags in two years has me inspired. To start, I need to end my dependence on ziplock bags and cellophane, and start using all those travel coffee mugs I own when I go to a local coffee shop instead of opting for the paper cups. And no more plastic utensils.
2. Buy less stuff: It seems like every time I try to solve a problem, I end up buying something off the internet (to create less waste, I bought reusable fabric sandwich bags for Alston). I don’t need to own every single book on farming they sell through Amazon, I could actually go to the library and then only buy the ones I really love. I own enough clothing. There, I said it. Okay, so maybe a pair of work boots, running shoes and Birkenstocks are in my future (Scout having eaten the latter two), but then I really need to stop.
3. Pack lunch 3 days a week: If things go even moderately close to plan, we’ll have an abundance of food this year, so I have no excuse to eat out for lunch every day.
4. No meat of unknown origin: I’m never going to be a vegetarian, but the more I learn about meat production, the more I can’t bring myself to eat conventionally raised chicken, pork or beef. So my new rule for 2011 is that if I don’t know how the animal was raised, I’m ordering a salad (the one exception being when I’m a guest in someone’s home – etiquette trumps self-righteous food rules every time). This may turn out to be my accidental diet (until we slaughter our first pig and I’m awash in bacon). We already do this in terms of grocery shopping, and I abide by Only Buy Organic, Grass-fed Dairy but I allow myself to eat cheese of unknown origin while out at restaurants. Let’s see how the meat thing goes before I stumble into vegan-dom.
5. Bake bread once a week: Pre-Alston, I used to bake bread every week, and I need to get back on that train. It’s just so easy and so much tastier.
6. Master soufflé: I’m going to have a lot of eggs in my life, so I may as well learn how to show them off.
7. Hike once a week: At first I went to type “Hike more” but that would imply I did any hiking at all in 2010. There are some lovely woods around the house, so at least once a week we should shove the toddler in the back pack carrier and take a walk in the woods.
8. Dry our own beans: Because it would be awesome. And delicious. Also, this one involves self-restraint, as it means I can’t eat all the beans fresh. Have I mentioned how much I love beans? Hopefully I’ll make hoppin’ john on Jan. 1, 2012 with my own black-eyed peas.
9. Learn to pressure can: Yes, this will necessitate a purchase, but I do have a June birthday [insert giant husband hint here]. We lost way too much freeze space to tomato sauce this year.
10. Make next year’s Christmas gifts: Jam and pickles for everyone!
11. Read more books: Just because it’s on Netflix on Demand doesn’t mean I need to watch it, no matter how tired I am. I think 1 book a month is more than doable. Sounds like I should get a library card.
12. Make our own cleaning products: Enough paying an arm and a leg for Mrs. Meyers when I just need distilled vinegar and lemon juice most of the time.
That’s one a month (can you tell I’ve been reading The Happiness Project?). How ’bout you, other than the usual Save Money and Lose Weight. My favorite from years past was do at least one cultural thing a month (museum, concert, art opening) – we only made it to April but it was a very enjoyable resolution. Ah, my “city life” resolutions (go to yoga 4 days a week, walk for all my groceries) and how I kinda miss them.