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not exactly New Year's resolutions

While reading Dawn's admirable New Year's Resolutions, I was inspired to make a few of my own although, being me, I am going to have to modify the terms a bit. To wit:

First, a year is entirely too long. Maybe I spent one too many afternoons in a meeting at behemothSoft but I want a much shorter cycle on this.

Next, let's examine the whole "resolution" concept — it's so officious sounding — something which I doubt I'd pass as, even at my most corporate. It also sounds like it takes a meeting to get a resolution appproved, or at least an ad hoc committee. Way too much work. Way too much.

Metrics are another issue. New Year's Resolutions are usually assessed on a pass/fail system, while most people operate on an incremental scale. Black and white v. shades of gray — or maybe even actual colors —  I vote colors! Well, adults deserve as much of a grading scale as schoolkids, plus style points. Gotta have style points.

Given all of this, I offer my goals for the first quarter of 2006, otherwise known as a short list of things I want to do soon:

  • Start taking notes and writing down recipes as I go instead of cooking totally freeform and then wishing I could remember what the heck I did last time I made something. Same for notes in cookbooks. For some reason, I've never been big at marking up cookbooks, which is odd since I scribble all over technical books — but never novels, I know people who do, but that's just weird — but I've been working through my hesitation and writing in the margins more.
  • Get more methodical about this whole blogging thing. I have half a dozen things I've promised and only half-finished and another stack of partially written posts — and can it be a stack if it's all electrons? Do they actually stack? Then there are the gigs of photos. There must be a shorter path between brain and blog than the one I currently trod.
  • Learn how to use the insanely complicated camera I got this year. Sure, I can take a decent picture now  and then, but that's largely a convergence of the ability to take lots of pictures for free with great tools, perseverence, and a bit of luck. I've said on more than one occasion that if I was doing this with film, things would be very different. That — film and the associated expense/hassle/lag time — being the very reason I don't feel proficient with the camera. I've been a point-and-shoot woman up til now, and while I have been fortunate enough to tag along with serious photographers and even develop and print a few rolls of film I shot (very cool, that), I am still uneducated on what all those features on my camera do and what that looks like in the resulting photos. Having said that, I am open to suggestions for useful explanations, tutorials, and other useful data for the clueless, yet technically minded, photographer. Life-changing links that aren't selling, ahem, herbal enhancements for men, are invited. Please. Help.
  • Finish up the half dozen areas of my kitchen that haven't been tweaked yet. I am trying to sculpt myself a workspace that functions like a restaurant kitchen in an area that can be seen from the living room. This has given me a newfound respect for professional chefs who work in open kitchens, all that exposure is fine when I have a day to prep before the big party, but there are days I wish I had a curtain to hide the working half of the kithen behind. Can't do that though so I'm working on lots of small, highly customized storage bits. Next on the list is a row of under-cabinet holders with cutters for rolls of parchment, foil and such so I never have to open a drawer to get to them again. The only ones I have seen for sale are stupidly expensive so I am thinking more custom bits. Which means I get to play with power tools. Cool. slyGrin
  • Continuing on a theme, secondary food and kitchen storage needs better organization. The one significant loss in the kitchen from the last house is a pantry and do I ever miss it! It was about 4x7 feet and lined on three sides with standard cabinets and counters that held all the appliances with plenty of space left to work on, and 3 rows of open shelves above it. Plus a door that closed on the mess! Did I mention that I really, really miss it? I also had three long rails tucked on this semi-hidden overhang thing to hang pans and things on. The only place here for a potrack of any sort is over the main counter and I don't want all my pans hanging right next to the dining room — that's far too much pressure to keep them pristine and shiny. So things are strewn throughout the house, pans and small appliances in a hall closet (doesn't everyone keep a meat slicer next to the spare light bulbs?), most of the bulk stuff lives on one of three sets of shelves in the garage with the freezer, half the coookbooks are in my office, and so on...cooking can involve quite the trek around the place as I remember the fourth thing in the garage. I am sure many of you can sing along with this tune. And others of you wish you had enough space that you *could* trek around while cooking. I just miss my pantry.
  • Find more small and local food suppliers and do what I can to help them and others who might want to get into the local food business. There's a farmer here and there out here, but mostly nothing too large or organized. The farmer's market is defunct because the area just couldn't support it. The bakery just closed, leaving people with an hour-long trek to the bland over-sweeteness that is avalable at the national/regional chain supermarkets, and those are almost an hour away. Not exactly worth the trip. sigh
  • As a denizen of the Pacific Northwet, I often wear the obligatory oversized plaid flannel shirt (you know, the ones made popular by Nirvana — what you call "grunge," we of the Pacific Northwet call practical) with rolled back cuffs. This is nice and warm on the many cold damp days we have up here, downright snuggly even, right up to the moment that your shirt encounters a drop of running water and demonstrates an ability to absorb that any diaper maker would be proud of. Around your wrists. Lovely. Accordingly, I must remember to roll up my shirt sleeves *before* washing the dishes so as to avoid going through a laundry-load of shirts a day because every time I rinse a glass I get wet up to my elbows.
  • Perfect the breakfast cookies I've been playing with so I can eat cookies first thing in the day without guilt.

There you have it. A sampling of what's on my agenda, from significant to trivial, food to cameras, and with a sidetrip to the garage...because my day needs more sidetrips to the garage.

How about you? What's on your first quarter goals list? What counts as success? (I am thinking a day without a single trashed shirt ought to be worth something!)  And where do I find the person who is in charge of stock options?

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