Monthly Archives: January 2015

2014 Goals: What I Did

At the beginning of 2014, I sat down and made a list of 50 things I’d (hypothetically) like to do with my year. I have not accomplished all of them, or maybe even half of them, but made some significant progress on so many that I don’t feel like I wasted too much opportunity. Here, with commentary, are the things I did:

  1. Swim in Forked Lake – Nailed it, despite that it was fairly chilly both times I was there. Forked Lake remains one of the Top Two Lakes.
  2. Learn how to make at least one new kind of candy – Yes. I have perfected peanut butter fudge, though I may abandon it. I think my chocolate covered cherries were great. I was pleased with the courting hazelnuts. The apple cider salted caramels were great. “Jordan” almonds were not something I ever need to repeat, and my divinity is still a work in progress. That all said, I think a goal for next year may be making less candy, or at least not undertaking it while simultaneously focusing on a time-intensive gift.
  3. Watch at least two of the following TV shows: Orphan Black, Masters of Sex, the Americans – Mostly. I am not all caught up on Orphan Black and need to pursue the Americans more on my own time, but I have seen enough of both to know that I really like them. JUST AS I SUSPECTED.
  4. Cross country ski at least three times: Really could not have done better at this one. I am really not sure how many times we cross country skied last winter, but I know it was at least five. I love it.
  5. Go for at least one bike ride in the country: Definitely did this, and loved it. However, I need to get my bike fixed so I can go for rides a) in Albany and b) on a bike that won’t try to kill me via gear issues.
  6. Try three new-to-me restaurants in Albany: Though I don’t have a running list, I am pretty sure I must have done this. Between the short-lived Burmese place, Parivar Indian street food, the opening of Rain, the opening of the Brakes Coffeehouse and Provisions, Stacks, the Gastropub, and so on . . . definitely did fine with┬áthis one.
  7. Run at least two 5Ks: Only ran the OK5K, so this may be another goal for another year.
  8. Go on a Maine canoe trip: Moose River Bow Trip, with Ben, Rachel, Ed, Peter the Beaver, and Brianna. Lovely and beautiful, with the best campsite in the world, two moose, a great horned owl, and too many bald eagles to count.
  9. Complete at least three levels of Rosetta Stone Spanish: Not exactly. But I did start most mornings with Duolingo, which accomplishes the same basic goal, and have made quite a bit of progress there within.
  10. Hike at least five high peaks: Not exactly, but again, I think I fulfilled the spirit of the goal if not the letter. I hiked Esther, Whiteface, Marcy, and Tabletop, and most of Fansipan in Vietnam. And perhaps most importantly of all, I’ve learned that I just don’t want to be someone who focuses on extreme hiking. Middling hiking: fine. Hiking in any sort of inclement weather conditions and/or steep/sheer cliff conditions: a definite no thank you.
  11. Take my wife out to a fancy meal: Again, the spirit if not the letter. She took me to Yono’s for my birthday, which was fancy, and we went out again for our anniversary to New World Bistro. Add in our meals in Vietnam and Cambodia (but particularly Vietnam) and our trip to Gramercy Tavern with my parents, and there was no deficit of fancy/exciting restaurant experiences in 2014.
  12. Go to Vietnam (or someplace equally exciting): Yes. Vietnam and Cambodia are both exciting, though perhaps not equally so.
  13. Learn to excel at playing at least one new board game: Yes. Not sure if the Resistance was this year, but if so, that should count; 7 Wonders was a late entry but again should do the trick. Basically, we played a lot of games, some of them new, so: yes.
  14. Host a dinner party here for some of our family: I held a Mother’s Day brunch, which I think should count.
  15. Improve my paddling skills: Yes, at least some. I would still like to improve them, along with my whitewater confidence/ability. But you can’t spend four days paddling on a river and not improve your skills at least a bit.
  16. Attend a show at Tangelwood: Did it twice, even. Yo Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax, and the Last Southern Gentlemen. Both perfectly Tangelwoody.
  17. Stand on our balance board for at least five minutes without falling: Yes. It gets boring after awhile, though.
  18. Make at least one cake from the cake bible: Not exactly, but I did make the hazelnut crepe cake from Smitten Kitchen, which is basically the same thing. So delicious.
  19. By the end of 2014, have at least three houseplants on hand that I can keep alive: Sort of? I killed my croton plant by forgetting to ask someone to watch it while we were in Vietnam, and my terrarium via general ignorance, but am trying again with both, and have successfully kept a spider plant and its baby alive . . . so far.
  20. Fix the zipper on my goddamn sleeping bag like a goddamn grownup: Nailed it. I can now sleep in warmth, though I should maybe also just invest in a new sleeping bag.
  21. Attend a cultural event at a cool local venue, not including Tangelwood: We went and saw Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. It was great. We also went to DeFazio’s that night, which was ALSO great.
  22. Host a dinner party here for some of our friends: Not really sure where to count this, but we fed so many people so many things this year that it seems unfair to myself to not include it. So I am.
  23. Pare down my wardrobe, jewelry collection, shoe collection, and so on so that I only own things I actually like and wear: This is a work in progress. I’ve done the best on the shoes and jewelry. Wardrobe is coming along.
  24. Figure out a better system for organizing my saved blog posts: I tried, and I just don’t think the technology is there yet. So I think I get credit for my effort, even if the result is not what I was hoping for.

Things I didn’t get done:

  1. Swim in Lake’s Pond: I was only at camp once this year, and I didn’t have the leisure time I’d want available to swim properly. This summer for sure.
  2. Learn how to make mussels at home: No. I did do anchovies though, and will be trying chicken soon!
  3. Go to Schodack Island State Park: No, not even a little.
  4. Go to Adirondack Extreme: This may never happen.
  5. Learn to make bread: I may no longer care about this.
  6. Can some sort of jam: I may no longer care about this, either. I think both this and the bread are things that would be fun to try but I don’t see as part of my everyday (or even annual) life.
  7. Listen at least twice to one new album a month: Not really.
  8. Print and hang select pictures from our Tanzania trip: Not yet. Some day.
  9. Tell a story at Front Parlor: No. But I thought about it a lot . . . which counts for nothing.
  10. Kayak down the Kinderhook Creek: No. Maybe tubing down would go better for me, thrill-wise.
  11. Finish one quilt: No. But I did make a lot of progress on one . . . which again, counts for nothing.
  12. Read at least one Shakespearian play: Nope.
  13. Back up my gmail account: Nope.
  14. Sell my wedding shoes and dress: Nope. But maybe I don’t want to sell the shoes, after all?
  15. Go to the Mahar’s in Castleton: Nope.
  16. Take my dog to Capital Hills at least twice: Once. But that is not twice. Having a car, maybe at some point this year, should help with things like this.
  17. Run a ten-minute mile: Not even a little. Maybe my UP3 will help with things like THIS.
  18. Downhill ski and/or try out snowboarding: No. I resent that I will have to rent things, and that is holding me back. That and the general expense.
  19. Fix my boots so I can wear them: Nope.
  20. Take at least one historical building tour in Albany: Nope.
  21. Open and/or fix my membership with the Albany Public Library system: Nope.
  22. Go rock climbing at least once: Nope.
  23. Get my hair cut at least twice: I might have actually done this, but I can’t remember for sure. I am just bad at this.
  24. Make ice cream at least once: I got halfway, and then had to go do something else . . . so, no.
  25. Keep this thing going: Nope.
  26. And tell people about it: Not really.