Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fly Casual

I swear, the reason I'm not writing here often is simply that I'm busy. This short story editor gig is crazy amounts of work, and it doesn't help that the January deadline was set too close and got a ton of submissions, and the February deadline was likewise set too close and got a ton of submissions.

March is an anthology month, though, so I'm hoping to use February and March to get ahead of the curve on the April stories.

I realize that didn't make much sense. I apologize. Suffice to say: stupidly busy.

But not so busy that I didn't manage to turn into a complete sloth over the weekend. Holy hell, I started watching Downton Abbey on Friday night, and finished Season One on Saturday, and probably would've gone through all of Season Two on Saturday and Sunday except that Netflix doesn't have Season Two on streaming. I also finished Season 4 of Doctor Who (including the post-season shows) and watched the first episode of Season 5, just because I wanted to get a feel for Matt Smith in the role. (Not as hot as David Tennant, granted, but also, not nearly so angsty. I like his energy.) And I finished another season of HIMYM (because that's fluffy enough to watch with divided attention, like while I'm eating or chatting online).

But I really want to ramble about dating.

I almost had a date Friday night with a guy I've seen a couple of times before, but it fell through, largely because I'm too much of a wimp to stay up late. (And then I had another bout of insomnia anyway. Stupid body. Or brain, whichever.) I did go on a lunch date on Saturday, with a new guy. It went okay, but I wasn't really wowed. Also, I have a date scheduled this week with a guy that I've been chatting (and flirting a bit) with on Facebook that should be fun.

Yes, I'm seeing multiple people at once. Yes, they're all aware of it and are okay with it. Yes, I'm being (and planning on being) safe, in all respects of the word, from avoiding stalkers and creepers to avoiding STDs. (Potential TMI, highlight to read: no, I haven't gotten that far with anyone yet. Yes, there are some possible candidates for it. Yes, "candidates" was plural on purpose.) No, none of them have met the kids yet, and I don't expect that will happen for quite some time, as the kids don't even know that I'm dating yet. Just like I decided to wait until after the new year to start dating again (after a couple of less-than-optimal attempts, anyway), I've decided that I need to keep my dating strictly casual (that is, nonexclusive and with no anticipation of building a long-term relationship) for a good while now that I am dating again.

One of my big regrets from my high school and college years is that I would only consider going out with guys that I thought had long-term potential. (That is to say, to be embarrassingly blunt, whether I would consider marrying them.) And it was pointless, because I judged every one of the relationships I did have wrongly. I'm not sure where I acquired such an antiquated attitude (even my grandfather wanted me to date around more -- I think maybe I read too many historical novels and horrible romances where no one ever had any kind of good relationship with someone who wasn't their One True Love) but I know that it cost me a lot of fun and a lot of insight and a lot of experience that I really wish I'd had.

I spent my high school and college years lurching from "serious" relationship to "serious" relationship, unable to let one go until I'd figured out who my next candidate was (and in several cases, taking steps to establish the new relationship first). I do not want to repeat that pattern. I'm not ashamed of having dated the people I dated back then, but I am ashamed of the way I went about it. I don't want that again, and I'm okay with taking the time to make sure of my feelings before I step into something serious.

I'm not seventeen any more; I no longer feel like I need a romantic relationship to justify my existence. I actually kind of like being single, in fact. I like not having to negotiate and compromise on how to decorate or arrange things. I like having days where I don't have to talk to anyone, or where I can just pick up and go do things that would otherwise require some level of coordination.

(Would I like it as much if I was alone more, if I didn't have the kids at least three days each week? No idea. But, since I do have the kids three or four days each week, it's not really relevant, either.)

When I was seventeen, it was understandable that I would conflate lust and love, and that I would confuse my desire for a particular person with my enjoyment of their desire. I was young and hormone-addled and wholly inexperienced. But it's easier to separate my feelings now. Yes, it does feel nice to be pursued. It's been a long time (longer than I knew, really) since I've actually felt like anyone wanted me, and it's a heady experience, and it's fun, and I mean to enjoy it. But that doesn't mean I owe anything to my pursuers, either in terms of sex or commitment, that I don't actually want to give them.

I don't know how long it will be before I'm ready to consider a serious commitment again. I'll get there, I imagine; I seem to be wired that way. But for now, I'm flying casual.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Con Report

You guys. You guys. MarsCon was fantastic. I don't even know where to begin.

I got to dress in costumes and wear snarky t-shirts, and I got lots of compliments on both. On Friday, I was Doctor Who. On Saturday, I wore a shirt that read, "Huge tracts of land," and that night, I put my corset on over that shirt, to emphasize, y'know... my tracts of land. Sunday, I wore my favorite writing shirt, which reads, "You're just jealous that the voices talk to me." And I got to see a lot (a lot) of other really amazing costumes and funny t-shirts and a couple of scarves that were basically works of art.

I got to listen to some great filk and otherwise geek-related music. I may need to start growing my geek-rock library, because despite not having actually heard the song played, I've had Mikey Mason's "Best Game Ever" stuck in my head for three days, and Danny Birt played a song called "Silent Letter Blues" that very nearly made me fall out of my chair entirely from laughing so hard.

I got to sit on three panels about writing and editing and talk with it as if I was a professional or something, and I participated in a writing contest against the amazing Kathryn Lively and did not win but felt pretty good about it anyway. All of which I will write more about on Wednesday, at my writing blog. I handed out a lot of business cards and post cards and bookmarks, and even sold one of my paperbacks that I'd brought with me. And I went to an Allen Wold writing workshop about plot building which spawned a new plot idea and gave me some really excellent tools for helping my plots to gel, which is always a win.

I got to watch my children blooming into nerds and geeks -- especially Penny. She sat in on a Blibbering Humdingers concert and afterwards begged me to buy one of their CDs for her. (I did. She doesn't know that yet, though.) And both of them got their faces painted, and they went with me to a pirate show and sang along and got up to participate.
Alex and Penny learning to be pirates during the
Hysterically Correct Pirate Show.
After that, Alex went with Matt to a birthday party and I got to hang with Penny. We did a craft, making people out of clothespins, and then I took her to an activity called "Playing With Your Food" in which everyone was given a big takeout box full of gummy candy and a plastic knife and encouraged to build monsters out of the candy, and when they had to clear the room we took it back to my hotel room where she continued pretending to be a mad scientist for the better part of an hour, and we had this conversation where I asked her if she wanted some chips and she said, "Not right now, Mom. I'm not done making my robot/clone army."
My girl, the mad scientist.

I got to look at some really amazing art, and I put a bid on one of my brother's ribbon trees and won it in the art auction. (I bid on a few more pieces, but didn't get them.) And I got to rejoice with him that he sold not just the piece I bought, but five of the things he'd brought with him, and we talked about how he should re-do one of the other pieces for next year. (It was a ribbon dragon he'd made like ten years ago, and he's learned a lot since then.)

I flirted a lot, mostly just in fun (but sometimes seriously), and was amused by KT's efforts on my behalf in that direction. I stopped into the gaming room a couple of times to say hi to a guy I've been on a couple of dates with, and significantly boosted his rep with the other gamers by giving him my phone number so we could meet up after the con. (He re-enacted for me later: "Dude. You've been sitting here gaming all weekend and you managed to score digits?") It's possible that I was totally aware of the effect that would have, especially since I was wearing my corset at the time, and deliberately waited until I was in there to write my number on my card for him.

But as always, the best part of the con was the people. I got to visit with old friends and acquaintances, like Elliot and Marcy and John. I got to visit with other friends I don't get to see often enough, like Greg and DJ and Ora. And also my brother and his wife, and some of their friends that I like a lot, like Melissa. I got to hang out with KT for hours and talk about writing and sex and writing about sex in a way that we almost never get to do any more. I got to hear about an engagement. I got to make new friends and chat with several of the writers and editors who were on panels with me (especially the multi-talented and snarky and totally amazing Cynical Woman, aka Helen Madden, who has the most gorgeous business cards ever). I even enjoyed striking up random conversations with strangers in the hallway or on the elevator.

I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do. Hell, I didn't even get to do half of what I'd wanted to do. My back and legs and knee were already killing me by Friday night (and I'd been dumb enough not to bring any painkillers). I went to bed around 2am both nights (and last night was still so keyed up that I couldn't get to sleep until nearly 1) and thanks to my stupid body clock, got up both mornings at 7:30 sharp (6:30, this morning, because my office is not closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). This morning, I'm exhausted and sore and not entirely mentally present, and I fully expect the Con Crud to hit me in the next couple of days... and I already can't wait for next year.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wiped Out

One of the things that has happened since Matt and I separated is that I have become highly protective of my alone-time. I even occasionally find myself avoiding social activities on the days he has the kids, because being social cuts into my precious quiet time.

This was recently brought home to me. MarsCon is this weekend, and I was thrilled to be asked to attend as a guest this year. I'll be participating in several panels and events, and I'm very much looking forward to it. Of course, it happened to fall on a weekend that I was scheduled to have the kids -- and that just wouldn't do, not when all my panels and events are a) not kid-friendly, and b) fairly late at night. So I asked Matt to swap weekends with me, and he readily agreed.

(This is one benefit of remaining on good terms with one's ex -- they're much more likely to be agreeable to these things. Other benefits include them checking Neil Gaiman's brand-new kids' book out from the library, but letting you take it home to share it with your kids first. Alex loved the story, simple though it was, and demanded I read it to him twice in a row.)

At any rate, the swap resulted in us each having the kids for a solid week, instead of the usual two or three day bits. I picked the kids up from school last Wednesday, the 9th, and had them right up until I dropped Penny off at school yesterday morning.

Whew. I am wiped out.

They weren't even bad (or at least, not more than usual). They were just... exhausting. Alex likes to wake up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning. And while he didn't always come straight in to my room to wake me up, he doesn't really grasp (or care) that sitting in his room and singing made-up songs while he plays with his toy trucks is not exactly conducive to my rest. Especially once he's gone to the bathroom and then left the light on to shine across the hall and directly on my face.

I usually tuck Penny into bed at around 8:45, and then I have to go up and check her blood sugars at around 10. That hour-and-a-bit isn't really enough time to work on anything mentally intensive, like writing or editing, so that work piles up.

There's the mess. Even when I'm doing my best to keep it in control, they just... it doesn't occur to them, when it's time to clean up, that it makes sense to take the extra four seconds to put the toys back in the correct box so they can find it later; they just dump them in whatever box happens to be closest. So of course, they have trouble finding things. And this is all my fault, of course, because I made them clean up. It's apparently impossible for either of them to re-use a dish or cup that they'd used before. (I remember my own mother complaining about this when I was young. Now I understand. I'm sorry, Mom.) I'm beginning to think Penny has an entire warehouse full of threadbare socks so she can leave them all over the house without ever running out. Alex, on the other hand, is fairly scrupulous about putting his clothes in the laundry -- but is apparently allergic to wearing anything twice. He changes his pajamas nearly daily, and I'm pretty sure he goes through at least two shirts and four pairs of underwear a day.

And the bickering, OH MY GOD. Penny whines that Alex never leaves her alone, but when she gets right up in his face and coos like he's still four months old and he tells her he wants to be left alone, I'm the Worst Parent Ever for telling her to respect his wishes. Alex's brain runs considerably ahead of his mouth, so he often uses the wrong word for something -- and then he and Penny have to have argue about what he actually said until I go crazy and tell them both to knock it off. There were a couple of mornings, on the drive up to Alex's daycare, that I came close to telling them both they weren't allowed to talk at all for the rest of the trip. Day. Year.

I love my kids, so very much. I love reading with them, I love talking to them about what they're learning in school and what their friends are doing. I love it when they snuggle with me, I love it when they want to help me cook dinner. Sometimes they're so effortlessly generous and thoughtful that it brings tears to my eyes; sometimes they're so funny that my sides ache from laughing.

But after a while it's hard to remember all that fantastic stuff and I get mired in the mess and the bickering and whining and never-ending work. I need my breaks. I slept until the alarm went off this morning, and that felt like luxury.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Paying Attention

I have to take a moment, every now and then, and marvel at how incredibly lucky I am, in so very many ways -- but particularly how amazing my kids are.

They're ridiculously smart. Intellectually, Alex is so very ready for kindergarten. (He's there socially, too. The only place that he might be lacking is that I don't know if he has the patience for a whole school day of having to follow orders.) And the other night when I was reading to Penny, she was fidgeting with the lap-blanket and fidgeting with her toy and fidgeting and fidgeting and I finally just stopped reading, ready to wait for her to settle in, and she protested, "Mom, I was listening!" I figured there was no way she'd been paying attention, so I challenged her to tell me what had just happened... and sure enough, she recited it back to me, very nearly word-for-word.

And they're so very loving. My brother and I bickered, fought, and argued more or less constantly until we were nearly adults. Penny and Alex get pouty if they haven't given each other enough hugs lately. I'm not kidding. My big frustration with Penny lately is that she can't really recognize when Alex needs to be left alone, and so when she gets up in his face, cooing about how cute he is and how she wants a hug, she gets her feelings hurt when he tells her he wants to be left alone... and then her solution to the problem is not -- as you might reason -- to leave him alone for a while, but to try again immediately. (And much to my frustration, this tactic sometimes works.)

This isn't restricted to playtime, either. Penny will happily fetch Alex's breakfast for him. They share their candy and treats with each other, and help each other with chores. They want to have "sleepovers" in each others' rooms.

I groan when they climb into bed with me at 6:45 on a weekend morning, but once I've reconciled myself to being awake, it's the best part of my day -- maybe even my week. If I kept all the mash notes Alex has written me ("I LOVE YOU MOMMY TO MOM FROM ALEX") I'd have enough paper to start my own school. Penny is prone to spontaneously doing little household chores like making the beds, just for the fun of it. Both of them come up to me out of the blue and wrap their arms around me and ask for hugs and kisses. Alex occasionally plucks a leaf off the only household plant I've managed to keep alive and brings it to me: "Look, Mom, it's shaped like a heart. It's for you, because I love you."
I can't wait to meet the beautiful, generous, loving adults I know they're going to be. But part of me wishes I could just freeze them, the way they are right now. And in the moments that part of me reaches out for them, I try to remember to take a moment and marvel.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Caffeinated Math

Last year, around this time, Braz gave me his old Keurig, having gotten a shiny new one for Christmas.

A Keurig, if you're not a coffee drinker or have been living under a rock for the last few years, is a single-serve coffee maker. There are some knockoff variants on the market, but the Keurig is pretty well accepted as the standard.

I drink a couple of cups of coffee(1) a day at work, but it's a bad idea for me to have caffeine in the evenings. But the Keurig is great for weekends, or days that I'm working from home. And I did eventually find decaf K-cups, too, for my evenings. I don't drink as much coffee in warm weather (I never really got into iced coffee) but now that we're back to winter, I've been enjoying my Keurig a lot(2) lately. Especially for the last few weeks, because between school holidays and this cold I've had all this week, I've been working from home a fair amount.

Yesterday, I had to go to Target to restock my NyQuil(3) supply, and while I was there, I needed to refresh my stock of decaf K-cups.

But then I looked at the little filter converter doohickey. Now, I've been saying for about six months that I should get one, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I know for a fact that it's a good $5 more expensive at Target than on, say, Amazon, but I just forget about it when I'm on Amazon. So I went ahead and just bought the dang thing, and two bags of ground coffee.

Then I came home and made coffee, and it was fine. Now, just out of curiosity, let's do the math. A box of 12 of my grocery store's generic-brand K-cups costs about $7, $6 if I get a coupon, so let's say about 50 center a cup. That's not the cheapest over-the-counter cups you can get -- I bought a box of 80 cups from Sam's Club for $37, which is only 46 cents a cup, but they don't sell decaf that way, so it took me like eight months of weekends to get through them all, and I had to find a place to store them in the meantime. Poking around on Amazon does not improve that price, but I only poked for about a minute, so just to make the math easy, let's say I managed to get the cost of a K-cup down to 40 cents.

A 12-oz bag of pre-ground coffee beans, at Target, costs as little as $7, but let's say I'm going to get a more expensive variety and take it up to $10.(4) Out of curiosity, I weighed my coffee before I put it into the machine this morning, and it came up at 10 grams. The K-cup box I still have says each cup is 9.5 grams of coffee, so that's about right. Twelve ounces is 340 grams, so a bag of coffee makes 34 cups. Even if we knock off one cup's worth of coffee for measuring differential, that's 33 cups of coffee at about 30 cents each.

So it's 10-15 cents cheaper, per cup, to use the filter and pre-ground coffee. Which doesn't seem like all that much, except that there are some other, nonmonetary, benefits:
- One 12-oz bag of coffee takes up approximately the same space as a 12-count box of K-cups. I can fit 66 cups' worth of coffee in my cabinet where previously I could only fit 24, tripling the space's effectiveness.
- The filter is more environmentally friendly, since the trash generated is merely coffee grounds instead of coffee grounds and a plastic-and-foil cup.(5)
- I can buy preground decaf coffee in a wider variety of flavors. Or, I should say, a variety, since K-cup decaf is pretty much only available in one flavor: coffee.(6)

So the filter pays itself somewhere between 120-180 cups of coffee. (Less, actually, if I keep buying cheaper ground coffee.) Assuming an average of one cup a day -- not unreasonable, since I'm only using the Keurig in the evenings on weeknights, and not every weeknight, but I do sometimes have multiple cups on weekends -- then the filter pays for itself in 4-6 months. (It would've been 3-4 months if I'd bought it on Amazon.)

Will the filter's mesh hold out for a whole six months or longer? We'll see.

Whew, that was a lot of work. Now I need a cup of coffee...

(1) Terminology: Strictly speaking, a "cup" of coffee is 6 ounces, but when I say "cup of coffee", I mean "mug of coffee", and when I say "mug", I mean "one of my enormous 16-20 ounce megamugs."
(2) "A lot" is relative, mind you -- I discovered about two months ago that if I have more than two mugs of coffee in the space of about six to eight hours, I get some pretty bad heartburn. Still, I'm averaging 32-60 ounces of coffee a day, which seems like a fair amount to me.
(3) Cue about 95% of readers singing the Dennis Leary song: "We love you, you giant fucking Q!"
(4) You can go higher than this, of course, but let's face it -- the $7 bag of coffee is probably about the same quality as the K-cups I was buying, so rounding up to $10 is being generous to the K-cups.
(5) It's possible, though I think unlikely, that the bag the beans come in is approximately the same amount of plastic-and-foil as a 12-count box of K-cups, but it's certainly less than 33 K-cups.
(6) Yes, I know you can get syrups to put in plain coffee. But I'll note that adds to the cost and also note that sugar-free coffee syrup is not available in a wide variety of flavors.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Here's a funny little take-away I got from, of all places, my day job: You shouldn't have too many serious goals at one time. Our annual performance review process allows for up to – but not exceeding – five major goals for each year, and my last several supervisors (I get a new one each year, thanks to the Major Corporate Machine's constant reorganizing) have stressed that you really should try to have no more than three.

So I've spent the last few weeks thinking about my New Year's resolutions, and pondering what are the priorities I have in my life right now, and what are the few things that I really care about changing. What are the things that I'm willing to put some energy into improving? At the moment, my priority list looks like this:

Effort #1: Stop watching so much freaking TV. I've lost whole days to the tube, lately. I'm trying to get caught up on a bunch of shows, and they're great and fun, but in the meantime, I'm not doing anything productive. This, by the way, also includes watching DVDs and shows on YouTube. Basically, any time spent passively watching a screen. It does not, however, include watching movies with friends or on a date, because those are social activities.

Effort #2: Be more productive. There are a gajillion projects I want or need to do. Writing and editing. Promotion of my writing, which is a whole job unto itself. I have an embarrasingly high stack of books I've been meaning to read. Scrapbooking, a little, at least to finish out the year in which I last left off. Re-organize and redecorate the house (or at least parts of it). Some of these are open-ended tasks, some of them are huge, and some just require me to get off my ass and do them.

Effort #3: Be more social. This falls into three sub-categories:
Effort #3a: Family: I'd like to spend more time with my brother and sister-in-law, who are actually fantastic people and who only live half an hour away, which makes it completely stupid that I only see them a few times a year. I'd also like to make a point of talking to my parents (who likewise live only half an hour away) at least once a week.
Effort #3b: Friends: I'd like to spend more time with various friends. It's come to my attention lately that, due to my proper Southern upbringing, I am intensely uncomfortable with inviting myself along on events or over to friends' houses, while the truth is that most of my friends are not only open but enthusiastic about this sort of thing.
Effort #3c: Dating: I've been separated for the best part of half a year now, and I think I'm ready to look around out there again. It's been entirely too long since I've dated, so it's hard to make resolutions about this, but I want to remember not to simply settle, and not to neglect my friends in the event that someone wonderful does come along.

Effort #4: Be a better parent. I waste far too much of my time with my kids. Penny was unequivocally enthusiastic about the time I had lunch with her at school; I'd like to do that more often. I'd also like to get them excited about things and do things with them that get us all out of the house once in a while.

Note #1: I'm okay with having four goals instead of just three, because accomplishing the less-TV goal will actually make it easier to work on the others: by watching less TV, I will have more time to spend on the projects and people on which my other three goals are focused.

Note #2: I feel like working on my weight should be somewhere on that list – exercising more and/or eating better – it falls pretty low on my list of priorities. It shouldn't, but it just does. It's not like I'm going to completely forget about my health or anything, but I'm going to give myself permission not to stress over it this year. Maybe, as I get wrapped up in projects and people and spend more time doing things instead of staring at a screen and chewing my cud, some health improvement will happen organically. And if not, then that's okay, too, and I can worry about diet and exercise again next year, when all this stuff has gotten wrapped into my personal patterns and habits.

It's a lot of stuff to wrap my head around, and it's all but impossible to make rules covering everything here and expect to actually follow them all. I've been turning the whole mess around in my head for a while, as I said, and here's the ideas I've come up with to (hopefully) make it work, along with their explanations and notes:

The List: Because my schedules and deadlines are so ephemeral, there's no way to just assign myself a day-by-day task list. So each day, I will evaluate my situation, and assign myself a reasonable productivity list. That list will include not only big project stuff (e.g., edit 2 stories, spend 2 hours writing, scrapbook 2 months' worth of pictures, etc.) but also the little, routine stuff (e.g., take out the trash, write a blog entry, make lunches, etc.) that has to fit into my schedule. The list will take into account whether I happen to have the kids that day, planned activities, and my general well-being. (As I write this, for example, I've got a sinus infection or a cold or something similar, and so I give myself permission to be a little slack on the productivity front – not to skip it entirely, because I'm not that sick, but to choose tasks that suit my current mental and physical state. I can do some editing right now, for example, but I feel way too mentally blah to want to do anything creative, like writing.) They may include large tasks (e.g., clean out and re-organize the pantry) or small ones (e.g., make an appointment with the eye doctor). There will be no time limit, either minimum or maximum. The goal here is a list of things that I can look at an think, “Yes, that seems like a day that was not wasted.”

TV: Until the day's productivity goals are done, I get no more than 1 hour of TV. (Yes, I'm letting myself have some TV before I do my work. I sometimes want to watch YouTube videos in the morning while the kids are eating breakfast, or unwind with a show while I have dinner by myself.) Once the day's goals are all met, I can watch all the TV I want. (Nyah.)

Parenting: One day in the next week, one of my goals will be to make up a schedule for things to do with the kids. That schedule will include: 1 day each month that I will have lunch with each kid (2 lunches/month, not including summer break), and 1 day each month that we will do an out-of-house activity, along with a list of activity options. Once that schedule is made up, I'll load those dates and activities into my calendars so that I remember to do them. That's not saying I won't need to change some of them, but it takes less inertia to move a date than to create it.

Social Stuff: This one is trickier, because it necessarily involves other people. And unlike my children, I don't have significant control over my friends' and families' schedules. I do want to take at least two solo long-weekend type vacations this year, at least one of which will be to an author's convention (GayRomLit or somesuch, depending on how the schedules fall out) where I can meet some of the Torquere staff in person; the other will either be to visit a friend or see a new place; I'm not sure yet. I want to make a date with KT and Kevin to come down to their house every so often (once a month? Every six weeks? Eight?) during the week, on a night I'm child-free, just to hang out. And ditto for hanging out with Jenn and Brian. And my friends who live in town, too, but those are easier to arrange and don't so much need to be scheduled to remind me to do it. But I need to remind myself that it's okay to say, “Hey, what's going on; can I come over and hang out?” and that if the answer is that they're too busy, it doesn't mean I'm being rude and needy; it means THEY'RE TOO BUSY, and I should try again another time.

So there are my New Year's resolutions. I don't know if I'll stick to it. Sometimes, YouTube is just too compelling, sometimes I go through mental downs where I don't want to be social, and sometimes, my kids are infuriating and don't deserve to be taken out anywhere. Such is life.

But here's the thing about a resolution. It's not an unbreakable vow. It's resolve. You plunge into the fight and sometimes you take a hit, but resolve is squaring your shoulders and going right back in. If these annual goals and targets were easy, they wouldn't be so significant.

I grew up in a house surrounded by art inspired by Don Quixote and Man of La Mancha, after all. It would be a little crazy if I didn't want to reach for unreachable stars once in a while.