Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year! Welcome 2009!

I don't like making resolutions, it sounds so lofty and makes it seem that there are things I have failed at in the past year, which only serves to make me feel negative about my past year. Instead I think about things I want to change and then set achieveable goals for myself. Having Crohn's disease for over 20 years my health is directly affected by stress and diet, and I have made some very significant changes in the past year. Unfortunately my Crohn's has returned recently, which means a few more changes need to be made, but again those are achieveable goals.

In 2008 I made the goal to drink more water as I dehydrate easily, and I achieved that. I quit eating popcorn because of the risks to my health and I have followed that even though I desperately love popcorn at the movies. I have largely given up potato chips in favour of brown rice and multigrain chips. I switched from 1% milk to skim milk, and have added low-calorie soy milk to my cereal, coffee, and chai teas. Soft-cooked oatmeal with my own spices, brown sugar or cane sugar and frozen or fresh fruit instead of instant oatmeal packets. Brown rice instead of white rice. Raw, organic, unbleached sugar instead of refined white sugar. Whole grain breads instead of white bread. More salad and vegetables to keep my vitamin intake up and keep that "full" feeling, and taking my damn vitamins in the first place.

But I've also become more adventurous in my recipes, and have embraced Indian and Thai flavours instead of the usual "Western Chinese" recipes loaded with salt and sugar. A few hot pepper flakes and spices to stimulate metabolism and make portion control easier. Lentils and beans, couscous, and falafel instead of potatoes. Whole wheat pasta and vegetables in my pasta sauce. And the days when I know vegetables could be difficult on my digestion there is always tomato juice and V-8 juices. Sparkling water with lemon and lime instead of sodas. Fruit and yogurt instead of pie and ice cream. And of course I want to cook more, bake more, learn to bake my own bread, and make my own frozen yogurt and gelato using my ice cream maker. And put my crock pot to good use.

I wanted a Wii Fit to encourage me to practice my yoga at home instead of a once-a-week class, and next week I am returning to my local Curves to rebuild my muscle tone and stamina. And when the weather gets better I want to spend more days at the driving range even if I'm not up to a whole round of golf. Also because I just love hitting with my driver and watching that ball sail up to 300 yards and think to myself, "Wow, did I hit that ball that far?" and impress my boss who has been my golf coach since I said I wouldn't mind to try playing.

But the new year isn't just about food and exercise, it's also about creativity and completing things that have been started or are merely ideas in my head. That means cleaning up my workspace/knitting space/yoga space. Getting rid of the things I haven't needed/wanted/looked for in three months or more. That's the biggest job, but it can be done, even just a little at a time. But that's the way everything can change, just a little at a time, and build on the steps that have been achieved towards the larger goal. And that's the key to tackling any big goal. First step: purge. Clothes, papers, knick-knacks, books we won't read again, get rid of the "beauty" products I no longer use that are taking up too much space. I may even purge shoes.

I knit obsessively and need to practice using my spinning wheel to create my own yarns. I buy more Canadian-made yarns and indie-dyer yarns to support creative women whom I respect and who have great talent for mixing colours. I want to knit more for other people and encourage more people to explore their own creativity and their crafty sides. I want to embroider more, given that there are very cool embroidery stencils to bridge the old-fashioned practice of embroidering home linens with modern and exciting patterns. I want to learn needle felting.I want to sew more, I can't justify spending the money on clothes that I can save by sewing them myself. I want to sew the ultimate knitting bag and a knitting needle roll to keep all my good and favourite needles in one place. I want to paint more; I know there is a painting in me that needs to come out, and practice will set that painting free. With the money I save on not taking my local yoga class I plan to take an oil painting class to explore my abstract side. I want to try freeform crochet and see where it can take me. I want to dye my own yarns because painting on canvas can be translated to painting on yarn. I want to open an Etsy shop for my jewelry and creative items. I want to attend craft fairs and create incredible knitwear that people will ooh and aah over. Socks, fingerless gloves, finger gloves, jewelry, and stitch markers.

And I will finish my thesis and graduate in September. I want to teach full-time for a year or two and then start my PhD studies.

It's going to be a full year, and it helps to have a positive view.

So what's going to be new for you in 2009?