First, a bit of last year in review.
Professionally, Year Seven in teaching was the worst. After a
raucous Fall semester, we returned in the Spring to more of the same,
with an ante up to full-on destructive. My students went from
malcontent to miscreant, and by February, my co-worker and I wound up
assaulted by a student who was out of control with anger and nobody
could stop him. Fortunately, that incident represented a turning
point in the year. That student realized he needed help. As teachers,
we were able to use that occurrence as an example for how bad things
had become, which granted us leverage against a few other students
heading in the same direction. The year ended with our principal
getting replaced, but sadly, many of our co-workers opted to leave,
and who could blame them?
My mental health certainly suffered
last year. Katya and I remained steadfast, though. We took our
fabulous trip to London over Spring Break. While I loved London as a
Anglophile must, Katya took the city into her heart. It re-wrote her
in its likeness, and she pledges her undying loyalty to Queen and
country. Seriously, she'd move there tomorrow if she could.
Over the summer, I attempted some
repair to my mind, doing plenty of exercise, writing, and meditation.
I completed Couch to 5K and moved into Bridge to 10K. Oddly, though,
my training got derailed in the beginning of August when a stalker
began to follow me around. This resulted in a fall with injury, a
9-1-1 call, and a creepy little note. I have the politest stalker
In writing, I completed a Doctor Who
short novella titled Tricky, about Rose Tyler and the
Meta-Crisis Doctor. I also finished The Unusual Suspects, a
novel based on The Unusuals. This led to a serious fangirl
crush on Adam Goldberg, which has brewed into a deep admiration for
the man as a photographer, musician, smartass, and actor. He makes
me think, “Geez, what have I done with my life?” Basically, a
Sometime in July, I decided that I
couldn't have another year like last year in teaching. Therefore, I
began to psyche myself out through meditation, focusing on the things
I really love about the job. Really, really, there is so much to love
about teaching. So instead of focusing on the things I can't change
about the job – the long hours, the pay, the mental akadjkfjal –
I decided to flip my perspective, focusing on the things I like
about it: my students (they rock), my co-workers (see above, re: they
rock), the content (dude, I get to teach poetry and vocabulary), and
getting to share summers with my daughter (an amazing perk when you
have a daughter has awesome as mine).
That meditation, plus a most incredibly
diverse bunch of teenagers and a competent (yet sassy) principal,
made this fall semester the best so far. Not that August through
December didn't have it's share of headaches, it did; but it's been
much, much better.
So here I sit, contemplating next year:
2013. I'm well-shod of 2012. It's in the past, and I can only learn
from it. I accomplished many of my goals last year, and some fell
woefully to the side. But here we go, trying once more.
Travel – Last year we made
this goal. We traveled to London, we saw Stonehenge, we ate at
Sherlock's Pub. This year, we're taking a Mediterranean cruise:
Barcelona, Marseilles, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Messina, Split,
and Venice. It's our most ambitious plan yet. The good news is, we've
already booked and paid for the cruise. The bad news is, airfare's
going to be tricky. Anyone have a giant transatlantic catapult
they're willing to strap us into?
Television – Done, and done!
We have licked our various TV addictions. We've replaced these
addictions with tumblr. We've decided to limit our tumblr perusal
to... hahahahaha. We all know that's not going to happen. I'll find
an appropriate reaction gif later.
Reading Goal – Rocked this
goal three years and running. Last year's goal, 40 books. I read 42.
Time to step it up a notch. In response to the Reading Challenge on
Goodreads, I'm setting my sites at 46 books. I still think The
Hobbit should count as two (it's gonna be a trilogy of films,
Okay, now it's time to get serious. I
did accomplish most of my health goals last year. I completed the
Couch to 5K, but I did not participate in the Zombie Run for Your
Life, which was the reason I began training in the first place. While
I may not be able to outrun zombies, I can outrun stalkers.
But as it always happens, once the
school year begins, time for exercise shrinks to nothing and I wind
up vegged on the couch (tumblr) and dormant for hours and hours
(tumblr) and while I haven't gained any weight, I've seriously
flabbed out (cough, hack, tumblr).
This year, I'm going to focus more on
diet, and I've got to find some way to exercise.
So, here's the plan: Return to the
Paleo diet, which I love, which the doctor prescribed, and which
makes me feel fantastic. But, I'm not going to return all at once;
no, no, I'm going to sneak up on it, as a good cave person should.
Each month, I'll eliminate one
January – Bye, bye bread
February – Hasta la pasta
March – No mo potato
April – Yellow cheese
May – White rice
June – Corn, specifically popcorn
July – None, it's birthday month
August – Peanuts and peanut butter
September – Tortillas
October – Beans
November and December are free holiday
months; leave me alone with my pie.
Also, with the Paleo plan, I'll
institute the 3 Splurges a Week. It's nice, because if I want a piece
of chocolate (and when don't I?) I can still have it without going
For exercise, Dear Universe, find me
some way to exercise!
Last year, I wrote
a ton. I'm still writing every day. I didn't submit a damn thing to a
legitimate publisher, and I didn't attempt to write anything
non-fanfiction. I did find an editor who has read Reprieve and
provided feedback. This year, I'm going to take his notes, rewrite
and revise, and then submit that sprawling chaos of a novel to agents
again. If she gets picked up, yay! If she doesn't, well, I'll keep
goal: For NaNoWriMo this year, I wrote a nonfiction titled Miss!
Adventures from the Middle Grades, about teaching for my brilliant
student teacher, Miss Kat. My goal is to get that edited and printed
to give to her in May as a graduation gift.
Last year, I was
not as fearless as all that. In fact, I took few risks if any, no
more heeding Mr. Gaiman's advice than a dromedary practices yoga.
This year, I really don't know that it'll be any different. That
troubles me, yes. I'm entrenched in this comfort zone that is my
life. My couch has a substantial butt groove. I've worn all the
letters off my keyboard. I'm still agoraphobic, still a cat-marm,
still neurotic. But I'm happy. Really happy.
That can't be bad.
So, here's my
goals in summary (must I bullet it? Yes, I must.):
Spain, Italy, Croatia, and France
Return to the Paleo life, find some exercise program
Write on, ever on. Revise Reprieve and submit it. Finish
Miss! For Kat.
I managed to finish 42 books this year, making this the only New Year’s Resolution I kept to its fullest in 2012. Yay, reading!
Here are my favorite books, in particular order:
1. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (love, love, love this book)
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Michael Chbosky (I want to hug Charlie)
3. Bossypants, by Tina Fey (Laughing one page, crying the next)
4. The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World, by Edward Dolnick (I understand calculus now! Well, more than I did.)
5. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
(So much beauty and pain in one book.)
6. The Key to Creation (Book 3 of the Terra Incognita series), by Kevin Anderson
(Actually, I love the whole trilogy. It's high fantasy, a little like Roger Zelazny's Amber, but with more of a Tolkienesque eye for detail.)
7. Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld (also, love the whole series)
8. Room, by Emma Donoghue (just, wow)
9. The Light Fantastic, by Terry Pratchett (Yes)
10. Monument 14, by Emmy Laybourne (must… read… the next… book)
Books I did not like, but read anyway:
The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (I wanted to like this book, really really, but it was so tedious…)
Hidden Riches, by Nora Roberts (Read this while researching romance… turns out, I dislike archetypal romance.)
Then there were many in between that I liked a lot. They’re all here on this list: The Book List