On New Year’s Eve Temecula woke up to snow, two to four inches and continuing to fall. Although I have been to the snow several times, never have I seen those gentle snowflakes drifting out of the sky. Falling snow makes the most quiet sound I have ever heard, like a softness you hear with more than just your ears. A snowy world is a world apart: all the ugliness of cracked pavement or weeds or a unbleached umbrella in the backyard recedes for just a moment under the purest pure of frozen white, glittery in the sunlight.

I’d been thinking, of course, about goals and resolutions for the new year. I went through a period of my life in which I thought setting New Year’s resolutions was a bit hokey—how many do we really keep? Do we set them just because that’s what we always do this time of year? When we identify a part of us that requires work, we must start to work on it at once any time throughout the year and set our minds to it. Three of my biggest goals the past two-and-half years were set in the month of June. My mid-30s are a mellow time, though, and any tradition that asks us to take account of ourselves and our role in the world is not a bad one; it’s fun to play along…

…and a bit stressful, too, for this recovering perfectionist. What if I don’t state my resolutions clearly and specifically enough? What if I publish a set and then think of a few more? Why can’t I think of anything terribly unique? What about the goals I will probably set in June and which won’t be part of this formal list? What if my resolutions are too selfish? Do they work at various levels of good for the community and world as a whole?

Neuroses die hard, my friends.


Resolutions for 2015

1. Xeriscape the front yard to help save water. I love my grass. But we’re in a drought. Farmers are struggling in the Central Valley. Most of the Christmas trees at big chains were dead on arrival this year due to low water table problems. Since I grew up always with lush yards and grass beneath my toes, I associate our verdant front yard with beauty and childhood and suburbia. I have resisted, a bit, any discussions about letting it go. Usually my first line of defense has been the kids: the kids need large areas of grass on which to play and practice soccer, etc. The truth is, though, we avail ourselves of parks more often for those activities than we use our front yard. We have already let the grass revert to dirt near the chicken area; we can keep a smaller section in the backyard by the play structure for now. I dislike the idea of giving up my grass and pepper trees; but what I dislike even more was seeing my narrow attitude reflected a few weeks ago by a woman in another neighborhood whose homeowner’s association, like ours, is starting to redo common areas with drought-tolerant and native plants. She started ranting about how climate change wasn’t real, and how she wanted to write her association to convince them not to take out grass and trees, and how taking out trees near her house just didn’t make sense because now it wasn’t as pretty… And I pressed my lips together and realized I had no logical ground for my own hesitation.

2. Acquire PRs at the Hot Chocolate 15K, the Carlsbad 5000, and Butte to Butte (1oK). I plan to run a few other races, though my resolutions involve specifically these three events.

3. Continue to read an average of at least five books a month. (See what I did there? This is technically not a new 2015 goal but one set last summer. The helpful use of the word “continue” makes it seem current—cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater)!

4. Find the perfect red lipstick. “They” stopped making my go-to color, it appears, and this one was simply too orange, let’s admit it now:

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I also want to find the perfect nude lipstick. I’m already ahead on this resolution because I picked up two candidates right around my birthday. Not sure about the red…because it is more of a plum than a true red, although it looks vastly better than the orangey nightmare above.

And yes, I am perfectly aware that this is the silliest of all my resolutions.

5. Try at least one new experience—activity, thought-experiment, food item, place—a month.

I tried this, this month:



With all the swimming and demands on my hair, though, this can’t be a long term look. I used a temporary product, and almost all of it has washed out/been pooled out at this point. I could do something more permanent, I suppose, but I decided for now that I really like my hair color the way that it is and would prefer not to have the intense upkeep. I don’t have grey, my natural hair  matches my babies, and the reddish gold of it catches the spring and summer sun. Loved the blue for the moment and even imagined for a few training runs that I was a superhero, but for now I prefer my natural state.

6. Swim at least 100 miles this year. On January 2nd, I signed up for the 100 mile swim challenge at our rec center. Every time I swim, I keep a record of it on a big chart near the entrance to the pool. Jack H., whomever he is, has already been swimming like a bat out of hell and appears to be halfway to 25 miles in less than a week! My boxes are going to take much longer to fill, but I figure I have all year to whittle away at it, right? I will have to account for vacations and travel and taper weeks, but I think I can do it. The overachiever in me wants to swim, swim, swim until I get it all done as soon as possible—like a project for school—but I know I cannot approach this task that way. So, this resolution will also teach me patience with my goals and how to embrace being slow and methodical.

7. Send one handwritten note or letter to someone I care about, once a month.

The rest of my goals are all fairly generic and center on looking for ways to help people I know and humanity throughout the year. A few friends and I have also talked generally about setting up our next group challenge (perhaps a race together, perhaps another locked room game, or whatever we come up with). I always want to be a much better mom, a better wife, a better daughter/family member, and a better friend. That never changes. My weight loss goals have shifted from loss to maintenance, but that is not a new health goal; most of my health goals have transformed into athletic goals at this point. Mostly I hope to make life happy and magical for those I love, to live with a sense of adventure and purpose and vitality, to pursue passions new and old with curiosity and open-mindedness, and to continue learning about this process called life.


To explore and experiment…




To bask in the beauty and sweetness…


To generate happy, innocent moments for those I love…


To feel everything, to run, to be fearless…

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2015 be full of adventure and progress for all humankind.