I started to write my usual monthly review today, before I realized that it should be a yearly review instead. Yes, it’s been one year since I started my blog, and a year since I set my ‘new year’s resolution’ goals. I spent a good bit of time perusing my first posts and had to chuckle at the memories of figuring out html and fumbling my way through formatting basics. Though the writing was decent in my early blogging days, the layout was usually clumsy. It’s stunning to think about how much I’ve learned and how much has changed in 12 little months.
I’ve enjoyed blogging so immensely and cherish
being able to look back on our lives in such an intimate way. It’s quite a
vulnerable thing to publish your life so that others can peer inside, but the
rewards have been worth every risk. People have been so encouraging about my
writing, and blogging has helped me to easily transition from full time work
into early retirement.
I’m honored and humbled that so many of my friends and
family take the time to keep up with our adventures by checking my daily
updates. It’s been such a blast for me personally to write, the fact that I
have an audience is just icing on the cake.
I’ll never forget that first post I
shared on facebook. Being a chronically shy introvert, I anxiously awaited
people’s responses and was overwhelmed by the positive feedback I received from
my peers. Thank you for following along with us on this journey.
participation in this blog is invaluable to me and I honestly appreciate your
support. If you’re reading this, and I haven’t met you, please introduce
yourselves. I would love to get to know your story as well!
So my New’s Years
Resolution goals last year were to read 2 books a month, to cook one new recipe
a week, and later I added the goal of blogging 5 times a week and writing
20,000 words a month. Here’s a summation of my performance.
August 2011-July 2012, I read 30 books, averaging 2.5 books a month. My
favorite book was probably The Paris Wife
by Paula Mclain, which I read twice. The second time I read it was for my AWA
book club, and talk about a book fostering good conversation among ex-pat women
who have widely given up their careers to follow their husbands around the world.
It was really a great conversation starter and made me so grateful for having
stumbled upon such an intelligent and funny group of women who have instantly
accepted me into the fold.
Other books I’ve read over the past year that I
highly recommend are: A Happy Marriage
by Rafael Yglesias, Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese, In the Lake of the
Woods by Tim O’brien, Never Let Me Go
by Kazua Ishiguro, and, of course, The
Giver by Lois Lowry.
And you don’t need me to urge you to read The Hunger Games series by Suzanne
Collins, do you? Certainly, you’ve read them by now. If not, shame on you, and
go read them immediately. I promise, it will only take you a week to get
through all three of them because they are impossible to put down.
there have a book suggestion that I simply must read as soon as possible? I’d
love your input!
Cooking: Cooking one new recipe a week was a bit ambitious for
a full time working girl to accomplish, especially since my husband and I
already had our favorite meals, and Sunday seemed to be the only night I had
available to prepare a complicated meal. I did fairly well with finding one new
recipe per month, at least until we got to Scotland.
Once we arrived in
Aberdeen, I essentially had to relearn all of my recipes; substituting
ingredients, converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and cups to milliliters. It
seemed like all of my old recipes were brand new. I am proud to announce that after
3 months of stumbling blindly from aisle to aisle, I can now walk in and out of
a grocery store within an hour’s time.
Of all the new recipes we’ve incorporated
into our household menus, I think Jonathan would agree that our favorite is
Quinoa Stuffed Bellpeppers. Never has something so healthy tasted so darn good.
Guilt free delicious-ness- Yes please!
Another amazing dish is Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos. De-lish! I also feel really proud of my honey that he has
so warmly embraced a few vegetarian options. Before my new recipe acquisition agenda,
most of our meals were meat centered, but now it’s nice to have a few meat-less
options to throw into the rotation.
Writing. I’ve done a pretty decent job of
blogging every week day, though coming up with new and interesting topics has
gotten more difficult as our lives balance out here. I’m sure no one wants to
hear about my forays to the gym, my excursions to the dry cleaner, or my war
with burgundy carpet. But day to day life has settled in here in Aberdeen and we
are doing less exploring, less learning, and more hanging out at home with a
glass of wine and watching the USA dominate the Olympics.
If any of you have
ideas of something Scotland or Ex-pat related that you’d like to know more
about, please offer up some blog topic suggestions. I’m starting to struggle
here which means you’re due for some super adorable but somewhat redundant dog
stories and accompanying pictures.
I’m sad to say that I never quite reached my
goal of writing 20,000 words in a month, though I averaged about 15,000 pretty
New goals: This is the first August since I was 3 years old where
my life isn’t intricately connected to the start of the school year. It feels
strange to not be gearing up for a new semester, and therefore my natural
inclination towards setting new goals is also waning. I’m pretty happy with my
reading and writing pace, though I’d like to start writing something other than
One of the items on my bucket list is to write a novel, and what
better time than now? I’ve got no kids, no job, and live in an unbelievably
inspiring place. It’s just that…how does one go about writing a novel? It seems
like such an overwhelming undertaking that I have no idea where to even begin. I’ve
got so much respect for anyone who manages to get one of these things down on
paper and it makes me a less critical reader for sure.
So back to setting new goals,
I guess that I’d like to continue my reading, writing, and cooking, but also I’d
like to learn a bit more about photography, organize the storage space in my
house so it’s not so cluttered, eat less sugar, and start hammering out that novel. Those all
seem a bit abstract, so once I adapt them into a more concrete and measurable
form, I’ll let you know so that you can hold me accountable.